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Cta Man

Photo what?

Published 28/02/2022 by Janice Findlay 4 min read

Dr Matthew Toberman (right) with Tritonia colleague Pamela Schultz (credit Jonathan Sayer/Tritonia)

Janice Findlay, innovation programme manager with HIE’s Co-Innovate programme, finds out what photogrammetry is.

In my latest blog talking about innovation and collaboration, I catch up with Oban based business Tritonia Scientific Ltd. 

Situated on Scotland’s stunning west coast, the underwater research and technology company is more than half-way through a 12-month project to improve and expand its underwater photogrammetry service. 

This was a new concept to me and so I asked managing director Dr Martin Sayer to explain in simple terms what photogrammetry is.

“It is the science and technology of making measurements using photography,” he explained. “It allows us to obtain accurate 3D information about physical objects and the surrounding environment through the process of recording, measuring, and interpreting photographic data.”

The Co-innovate Programme awarded Tritonia a grant to employ a project manager into the business to explore automating much of the analysis and to increase accuracy at higher resolutions.

Dr Matthew Toberman joined the business back in July 2021 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained through his impressive academic career.  Studying a BSc in Physics at the University of Sussex he then went on to complete an MSc in Physical Oceanography at Bangor University before taking up a PhD in Physical Oceanography at the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban.

When I asked Matthew about his role, his passion for all things tech shone through.

“This project is particularly exciting as it allows for us as a company to work on research and development at the cutting edge of satellite navigation and robotic technology,” he says.

“Both of these areas are at the forefront of the ever-evolving automation of scientific measurement techniques.

“I feel extremely privileged to be able to apply the skills and knowledge gained during my time as an academic in a commercial setting.  It has also been extremely valuable and enjoyable to work with Dr John O'Raw, our academic partner from the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland, who is an industry leading expert in the field of navigation and automation.” 

Although originally diving-centric, Tritonia has rapidly evolved to deliver a range of technology-based solutions both below the level of low tide and where the ocean meets the land.

Current uses for its services include oil and gas decommissioning; harbour and pier surveys; environmental impact analyses; aquaculture monitoring; and academic research.

To reach new markets the company needed to look at how it could improve its existing service. 

“There is huge potential to offer our photogrammetry service to a global customer base,” Martin continues. “However, we knew that we needed to accelerate our processes to meet demand.

“In order to expand the marine technology arm of the business effectively we needed expertise in software coding, hardware integration and machine learning, which we simply didn’t have.

“The Co-innovate support has allowed us to appoint a dedicated resource to manage the project as well as access technical insight and expertise from John at Letterkenny, which is ideal.

“The project is certainly benefitting from John’s expertise, and I am very pleased with how it’s progressing.”

John brings not only extensive experience and skills relating to IT, electronics, and maritime archaeology but also a great enthusiasm for what Tritonia is looking to achieve.

“I am really enjoying working on this project,” he tells me. “Combining science with technology to solve problems is a great joy.”

Next month I talk to another Oban based business; Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) Enterprise, whose project takes them up mountains rather than under the water as you might expect.

Co-Innovate supports small or medium sized businesses based in the Outer Hebrides, Skye and Lochalsh, Lochaber and Argyll and the Islands. While applications for the business and academia projects are now closed, business advisers can still provide advice, signpost to relevant support and help connect to networks to those looking to develop a new product, service or process.

Co-Innovate is supported by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). It is delivered in the Highlands and Islands by HIE.

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