ODF: Where AI meets the ocean

What has made ODF Sweden such a success? One answer is definitely that in ODF data scientists collaborate closely with ocean data experts. Most often that collaboration takes place around tables and computers and white boards: Discussing the meaning of data, weighing the importance of different sources, pondering the possible model solutions, and making sense of output.

Every once in a while the collaboration takes place at sea! Here are some nice images of data scientist Jurie “Jannes” Germishuys from Combine AB and marine biologist Matthias Obst from SeAnalytics AB, during a recent field trip in Kosterhavets National Park. Here they dropped several remotely operated vehicles (so-called ROVs) and filmed local seafloor habitats. This way data scientists get introduced to the beauty of our marine habitats, but also to the practical work of marine scientists and the challenges associated with ocean conservation. Once we all have the same background, the technical discussions on the data management and analysis become much more meaningful.

Looong cable for an ROV. Photo: Matthias Obst.
Live inspection of subsea video from an ROV. Photo: Matthias Obst.

Subsea video from an ROV in the Koster National Park. Video: Vera Lisell.

Every data point in our ODF AI models has an interesting backstory that we as data scientists don’t often know in its entirety. Interacting with domain experts during the data collection and data interpretation stages allows us to fill these important gaps in our understanding and deliver more relevant insights.
We are now in a position to collect new seafloor imagery in the morning and analyze them while we’re eating lunch!

Oh, and here are three more answers to what has made ODF a success:

  • We have a lot of fun;
  • We are many partners, yielding a large pool of expertise and resources;
  • Our work always starts with real world challenges.

Sometimes a collaboration between marine researchers and data scientists develops into a long-term activity inspired by a common problem or interest!