The TowCam is an underwater digital camera system that will be used to take still photos of the seafloor to aid in decision making about exactly where to place the nodes.

Photos of the Ocean Bottom

The TowCam is tethered by a cable to the R/V Thompson and takes high-quality digital photos of the ocean bottom as the camera is towed behind the vessel at a speed of ¼ to 1/2 knots, about the same as a leisurely walking pace. After it is launched from the ship, researchers are able to track its depth and altitude, as well as water temperature, and water clarity, or turbidity from the information coming up the cable to the ship.

The TowCam stores up to 1,800 high-resolution images on a 2 gigabyte compact flash computer card. These images are downloaded to a computer after each 5-7 hour tow and are then processed for viewing.

The TowCam is operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.