Diving deep toward the ocean floor with Axis

University of Hawaii ALOHA Cabled Observatory sends Axis PTZ network cameras three miles down under the Pacific Ocean to obtain continuous footage of deep sea marine environment

“Because of the effects of water pressure, damage to the cable connecting our cameras to the observatory can dramatically affect the quality of the image. With a network-based system, it’s all digital and it is less susceptible to those types of changes. The Axis cameras have been ultra-reliable. We’ve actually had more problems with the lights than we have had with the cameras.” Brian Chee, UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.


In 2002, scientists at the University of Hawaii (UH) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology were given access to a retired telecommunications cable three miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The cable offered a unique opportunity to establish an unmanned underwater observatory that can continuously record and transmit data. Along with sensors measuring currents, temperature and more, the university wanted to capture video 24/7. Since the area is only accessible by remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), the lab team needed technology that could function reliably under heavy environmental stress.


With analog technology being far too vulnerable to water pressure damage, the researchers deployed two Axis network cameras housed in pressure-resistant glass domes. The pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras also offered intelligent features such as automatic guard tour and H.264 compression that helped UH explore the depths most efficiently. At the surface, the university is able to record and manage video easily with the user-friendly AXIS Camera Station video management system (VMS).


The Axis cameras, mounted on tripods equipped with LED lights, give researchers an uninterrupted view of life on the ocean floor. Biologists captured footage of unknown creatures, and they can observe behaviors that previously went unseen. The university also streams the video live on its website and shares the footage with schoolchildren at various events to inspire an appreciation for ocean life.

Related links

AXIS Camera Station
AXIS 214 PTZ Network Camera
AXIS Q6035 PTZ Dome Network Camera