After spending much of 2021 in the home office, our team decided to plan its very first hackathon with the aim to work on our process from data acquisition to data analysis. This was the first time in 2021 that the whole team saw each other in a long time without the help of technology – to say we were excited is a bit of an understatement.

Team planblue at the Underwater Hackathon. Video: Olesia Ivanchenko / planblue

Our destination was Hemmoor, a small town in the North of Germany with a chalk lake. Great conditions for underwater monitoring! We dove down several times to collect data and optimize our processing pipeline and data analysis afterwards.

As a test, we scanned a car that we knew was in the lake and placed some plastic samples alongside it. Below you see an image with some marked areas. Three colors stick out – yellow stands for the sand patches, blue for the metal of the car and red for the plastic samples. The rest, which is not colored is covered by algae. Least to say, we are quite happy with this first result!

A classified overlay of the car scanned through Hyperspectral camera. Plastic samples are marked in red (left) and COO Hannah Brocke and CTO Guy Rigot exploring Hemmoor with the DiveRay) (right). Images: planblue (left), Tobias Winkelmann / planblue (right)

But not only did we use the data on site, we also gathered some for research and development back at our Headquarters in Bremen to go alongside our ZIM MtecPla Plastic Detection Project. And apart from all the underwater time we enjoyed and data products we produced, we were very glad to work so closely together again and are already planning the next trip…