In June 2017 C-CORE conducted an extensive iceberg data collection program in Bonavista Bay, NL, proving its Rapid Iceberg Profiling technology. In two days the research team profiled more than a dozen icebergs of varying sizes. At about 2000 tonnes, the largest surveyed was almost 300 metres across, 40 metres high and 70 metres deep.

Previously, iceberg shapes were obtained using photographs taken while circling the berg, which were then fed into photogrammetric software that rendered a 3D point cloud; the process took several hours and generated only above-water profiles. For underneath the waterline, a generic shape was used.

C-CORE’s Rapid Iceberg Profiling system uses a Light Imaging, Detection, and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor mounted above the waterline and a multibeam SONAR sensor below the waterline, which take thousands of “snapshots” during three circuits around an iceberg. These data points are relayed to a ship-board computer and used to create 3D models of the iceberg, typically within an hour.

A profile can then be run through C-CORE’s Ice Management Decision Support software, which also ingests information on metocean conditions (current, wind, waves, etc.), analyzes the threat and makes recommendations on tow, rope or net deployment, as well as towing direction and speed, for optimal towing success.

The 3D profiles collected in the 2017 field program are also being used by C-CORE to better understand the factors determining an iceberg’s drift direction and melt, and to create accurate computer simulations of iceberg interaction with infrastructure and with the seabed. This will help engineers develop better, safer designs for vessels, platforms and wellheads, and plan the best routing and burial depths for pipelines and seabed cables.