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Pretty coral

What we do

HyperSurvey utilises a new seafloor monitoring technology that's changing the way we map and assess the health of seafloor areas. Vulnerable, degrading marine ecosystems need to be better understood if progress is to be made, both scientifically and politically, in protecting them for a sustainable future.

At the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen (Germany) a new monitoring technology has been developed that maps the health of sea floors in a way that is faster and more cost-efficient than ever before. HyperSurvey aims to further develop this technology to make it available and usable for a wider audience, thereby enabling efficient and long-term monitoring of sea floors such as coral reefs, lakes, temperate oceanic shelves and more.

Pretty coral



Radio interview

Dr. Joost den Haan and Dr. Arjun Chennu were interviewed in May 2016 for Funkhaus Radio Bremen, to explain what their research was about. The title of the interview is "Digitalisiertes Korallenriff" and is in German. You can listen to it here.

The technology

HyperDiver platformOur technology comes in the form of the HyperDiver - a device that is physically guided by a diver to scan a seafloor area. The HyperDiver contains a sophisticated hyperspectral camera, which is linked to a machine learning algorithm, so that an entire seafloor can be automatically identified and monitored - with new eyes. For example, on a coral reef it can detect coral species, notorious algae, sponges, etc., but the HyperDiver can also identify whether corals are diseased, bleached or if there are any coral-killing starfishes present (i.e., crown-of-thorns starfish).

Some examples of hyperspectral scans obtained with the HyperDiver can be seen below. They show two different reefs: the top reef is a healthy, coral dominated reef, while the bottom reef is dominated by macroalgae and turf algae, with very little coral cover. Note that HyperDiver’s software can create far more detailed maps than those shown below, in which macroalgae, corals etc. are identified and highlighted up to species level. Dimensions of these example scans are 2 x 25 m, but scan dimensions are unlimited. Individual scans can also be stitched into large reef maps.

Healthy reef

True color view

True color view of healthy reef

Hyperspectral view, color-coded

Hyperspectral view of healthy reef

Unhealthy reef

True color view

True color view of unhealthy reef

Hyperspectral view, color-coded

Hypespectral view of unhealthy reef
Pretty sight with HyperDiver


The monitoring solution offered by HyperSurvey has many advantages over current coral reef surveying methods including:

  • Quick data acquisition: a 40m2 seafloor area can be monitored in 60 seconds using a HyperDiver. This is several orders of magnitudes faster than many traditional monitoring technologies, which often need up to 60 minutes to survey the same seafloor area.
  • Full coverage of the seafloor: our technology surveys the entire seafloor (i.e., each pixel recorded is information). Traditional technologies often study only sections of pictures or video material obtained, which is then extrapolated as if the entire seafloor is studied.
  • Quick data analysis and reporting: fully automated analyses of the obtained seafloor data. There is no need for labour-intensive data entry and interpretation. A report of the results can be automatically generated.
  • Availability of (large) seafloor maps: the HyperDiver software is capable of producing detailed seafloor maps, which allows better assessment of of things such as reef health.
  • Objective assessment: most traditional monitoring technologies rely on manual assessment of the seafloor data, relying on the capabilities of the expert performing and analysing the survey. With our software, a purely objective assessment of the seafloor can be done, enabling an optimal fusion and comparability of datasets.
  • Versatility: our solution is not just usable for tropical coral reefs, it can also be applied to other aquatic ecosystems like fresh water lakes, the Mediterranean Sea or any other types of sea floors.
  • Easy operation: the HyperDiver can be used by any diver. Future versions will allow attachment to boats and ROVs.
  • Cost-efficiency: since seafloor data acquisition and analysis is much faster, and can be done by anyone that can dive, the HyperDiver is a highly cost-efficient monitoring technology.
More pretty coral


In 2016, Mr. Pierre-Francois Didek from Update Productions, made a documentary on how the HyperDiver conducts coral reef monitoring. This was done on the island of Curaçao (Southern Caribbean), in cooperation with research station ‘Carmabi’. The documentary gives insight into the work we do, how the HyperDiver functions, and what its software is capable of. The documentary is an extract from the episode ‘Oceans of the Future’, which is part of the 'Dream the future' documentary series.

Learn more

Further coverage

  • Article in Nature Scientific Reports
  • Article in Nature News
  • Article on TARA Oceans: French Polynesia expedition
  • Article in MIT German Technology Review
  • Article in


Over the past few years, members of the HyperSurvey team collaborated with various international institutions to test the HyperDiver in different aquatic environments. Below you will find some examples of past monitoring projects.
Curacao work

Carmabi (Curaçao)

In August 2016, Dr. Arjun Chennu and Dr. Joost den Haan visited Curaçao to monitor its coral reefs with the HyperDiver. Eight different dive sites were visited along the Curaçao (leeward) coastline, each having a different degree of anthropogenic influence. At each dive site, up to 25 transect lines (each 50 m long), were surveyed between 4 and 12 m depth. Simultaneously, the team performed traditional reef monitoring technologies (i.e., taking pictures and conducting line-intersects), to directly compare their results to those of the HyperDiver.

Guam work

University of Guam (USA)

In May 2017, Dr. Joost den Haan visited the island of Guam, where he scanned 13 coral reef sites with the HyperDiver. While doing this, Dr. Tom Schils from the University of Guam took pictures of the same transect lines, to be compared to the results of the HyperDiver. This project was part of the mission "Underwater Hyperspectral Imaging to Advance Automated Diagnostic Monitoring of Tropical Reefs", which is part of the NASA Guam EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Development Program

Further collaborations

About us

The HyperSurvey team continues to further advance its HyperDiver hardware and software, to ultimately create a refined and user-friendly monitoring tool, available to any interested user. This step will bring the advantages offered by the HyperDiver to a much broader audience. Furthermore, our software tools will create easily-interpretable seafloor maps, which are vital to inform and educate scientists, policy-makers, coastal managers, but also the general public. The HyperDiver can help making the right decisions to properly protect and conserve aquatic ecosystems. For example, maps created by the HyperDiver will not only transmit how threatened an area such as a coral reef is (i.e., completely overgrown by algae with hardly any live coral left), it can also highlight management successes, where, for example, the effect of sewage reduction onto coral reefs is visualized by the recovery and comeback of coral colonies.

HyperSurvey is currently hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen (Germany). With the support of the University of Bremen (BRIDGE), it enrolled into the 1-year EXIST Start-up program of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, to start its own business. Furthermore, HyperSurvey was accepted into the Climate-KIC accelerator programme in Berlin to further develop the HyperDiver II and receiver coaching and mentoring.

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Profile picture Joost den Haan

Dr. Joost den Haan
Co-founder & CEO

Hi, I am the CEO of HyperSurvey. Since 2007 I have been monitoring coral reefs all over the world. I used the experience obtained as a marine biologist (MSc, PhD and postdoctoral research), to help create a unique machine-learning training dataset, used to make the HyperDiver capable of coral reef monitoring. In the coming months, my HyperSurvey team members and I will turn the HyperDiver prototype into a fully-fledged end-user product, the HyperDiver II. If you have any questions about the HyperDiver or the research I have done in the past, feel free to contact me.

Profile picture Raja Kandukuri

Raja Kandukuri, M.Sc.
Co-founder & Head of hardware

Hi, I am the head of hardware development for HyperSurvey. My primary role is to convert the current HyperDiver prototype into a commercially viable system, which is usable by anyone interested in monitoring.

In 2014, I obtained my MSc from the University of Bremen in Electronics and Communication Systems Engineering. I have more than 6 years of experience in embedded systems development, both for industrial and domestic applications, as well as image and data processing applications. Some of these have been operational 24x7 for several years. During my MSc, I also applied machine learning techniques to tackle logistical cargo problems.

Profile Picture Guy Rigot

Guy Rigot, M.Sc.
Co-founder & Head of software

Hi there! I am the head of software development for HyperSurvey. My job is to create, improve and update all HyperDiver software, such that a robust, user-friendly end product is available.

Before I joined HyperSurvey, I worked in the space industry as an Attitude and Orbit Control System Engineer for six years, where I contributed to the next generation of European meteorological satellites (MeteoSat Third Generation). In 2008, I graduated Cum Laude for my M.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology. If you have any questions regarding software development for the HyperDiver, feel free to contact me.

Profile Picture Hannah Brocke

Dr. Hannah Brocke
Business Development Director

Hi! I am the business development director and dive officer of HyperSurvey. My main job is to mobilize financial resources to further our company, and find potential partners and clients.

In 2010, I used hyperspectral imaging for my PhD research at the Max Planck Institute. At that time, the HyperDiver was not yet developed, and I therefore worked with a laboratory setup. During most of my scientific career (MSc, PhD and postdoctoral research), I worked on the effects of human impact on coral reefs. In 2016, I participated in a coral reef monitoring program on Curaçao (Southern Caribbean) involving the HyperDiver.
Furthermore, I have strong skills in fundraising, and since 2010 I am scientific dive officer (AESD - Advanced European Scientific Diver, TEL - Taucheinsatzleiter), and have over 10 years of experience in scientific diving.

Profile Picture Arjun Chennu

Dr. Arjun Chennu

I am a research scientist with an interest in underwater instrumentation and habitat mapping. I developed methods and tools for underwater hyperspectral imaging, such as the HyperSub and the HyperDiver, which can be used to make detailed and rich maps of marine habitats. HyperDiver, the first diver-operable hyperspectral imaging system, combined with machine learning analytics shows the potential for automatically generating detailed habitat maps (see here). I have used the HyperDiver in various ecosystems such as coral reefs, atolls, lakes, seagrass beds, etc. I provide technical advice to the HyperSurvey team and I'm looking forward to a wider community of users for this promising method.

My background is in physics, engineering and marine ecology. I am actively involved in habitat mapping, hardware and software development, computer vision, spectroscopy and machine learning analytics. If you would like to discuss any of these aspects, do get in touch.