Skip to main content

GPS-based Underwater Navigation Technology

Submitted by Scuba World news on Fri, 08/19/2016 - 18:39
Preparing for the dive

Good news for scuba world: The first-in-history independent GPS-based underwater navigation technology for divers is fully operational now! Ariadna Tech have been researching the technology and developing GPS navigation system for divers over six years now. The next milestone for the "Project Ariadna" is to make the navigation technology smaller to equip it as a wrist-worn device.

How do the underwater navigation system work?

Based on Ariadna Tech press release this is a global scale innovation because no independent personal underwater navigation technology has been created, until now. Using GPS for underwater navigation is quite impossible because high-frequency signal penetrates only about 2 millimeters into the water. This is why researchers behind the navigation project took a different approach to solve the problem: " use an inertial navigation data fusion principle to calculate a diver’s position when submerged. At the surface the GPS signal is used as a point of reference. Immediately upon submerging, Ariadna switches to its inertial data fusion technology. Using its 11 independent sensors and an extremely sophisticated algorithm, it processes data in real time and calculates the movement vectors." This allows divers to see their position graphically on the map and in real time. After the dive you can also view the executed route as a 3D map for example using tools such as Google Earth.

Assembling GPS navigation device
Building underwater GPS-based navigation device.
3d maps and graphs
Diving data graphs and 3D maps.

Benefits of GPS-based navigation system in diving

Underwater "Google Maps" for divers

This technology makes it possible to use familiar GPS navigation features such as Points of Interests (POI). You can plan your route based on exciting POI added by other divers. You can also add your own POI during the dive if you find something thrilling like a new wreck or interesting area of a reef. This way it's easy to find the place again and it could be shared to your dive buddies as well.

Underwater navigation technology improves safety

If you are constantly aware of your location you can avoid stress and increased gas consumption. Even though the diving conditions changes rapidly for example visibility goes to zero during a cave dive and orientation is lost, it's easy to see your executed route and exact location from the map. Project Ariadna even shows you the Remaining Bottom Time and Distance (RBTD) and "Navigate Home" function for added safety.

GPS dive navigation device
Project Ariadna: GPS-based underwater navigation device
Diving with uw navigation system
Diving with underwater navigation device.

Who will benefit most of this technology?

Scientists, explorers, underwater biologists, underwater archeologists and cave divers would probably find this technology very useful. For example when exploring a large cave systems the 3D mapping is a priceless feature. The ability to share Points of Interests to other researchers is a valuable feature too. wishes good luck for the project and is excited to see how Project Ariadna will be adopted amongst the divers in future. We hope the milestone for miniaturizing it into a wrist-worn device will be met and development of the algorithm and integration to other services will be improved constantly. The commercial launch of the product is expected to be in 2017. Until then you can get more information about the project by navigating to or visiting Ariadna Tech stand 3F22 at Boot Dusseldorf fair 23.-31.1.2016.

Video about "What is Project Ariadna":


Source: Ariadna Tech press release: Lahti, Finland — January 12th, 2016
Images: About Project Ariadna video