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DeepOcean UK: Laying submarine cables with greater clarity than ever before.

Bringing together marine web mapping and live data from offshore cable installation and trenching vessels

Key facts

  • 01.


    DeepOcean UK

  • 02.


    Offshore NW Europe

  • 03.


    Submarine cables

Client challenge

DeepOcean is a primary offshore contractor, specialising in submarine cable installation and trenching projects in the UK and overseas. The demand for services in this area has increased globally, both for power and telecoms transmission. The offshore wind industry is at the forefront of growth, requiring multiple 'array' cables connecting turbines to offshore substations and export cables carrying power to shore. The latest cable technology allows interconnector power cables to be installed across seas and oceans, creating new regional energy distribution opportunities.


As a leader in its field, with a number of key projects, DeepOcean was looking for solutions so its onshore project teams could access positioning, survey and trenching data in near real time. Answers would help the company excel in a marketplace that demands optimal project performance and efficiency. During offshore operations, close visibility to project progress and performance is vital, including monitoring trenching speed, plough tow force and depth of burial. Deviations from expectation may identify operational or technical issues, requiring intervention and optimisation of project planning. There was also a need to independently store information and review and replay trenching performance data, vessel movements and metocean observations to support project variations. Our client required a truly integrated offshore project management tool.

How we helped

We gave DeepOcean secure access to our innovative IRIS web mapping site. IRIS integrates a wide range of geospatial datasets relevant to offshore operations. Data includes hydrographic charts, bathymetry, BGS soils and sample data, offshore infrastructure and metocean observations, predictions and forecasts. IRIS also incorporates vessel tracking, using a range of proprietary and third-party data sources.

Next, we commissioned marine electronics company, Electech Solutions Ltd, to develop a ruggedised system unit. This would automatically collect on-board positioning and trenching performance data and then package and transmit it to the IRIS cloud database platform (using vessel VSAT or in-built Iridium satellite communications). Named the V-NODE, the unit also incorporated internal GPS, heading and AIS sensors. This allowed live monitoring on IRIS of all vessel movements in the vicinity of operations (fully independent of terrestrial or satellite AIS data availability issues).

v-node_unitWith input from DeepOcean's technical team, we created a suite of IRIS dashboards accessed through a dedicated ‘Trenching Status’ module. Key data, including depth of burial, plough speed and tow force, was plotted in series against time or KP and viewed across multiple passes or campaigns. Our client could download this data directly from the IRIS website for detailed analysis using commonly available software, such as Excel.

We also enhanced the vessel tracking functionality of IRIS. Our client was now able to identify, store and replay data for an unlimited number of vessels throughout the duration of a project, without degradation to system performance.


Trenching parameters time series

vessel_tracking_screenVessel and trenching asset tracks

Technical specifications


  1. Provide cost-effective plug and play systems to interface with onboard trenching and survey computer systems and transmit received data in real time to secure cloud storage platform.
  2. Allow authorised users to readily access the data through a web map application; facilitating both real-time and replay visualisation using intuitive web dashboard components and time series plots.
  3. Display in real-time and replay modes the positions of all project vessels and deployed assets, such as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and plough, together with all third-party vessels in the vicinity of operations.

Client benefits

  • Operational visibility: Early identification of operational and performance issues, allowing early intervention driving project efficiency.

  • An invaluable database: A permanent record of trenching asset performance within identified soil types and metocean conditions, contributing to improved scheduling and costing on future tenders and projects.

  • Independent, re-playable record of project activities, including trenching performance and vessel movements.

  • Easy access to data: A single source of individual and multi-project data, securely hosted in the cloud, available 24/7/365 to any authorised user with access to the internet.

  • Improved scheduling and forecasting: Project planning is based upon actual performance data in the field.

  • Efficient onshore technical support and communications: Problem-solving between offshore and onshore teams can now use common datasets.



Project results

DeepOcean UK has used our IRIS service across a number of its submarine cable projects in planning and operational phases. The latest V-NODE unit has been installed and interfaced to vessel systems supporting the company’s highly sophisticated T3200 mechanical trenching system. This has enabled DeepOcean to access and maximise the value of acquired data that was previously largely confined to onboard systems during operations.


Client feedback

“With the IRIS/V-NODE solution, Lloyd's Register has delivered a truly innovative capability and cost-effective service which provides DeepOcean with critical operational visibility to its submarine cables projects. When the IRIS/V-NODE solution is deployed, the offshore and onshore teams can work efficiently, sharing the same data, and it also supports our project team in forecasting and planning. The IRIS team provides dedicated and responsive support which is hugely valuable to DeepOcean.”

Jim Pyrah

Trenching Manager, DeepOcean UK

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