2018 has been a momentous year for subsea 3d scanning specialists, Viewport3. Despite being in only their second year of trading, the Aberdeenshire tech start-up has enjoyed turnover and growth far in excess of their projections.

Over the past year the Ellon-based firm’s turnover increased 34 times, from £10,000 to over £340,000. This remarkable growth rate has enabled Viewport3 to expand its floor-space as well as its team by three new roles with further scaling plans in place.
Viewport3 specialise in providing underwater photogrammetry services – using ROV or diver mounted cameras to obtain technical grade point-cloud data for operators and marine contractors.

Over the course of 2018, Viewport3 calculate that they have saved operators in excess of £6.6 million. The bulk of these savings arose from the reduced requirement for marine services, not just during the capture sessions themselves, but also during the follow-up engineering phase thanks to the accuracy of Viewport3’s photogrammetry technique which helps to mitigate on-site re-work.

Moreover, because Viewport3 integrate their high accuracy photogrammetry process into the work flow that has already been planned, they minimise project disruption and risk, helping to eradicate the need for additional hardware, logistics and bed space.

Viewport3’s system uses existing equipment, namely divers, ROVs and their cameras, saving clients from having to buy or hire any additional hardware, such as more costly and time-intensive laser systems.

Earlier this year the firm collaborated with leading service provider, N-Sea Group, to carry out subsea scanning of multiple locations at a North-sea based semi-submersible. This would prove to be Viewport3’s breakthrough project, allowing them to put their pioneering process on the map. On this project the data was collected in just 8 days, compared to the more typical 20 days. Moreover, onboard review of the point-cloud data allowed for early analysis and confirmation that the site was fully captured. As a result, Viewport3 succeeded not only in making significant cost-savings for the client, but also in proving their claims.

Another key project saw Viewport3 working with BP to provide an innovative method of digital model construction for mooring line chains for a CALM buoy located in offshore Angola. Nick Cowlan Floating Systems Engineer and Naval Architect for BP commented:

“Viewport3 provided a quick and flexible attitude to their services, saving BP time and money for the inspection programme. Without their assistance, measurement data could not have been passed onto Integrity and to Class.”

Chris Harvey, one of the directors of Viewport 3, said: “2018 has been a fantastic year for us, with turnover and growth exceeding all expectations. Over the course of the year our reputation for retrieving technical grade data with proven accuracies of under 1mm via an efficient and cost-effective process, has grown considerably.

“This year has also seen us expand our team and allowed us to take advantage of the rich pool of talent we have here in the North-east, which has been another highlight for us.”

Rounding off their successful year, Viewport3 have been short-listed as finalists in the Innovation and Technology category of the Subsea UK Awards, which will take place in February next year.

Richard and Chris have big plans for Viewport3 in 2019.

One area of the business that they are keen to expand further is converting video archives into 3d time-lines. Because the scanning specialists can deploy their expertise and carry out this entire process onshore, there is no need to physically travel offshore, producing substantial cost-savings for operators and service providers by helping to avoid additional inspection scopes and predicting failures earlier and with better accuracy.

Such is their passion for retrieving the most accurate subsea data for their clients, Richard and Chris are very enthusiastic about exploring new, emerging technologies which could deliver ‘more for less.’ As Richard says:

“We are currently at the vanguard of subsea scanning, but we know that continuous innovation is key to retaining that position. We are already building on our success with investment in a project which uses bespoke artificial intelligence to make our processes even more efficient. Keeping abreast of a number of emerging technologies, such as development of photography solutions for the underwater autonomous vehicle (UAV) sector, structure from light, and advanced 2D imaging, means we can always offer our clients the most accurate, cutting-edge subsea scanning service possible.”