Building Boaty using Matlab


This is a brief animation showing the steps to build the Autosub Long Range (aka Boaty McBoatface) using Matlab. As a bit of fun during the recent DynOPO 2017 cruise (, we discussed ways to display the data being collected by the ALR. One of tricky aspects of using data from an autonomous platform is that it is neither a vertical profile (where plotting axes are depth and quantity being plotted) nor a horizontal section (where the x-axis is time or distance, and the vertical axis is depth). Instead, the data are along a track – wherever the submarine goes – which in this case, was to be bottom-following down the slope of Orkney Passage, a steep underwater mountain pass. So a movie in 3-d was the aim, but for a little extra pizzazz, data could appear under the track of an animated autosub. This is how autosub was constructed in Matlab. The animation shows the component pieces (body - or rather the fiberglass fairing, propeller, stern planes and rudder, wings, Rockland MicroRider instrument) and animates the propeller to give the impression of a flying Boaty. Coded by Eleanor Frajka-Williams (University of Southampton - w/help from Rob Templeton (National Oceanography Centre, Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems -

Eleanor Frajka-Williams
Eleanor Frajka-Williams
Professor of Ocean Dynamics in a Changing Climate

I am a physical oceanographer who uses ocean observations to investigate ocean dynamics and circulation in a changing climate. I have a particular interest in problems spanning scales (from micro- to large-scale) or spheres (biogeosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere), and in methods that leverage traditional observations with new platforms and satellite data.