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Get more information about our underwater surveying equipment's features and discover all the ways that it can make your future surveys faster, more precise and more efficient.

Orion Cable Tracker

for underwater utility surveying

Orion lowered into the sea

The Orion system brings the power of model-based technology to cable tracking. This method is based on fitting data from multiple magnetic field sensors to a model of the magnetic field expected from a target cable carrying alternating current in order to track the 3‑D position of the target in real time.

In addition, the model-based methods enable Orion to continuously monitor and report the accuracy of the position in the presence of magnetic distortion, measurement noise and other error sources.

Orion may be used to track various types of subsea cables, including DC transmission cables, AC transmission cables, and communication cables. DC and AC cables may be tracked using either an active tone or a passive primary or harmonic frequency, while communication cables typically require an active tone from a remote transmitter. This enables various different applications, such as the following.

Depth of burial surveys

Orion provides continuously updated measurements of the horizontal and vertical offsets from a reference point to the cable. These measurements can easily be combined with bathymetric seabed data obtained from a terrain model, Orion altimeter, or vessel depth sounder to provide a reliable method for surveying depth of burial. Each measurement is accompanied by a statistical assessment of accuracy which can be used to provide lower bounds on the depth of cover as well as identifying areas that may need more detailed inspection.


Cable installation

Cable installation often presents unique challenges, especially under crowded and dynamically changing conditions such as during windfarm construction and expansion. Both export and infield cables may require careful burial via trenching or jetting while extra care must be taken when crossing existing cables or other infrastructure. Orion’s precision combined with both the flexibility of using multiple sensor pairs mounted in arbitrary configurations and the option of refining results in post-processing provides a powerful solution to this challenge.


Fault pinpointing

In addition to measuring the cable position Orion automatically estimates the AC or harmonic current flowing in the cable at the survey location. This provides an ideal mechanism for pinpointing the location of a fault in the cable integrity where current may be leaking to ground or between conductors. The current measurements are automatically logged along with other survey data, allowing for further narrowing down of the fault location during post-processing.


The basic Orion system comprises of an electronics pod (E-Pod), two magnetic field sensors and an on-deck software controller. The E-Pod and sensors may be mounted directly on a platform such as an ROV or on a rigid frame for towing or other types of deployment. The sensors should be separated by at least 1.5 m to achieve a tracking range of 10 m in any direction from the target.

The number of sensors may be increased to 4 or 6 in order to both improve accuracy and to provide sensor redundancy. In many cases accuracy may be improved even further with post-processing of survey data, such as when the measurements are distorted by nearby parallel or crossing cables or pipelines.

Orion is now integrated into the QINSy®, EIVA® and HYPACK® hydrographic survey solutions.

Download a data sheet for Orion here:

Orion Datasheet 2015.01.00.pdf

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