National Geographic Announces Initiative to Donate 1,000 Underwater Drones to Explore the Ocean

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National Geographic has partnered with OpenROV to launch the Science Exploration Education (S.E.E.) Initiative, a pioneering effort to explore the ocean. In 2019, the S.E.E. Initiative will donate 1,000 underwater drones to explore, monitor and protect marine environments, thanks to funding from a coalition of supporters, including the Avatar Alliance Foundation, Rolex, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, OceanX and a number of private philanthropists.

“We need more people exploring the ocean,” says James Cameron, National Geographic Explorer-at-Large. “We need them to feel the sense of curiosity and wonder that drives all science and exploration. Putting these tools in the hands of scientists, students and educators through the partnership between National Geographic and OpenROV is exciting.”

The recipients of OpenROV’s Trident drones will document their fieldwork and research on Open Explorer, National Geographic’s community platform for explorers and scientists. Open Explorer is an online community and digital field journal created to provide explorers and scientists a place to document, share and collaborate on expeditions in real-time, directly from the field. Created and structured by the Avatar Alliance Foundation, the S.E.E. Initiative builds on the momentum of the Open Explorer community, and engages audiences around the world in solving the local and global conservation challenges facing us today.

“One of the limiting factors for understanding the ocean is the risks, costs, and accessibility issues of experiencing these underwater ecosystems,” says David Lang, National Geographic Explorer and co-founder of OpenROV. “Many researchers, citizen scientists and underfunded conservation efforts don’t have the resources to monitor, study and explore. And we need that data to make informed conservation and policy decisions. The S.E.E. Initiative is an effort to empower people of all backgrounds to help tell these ocean stories in a more meaningful way.”

Researchers, citizen scientists, educators, nonprofits, and students can apply for sponsor-funded Trident ROVs through Open Explorer. Qualifying and interested groups and individuals are encouraged to apply for a robot for any marine project, and to follow the work of others through Open Explorer, which will be hosting the countless stories and projects that demonstrate the impact these drones are making in the name of science, conservation, and exploration.

“There’s never been a better time to be a curious person. New tools and technologies, like the Trident, are making science and exploration accessible,” Lang says “We’re helping people experience their world in a new and profound way. It’s not virtual reality. It’s not augmented reality. It’s just reality — the beauty, wonder and mystery of the unexplored world below the surface.”

For more information about Open Explorer and the S.E.E. Initiative, see the website here. Read more about this journey and the researchers and explorers behind it here.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About OpenROV

OpenROV designs and manufacturers professional exploration tools. The Trident Underwater Drone allows users to pilot the underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) down to depths of 100m and streams live video back to their smartphone or tablet. Learn more at

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