Standard Operating Procedures – Imaging Specialist 

The Imaging Specialist is a Marine Technician who has been assigned to work in the Imaging Lab on the ship and who will have imaging-related and other duties assigned on shore. The Imaging Specialist will share their ship duties between the Imaging Lab and Core Lab.


  • See General JRSO Technician SOP

As time permits in the office, a few tasks can be done ahead of time to save time on the ship. The final crew lists may or may not be available until aboard the ship.

  • Prepare Headshot templates
  • Prepare the caption ID participants list
  • Prepare the group photo templates
  • Prepare the captions documents (as a template) for each week of the expedition
  • Prepare the metadata template for Bridge (MerlinOne)

II. PORT CALL - Start of an Expedition

  • Shoot (or collect) headshot photographs of scientists, ship’s crew, catering crew and JRSO marine laboratory specialists, usually after one of the first meetings. Get updates on assignments from EPM and LO as changes might happen (due to berthing, sudden sickness or other misc. reasons). Post and distribute headshot posters as soon as possible but definitely before the end of port call. The headshots are critical to help the scientists, techs, and crew get to know each other.
  • Assist in making IDs for scientists and JRSO staff (if needed).
  • Calibrate monitors  in the imaging office.
  • If public relations (PR) activities are planned for the port call, coordinate with the LO as to what the expectations are for the JRSO imaging specialist’s duties. This will usually involve taking photographs of VIPs, tour activities, and the like, but may include escorting PR tours through the ship.

III. SITE PREPARATION - Prior to arrival on site and core on deck

  • Give the photo imaging talk scientists, this covers current core and close up photography policy.
    • This information is covered in the Imaging presentation given to the science party at the start of the cruise, but is included here as a reminder. The science party has the power to make decisions regarding sample preparation prior to imaging on the Section-Half Imaging Logger (SHIL). Therefore, the decision to scrape or not scrape or to photograph core sections dry versus wet should be driven by scientific needs (e.g., scraping may resolve features that were concealed when the core was split or it may create unwanted “artificial” features). The goal is to collect the best image possible to use in the VCDs and other graphics, with the scientists deciding how they want the core sections prepared for imaging.
  • Meet with microscope users and find out how they would like the microscopes configured and configure them appropriately.
  • Provide training to scientists on microscope usage (including microscope camera) and data upload/download procedures.
  • Assist in core lab preparation according to the Core Lab SOP.


  • Assist in core processing according to the Core Lab SOP. This is a primary function of any marine technician (with few exceptions like chemistry technicians, who have a different role) and should be your highest priority.
    • If there are imaging-related tasks that need to be performed (e.g., closeup requests, occasionally capturing images of crew, staff, and scientists as they work), then coordinate that work vs. the core processing with the ALO on duty.
  • Download all SHIL images from ImageGrabber and check for accuracy of information.
  • Look for any missing images, missing or incorrect spacers (e.g., 10 cm spacer used when it was a 5 cm whole-round), image quality, etc. Perform this duty 2-3 times a shift depending on core flow and bring any issues to the attention of the core lab staff routinely.
  • If applicable (igneous rock expeditions only), stitch WRND quadrant images to create 360 WRLSC (composites). Keep up with the core flow as these will keep coming during hard rock expeditions. Upload the WRLSC with the 360 uploader software. Check your uploads frequently in the associated LIVE template. More information about the process can be found in the Imaging Lab Notebook.
  • Shoot requested close-ups daily and upload to the server.
  • Shoot or assist taking PICAT images of Thin Section slides, daily if applicable.
  • Check in with scientists occasionally to make sure all optical microscopes are functioning correctly and that they understand the software and are uploading their images to the LIMS appropriately.


  • Photograph any needed PR or engineering photographs as requested. Blanket append all meta data for all the raw images using Bridge Templates or other suitable means to identify every image with at least the expedition number, organization, place, and creator of the images with copy right and contact information (agreed terminology is photographer's name, IODP JRSO or the organization that applies).
  • Create weekly images and collect them from other contributors (submitting photographs for the weekly photos should be encouraged to all staff and scientists) and create captions to be transmitted to shore to the Publications department on shore (find a list and the detailed SOP in the Lab Notebook) after approval from EPM, LO and captain. This task should be limited a reasonable amount of time per week, usually no more than 8-12 hours.
    • Be inclusive with photo selection to gain the perspective of others, who may appreciate having photos posted that they have taken.
  • Perform all necessary cleaning and maintenance on machinery and equipment.
  • Maintain inventory by monitoring quantities and performing physical counts. Notify the ALOs if any quantity discrepancy or unusual high usage occurred.
  • Shoot video as requested; these requests should come through the .


  • Shoot Group, Tech and Science group photographs at appropriate time (usually shot after abandon ship drill - work with Captain and LO/ALO on timing). Print and distribute to all shipboard members. The number is normally limited to those who participated in the big group photo or photographer's discretion. This can be done mid-cruise.
  • Produce t-shirt transfers for the winning logo and coordinate the pressing party. Create a logo copy for the stairwell, upload winning logo to NAS server.
  • Provide return to work date when requested by LO.
  • Write end-of-cruise lab report and provide digital copy as directed by the LO.
  • Copy SHIL images, RGB, high-res RGB, ROI, Microscopic images from the Zeiss camera in MBIO on data1
  • Copy the lab report and all other data collected (close-up spreadsheet, SHIL calibration, RAW and edited images, etc.) on an external hard drive to be taken to IODP for photography archive on shore (no system set yet, ask David Houpt about specifics). This data is then moved to the NAS for temporary storage (~4 months).
  • Upload only the edited weekly photos to the 'Public' folder in the NAS and a copy of the Logo to the 'Expedition logo' folder. Add any new headshots and the headshot posters to the 'Imaging' folder on the NAS.
  • Pack up equipment being returned for repairs and give the Assistant Lab Officer the following information: IODP inventory number, value, weight, serial number, model number, vendor's name and country of manufacture.
  • Give the Lab Officer a list for port purchases if any.
  • Perform the end of Expedition maintenance as listed in instrument user guide.
  • Scan and save log sheets in pdf format (e.g. close-ups, thin sections, etc.), by log sheet type, and collated either by site or one file for the whole expedition. Name files as: "logsheets_[analysis + instrument]_exp.pdf", e.g. "logsheets_closeups_398". Place the pdfs in DATA1/1.9 Laboratory Log Sheets. Discard physical documents unless a sailing scientist request them.

VII. PORT CALL – Off Going

  • Find the oncoming Imaging specialist and cross over. Make available a copy of your tech report for cross over. Make sure the on-coming staff is aware of any changes made to the lab, procedures, current equipment status, and port purchases if necessary.


  • Copy the expedition file folder to the local, shore based computer. Make corrections to images and add all keywords/metadata to the raw image files in Adobe Bridge. Copy the unedited raw files to the MerlinOne digital asset management (DAM) system. Edit the raw files and burn DVD's. Save the edited raw files as Photoshop format files and upload to MerlinOne, then burn DVD's of the edited Photoshop image files and produce contact sheets. Place the DVD's with contact sheets in a binder and store with the expedition binders. THIS IS ALL STILL UNDER DISCUSSION. CDs seem not be necessary anymore and the binders and sheets neither. More discussion to streamline the process is needed on shore.


  • Passport/ID images per request.
  • Special projects (which may include special events, product photography for the website, or other with the approval of the supervisor.


  • Provide microscope support as needed or requested.


  • Provide image support for the data librarian.


  • Such as lab working groups, hardware upgrades, etc. assigned by supervisor.
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