Here be Dragons


Public Domain

Olaus Magnus

Sea monsters such as the kraken, prister, and rosmarus indicated uncharted territory on elaborate new maps of the world in medieval times. Despite many advances in mapping technology and data acquisition  in the last 500 years, our ocean remains largely uncharted and poorly understood.

Here be Dragons will convene explorers, innovators, artists, scientists, and storytellers to identify the uncharted territories that still exist in ocean exploration and storytelling. In response, MIT students will  work with explorers to develop and present collaborative projects to deploy new and emerging technologies in the field that address gaps in our understanding and sharing of the ocean. Select proposals will be funded for Rapid Field Deployments.

In collaboration with the National Geographic Society and New England Aquarium.

In person attendance for Here be Dragons was by invitation only. The program was webcast; English-captioned video will available soon.

This event took place at the MIT Media Lab and New England Aquarium Monday February 26 and Tuesday February 27, 2018.


Speaker bios and info available
Names in italics are National Geographic Explorers

February 26

8:00am | Breakfast & Registration

9:00am | Welcome Aboard
Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab
Alex Moen, VP Explorer Programs, National Geographic Society
Katy Croff Bell, Founder and Lead, MIT Media Lab Open Ocean initiative

9:15am | All Hands Morning Keynote
Robert Ballard, geological oceanographer and deep sea explorer; President of the Ocean Exploration Trust and Professor at the University of Rhode Island

9:45am  | Session 1: At the Edge of the Map (choose one)
(A) Exploration and Discovery

  • Moderator: Peter Girguis, biogeochemist; Professor, Harvard University
  • Adam Soule, volcanologist; Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Kakani Katija, bioengineer; Principal Engineer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Beverly Goodman, geoarchaeologist; Asst. Professor, Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa
  • Kenny Broad, environmental anthropologist; Director of the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami

(B) Our Thriving Ocean

  • Moderator: Brooke Runnette, Chief Program Officer, Emerson Elemental
  • Jeff Marlow, geobiologist and science writer; Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
  • Diva Amon, deep sea biologist; Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow at the Natural History Museum, London
  • John Mandelman, fish ecologist; VP and Chief Scientist, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, New England Aquarium
  • Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, marine biologist and conservation strategist; Founder, Ocean Collectiv

10:45am | Break

11:00am | Session 2: Deep Data (choose one)
(A) Analysis and Sharing

  • Moderator: Dava Newman SM'89, PhD'92, Professor, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Katy Croff Bell '00, deep sea explorer; Founder and Lead, MIT Media Lab Open Ocean initiative
  • Alan Turchik, Product Development Manager, Exploration Technology Lab, National Geographic Labs
  • Grace Young ‘14, ocean engineer; PhD Candidate, Oxford University
  • Ben Woodward, applied machine learning researcher; Co-Founder, CVision AI

(B) Platforms and Sensors

  • Moderator: Joe Paradiso, Director, Responsive Environments, MIT Media Lab
  • Alan Leonardi, Director, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
  • Antonella Wilby, underwater swarm roboticist; PhD student, University of California San Diego
  • Anna Michel ’98, SM’02, PhD’07, ocean engineer; Associate Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Brennan Phillips, ocean engineer; Professor, University of Rhode Island

12:00pm | Lightning Talkslist and more details

1:00pm | Lunch + Demos

2:30pm | Session 3: All Hands on Deck (choose one)
(A) Sea Stories

  • Moderator: Mike Bove, Director, Object-Based Media, MIT Media Lab
  • Corey Jaskolski SM’02, technologist and inventor; Founder, Hydro Technologies
  • Susan Poulton, Chief Digital Officer, The Franklin Institute
  • Kaitlin Yarnall, VP of Media Innovation, National Geographic Society
  • Brian Skerry, underwater photographer and photojournalist

(B) Democratizing the Ocean

  • Moderator: Andy Lippman, Director, Viral Communications, MIT Media Lab
  • Asha DeVos, ocean educator and marine biologist; Founder, Oceanswell
  • Shah Selbe, conservation technologist; Founder, Conversify
  • Gregg Treinish, volunteer mobilizer; Founder, Adventure Scientists
  • Annie Brett, exploration scientist and lawyer; PhD Candidate, University of Miami

3:30pm | Lightning Talks: list and more details

4:30pm | Break

4:45pm | Afternoon Plenary Panel: Moderator: Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

  • Tim Delaney, designer, creative executive Walt Disney Imagineering, retired; President, Tim J. Delaney Design Inc.
  • Sara Drakeley ‘12, Technical Director, Disney's Moana, and Core Software Engineer, Engineers Gate
  • Dan Novy, magic maker; PhD Candidate, MIT Media Lab and Emmy award winning visual effects artist

5:45pm | Day 1 Closing Remarks
Katy Croff Bell, Founder and Lead, MIT Media Lab Open Ocean initiative

6:00pm | Into the Deep: Reception and ocean art exhibition

February 27

8:30am | Breakfast

9:00am - 3:00pm | Deeper Dives: Collaborative Project Development

9:00am | Share your interests, skills, and inspiration
10:00am | Explore ideas related to your team topic
11:00am | Refine concepts to a feasible project
12:00pm | Lunch and Demos
1:00pm | Capture project in presentation form
2:00pm | Polish presentation and rehearse pitch
3:00pm | Upload slides
4:15 + 4:30pm | Travel to New England Aquarium

5:00pm | Project Pitches at New England Aquarium IMAX Theater
Jane Wolfson, VP, Marketing and Communications, New England Aquarium
Katy Croff Bell, Founder and Lead, MIT Media Lab Open Ocean initiative
Project Team Leads

30pm | Cocktail Reception

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