Diver navigation

Diver navigation

Divers need a precise way to navigate underwater if they want to find a specific location with any degree of confidence. There are no road signs or landmarks underwater, and poor visibility is just one of several challenges that divers have to face. The Nortek DVL is a perfect aid for diver navigation, due to its compact design and high accuracy.

Artemis is a modular handheld console with Nortek's DVL integrated. It can be configured as a diver-target detection sonar and underwater navigation aid.


  • Ultra-small size and weight
  • Low power consumption
  • Easy to integrate into complete navigation aids
  • Exceptional range

What and why

What is diver navigation and why is it useful?

The navigation system combines an accurate compass and a Doppler Velocity Log (DVL). The combined information tells divers which direction they are swimming and how far they have moved. The DVL is a crucial aid since GPS and other airborne signals do not function underwater.

The requirements for precision in diver navigation systems are not as stringent as with unmanned underwater vehicles, so the navigation system can be designed and set up in a fairly streamlined and simple manner.

Diver navigation systems are typically initiated with GPS at the surface to establish the starting position, before the bottom-tracking DVL takes over position calculation underwater. The data from the DVL is supplemented with a dynamically compensated compass.

The result is a cost-efficient navigation system that provides precise positioning data, while being simple to use for divers. This type of navigation system is important for diver safety, and has other related uses – for example, guiding divers to remain out of view, which may be necessary during secret intelligence missions.

Who it's for

Nortek’s DVLs are particularly relevant for companies and innovators who design, develop and integrate the different elements of diver navigation systems.

Technical considerations

There are several types of DVL from which to choose. The instrument should be selected according to the bottom-tracking range required and the depth at which the system will be operating. The trade-off is between tracking range and the size of the system.

The DVL should be installed in the diver navigation system in a way that secures mechanical and electrical integration between the DVL and the directional sensor. Developers must write a software interface in their control system capable of receiving data from the DVL.

Nortek’s DVLs can be delivered without external housing. This gives developers the opportunity to seamlessly integrate the DVL into the mechanical design of their navigation unit.

Technical considerations

Data presentation

Solutions for data presentation must be created by the system integrator.

Choice of instrument

Nortek’s DVLs are favored in diver navigation systems because of their small size and great tracking range. The DVLs have very low power consumption and allow long-term operation without recharging batteries. The compact size of systems incorporating Nortek DVLs makes the equipment much easier for divers to handle and maneuver.

The DVL1000 – 300 m is the industry’s smallest DVL. It has a maximum operational depth of 300 m and is ideally suited for subsea navigation where size and weight are a concern. The DVL1000 can bottom-track in a 0.2–75 m range.

The slightly larger DVL500 has greater range than the DVL1000. It can bottom-track in the 0.3–200 m range.

Choice of instrument
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