The Team

Ship Location

Saanich Inlet, Canada

Jonathan Howland

Photo of Jonathan Howland
ROV Engineer
Senior Engineer
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

I am an engineer who works with a variety of deep sea vehicles, primarily in the areas of software, navigation, and imaging. I led the team that wrote the software that controls Argus and Hercules.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I was always interested in exploration and in the sea. My family has been going to sea for hundreds of years, and when I got the opportunity to combine exploration with a maritime career, I jumped at it.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

When I read about the first Jason Project, when a team of engineers resurrected the project after losing their ROV, I knew I had to work with people who could pull off such an achievement. A couple of years later, I was part of the team. It's the other people on that team and their high standards that continue to drive me.

What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?

Making big complex things (like ROVs) work.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I have worked as a field surveyor in the Saudi Arabian desert, a photogrammetrist in the Defense community, and as a submarine operations analyst. I have been involved with ROVs and other submersibles for over 30 years.

What are your degrees and certifications?

B.S Surveying Engineering, University of Maine 1980
M.S. Computer Science Johns Hopkins University, 1987

What are your hobbies?

cycling, running, and other fitness activities.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?

Don't listen to people who tell you how good you are unless you really have a lot of respect for them. Try something new every now and then. And if you don't occasionally have days at work that you would pay to do if you weren't getting paid--find a new job.

How did you get involved in the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?

I led the team that wrote the software for the vehicles and continue to stay involved modifying and extending it to meet new requirements.