The Exploration Technology Lab develops and deploys research and storytelling technologies that facilitate access, and yield critical insights, into some of the most extreme environments on Earth.

Our interdisciplinary team of engineers and scientists collaborate with National Geographic Explorers to build and deploy breakthrough sensor systems and hardware. 

These technologies generate critical insights helping our Explorers to increase the impact of their scientific research and to deepen their ability to create awe-inspiring stories.

The Exploration Technology Lab builds on National Geographic’s legacy of technology and innovation, dating back to 1888. This legacy and our work today furthers our mission of illuminating and protecting the wonder of our world.


Deep Sea Camera System
These low-cost autonomous systems combine a high-definition camera and lights inside of a glass pressure housing, to capture high-quality imagery of biodiversity on the seafloor. These systems have been deployed more than 500 times worldwide, supporting Explorers working in the ocean to collect data and benefit  future conservation efforts.
Worn by wild animals, the Crittercam gathers audio, video and environmental sensor data that provides detailed information on behavior that other instruments or human observers cannot provide. The Crittercam program uses technology to promote education, conservation activities and scientific research to protect many animals, including lions, humpback whales, African elephants, Tasmanian devils and green sea turtles, to name a few.
Storytelling Camera Trap
Animals often behave abnormally or avoid the area when humans are nearby. To get around this problem, scientists and storytellers employ camera traps, which autonomously capture photos and videos of animals in the wild. Our custom Storytelling Camera Trap helps our Explorers create intimate pictures of wild animals without disturbing them.


Number of Explorers Supported Every Year
Approximate Number of Scientific Publications Co-Authored by Exploration Technology Lab Staff
Approximate Number of Locations Supported Per Year, Around the World


Our impact is often featured in the news. Here are some stories about the work of the Exploration Technology Lab from around the world.

Photo credits: (DropCam Video Sequence) ; Andy Bardon (Extreme Exploration) ; Shelby Randenberg (Dropcam) ; Greg Marshall (Crittercam); IRIDIUM.COM; MARK THIESSEN (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC); TAYLOR MICKEL

Get updates about our critical work to explore and protect our planet.

The National Geographic Society is proud to invest in a global community of intrepid Explorers working to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Make a tax-deductible gift to support the Society today, and your support will help fund the next generation of changemakers.