The Polar Sea Ice Topography REconstruction System, or PSITRES, is a 3D camera system designed to continuously monitor an area of ice and water adjacent to an ice-going vessel. Camera systems aboard ships in the polar regions are common; however, the application of computer vision techniques to extract high-level information from the imagery is infrequent. Many of the existing systems are built for human involvement throughout the process and lack automation necessary for round the clock use. The PSITRES was designed with computer vision in mind. It can capture images continuously for days on end with limited oversight. We have applied the system in different ice observing scenarios. The PSITRES was deployed on three research expeditions in the Arctic and Subarctic, and we present applications in measuring ice concentration, melt pond fraction and presence of algae. Systems like PSITRES and the computer vision algorithms applied represent steps toward automatically observing, evaluating and analyzing ice and the environment around ships in ice-covered waters.