Friday, 29 April 2011

Hydrographic Charting

A few things have cropped up in my inbox recently about charting.

The first one was about the perceived accuracy of electronic charts and the IHO survey which is running. Now accuracy of charts - or, more correctly, the accuracy of the source data - has been one of my career mantras. Metadata is oh, so, unsexy but so, so critical and often gets overlooked. Just because a chart is digital doesn't mean it's any better than a paper version. Indeed, just because a chart is metric doesn't necessarily mean it has any/much more data than the fathoms version. It's all down to fitness for purpose and the user knowing what they have. I've had many conversions with Mariners who have said (after they hit charted feature) "but I didn't know the paper chart wasn't on WGS84 Datum!" "Did you read the chart notes?" I'd enquire? "What chart notes?" was the response. Give me a brick wall and I'll bang my head against it.

The second one was a new book, The Electronic Chart which is now on its 3rd edition. ENC and ECDIS display issues are becoming quite a hot potato and I wonder how much this book covers it. Perhaps I should buy one and read it!

I'm also realising I'm not such a geek as I thought. Or perhaps I just hang out with geeks. On a recent car journey with an RN hydro surveyor he admitted that when shore-side the first person to spot a trig/benchmark had to be bought a beer. So it's not just me that goes around looking at pavements and walls then...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cardiff Benchmarks - Devon Trigs

Just enjoyed a very happy few days up in Cardiff with my girls. Met up with a surveying friend who showed us the sights. As you'd expect we managed to stumble across a few geo items...

Cardiff Bay has been extensively regenerated, but I liked the way the old was now part of the new development.

We sat to have lunch and realised we were perched on an Environment Agency benchmark.

Not sure why they didn't just use the benchmark across the road?

The Taff obviously floods here.

And today, in Devon, it's gloriously sunny. I was down to one child so lured her out with lunch at Otterton Mill, a Waitrose shop (!?) then trig pillar bagging. Three in one day is good going and Caitlin had some good map reading experience.

Friday, 8 April 2011

AUV Treasures

Enjoyed a geeky day at Ocean Business on Wed. I had some business to conduct and valued the opportunity to be out of the office in what I consider to be a rich learning environment. Not only are there lots of gadgets to see, there are contacts both new and old to meet; providing oodles of tit bits into the world of hydrography and the broader marine world.

Spent some time talking with colleagues at NOC (National Oceanographic Centre) about their glider programme. I then got the best invitation of the day from a chap which was "do you want to come and see my big toys?" So we went down to one of the NOC labs and he gave me a whistle stop tour of their AUVs, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. Not to be muddled, of course, with UAVs, Unmanned Aeronautical Vehicles.

They have three AUVs at NOC. Their first could only disappear for 4 days or so before the battery ran out.

The second would last at least twice as long and was rechargeable. It can dive to 6000m.

And their latest and greatest can travel 6000km, dive to 6000m and potentially last 6 months without a battery refresh/recharge. Impressive.

I chatted to CARIS about their oceanographic charting capacity (developing...), Lockhead Martin about their Sippican XBTs and XSVs, Fugro Pelagos about emerging geospatial opportunities,
Ferry Box, Shark, about their underwater technology, OSIL about equipment support etc. You can see the fun I had can't you?

Only a year until the next one now...Oceanology 2012.