Hydrography News – April 2021

April 16, 2021

The SSSI Hydrographic Commission Committee would like to extend a warm welcome to new and reinstated members to SSSI and the Hydrography Commission.

  • Pinnagoda Vithanage Tharanga, International Member
  • Matthew Carver, WA 
  • Samuel Houston, VIC 
  • Olaoluwa Oderinde, International Student
  • Maria Herrera Sanchez, SA 
  • Chung Mak, WA 

HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP) Update

The Hydroscheme Industry Partnership Project (HIPP) is progressing at a prodigious rate, and the benefits of working with Australian industry are becoming apparent.  The program has moved out of its first round of hydrographic Surveys and is maturing as our partnership with industry strengthens.

HIPP together with EGS Survey Pty Ltd will shortly embark on a 3 year program of oceanographic observations at key locations in the Torres Strait in order to better understand the complex interactions of weather and oceanography in this key area of maritime activity.  The 3 year program was designed to allow us the depth and volume of data to allow an accurate analysis to be conducted.  This marks a longer term view to data collection and is a visible sign of the HIPPs commitment to monitoring and understanding our maritime domain.

Image:  Specialist oceanographic buoys being prepared for a dedicated 3 year study of oceanographic conditions in the Torres Strait (Picture courtesy of EGS Survey Pty Ltd)

The HIPP program was envisaged with growth and development in mind and to encompass all forms of maritime data collection and processing in order to support the overall aim of making the waters around Australia safer.  Thus far we have seen surveys delivered from all around Australia producing high quality bathymetric data to support navigation, safety of life at sea and the charting of Australia’s many coastal features, islands and reefs.

Image: Holbourne Island in the Whitsunday Group.  Bathymetric data fused with Satellite Imagery (Picture courtesy of iXblue Survey Pty Ltd)

It’s not just bathymetric data, the below image shows the seabed texture of the seafloor near Broome.  This data is a fusion of sonar backscatter showing areas of differing sonar intensity populated by physical seabed sampling to allow an accurate representation of the seafloor to be developed.  

Image:  Seabed Texture Sheet (Courtesy of EGS Survey Pty Ltd)

The HIPP is a continuous cycle of work, and is stepping up to provide ever more geospatial data to support Australian mariners.  The first round of surveys (Darwin, Broome and Cairns) have been accepted for charting action and we are expecting delivery of more data from our industry partners for areas off: Newcastle NSW, Torres Strait QLD, Gulf St Vincent SA, Hydrographers Passage, QLD and Mavis Reef WA.

In addition we also have hydrographic surveys underway in the Torres Strait, Backstairs Passage SA, as well as King Island and Banks Strait, TAS. 

Anyone curious about the HIPP can find more information regarding the proposed HIPP activities on the Australian Hydrographic Office website. The HIPP story maps show the current areas of interest and depict their progress.

Drafted by:  I Jackson
Approved by:  A Coulls

MARTAC Unmanned Surface Vessels and CARIS Collect Software

Understanding our world - under water

BlueZone group works with businesses as well as in the defence market to provide complete solutions for hydrographic surveying. The innovative MANTAS vessels from Marine Tactical Systems Inc (MARTAC) are unmanned surface and hybrid vessels equipped with the robust TASKER command and control system. They are capable of high speed, have excellent range and use solar panels for extended endurance, but also allow high precision loitering and station keeping, have fully autonomous, semi-autonomous and full operator control modes and are sensor and communications agnostic. Being unmanned, they can collect large amounts of data enabling the surveyor to use their time and expertise to analyse and interpret the information.

The MANTAS USV vessel is a catamaran hull design based on a powerboat racing vessel that set world speed records.  This catamaran design is stable at both high and low speeds and in challenging water environments. The stability comes from the hull which provides for continuous laminar flow forward to aft as the vessel moves through the water. This laminar flow means that instruments such as Multi-Beam Echo Sounders can be mounted very close to the hull and still achieve good data at 8 to 10 knots speed through water.

USV technology has advanced and so has the software that is used in conjunction with it. In partnership with Teledyne Marine, Teledyne CARIS has leveraged years of leadership in the marine survey market to create CARIS Collect, a modern and easy to use software package for data acquisition as part of Onboard360. The software is designed with an intuitive user experience for ease of integration and simple user adaption, minimising the effort required to implement new software and gives potential for significant reductions in ship to shore turnaround times.

At BlueZone we work to understand our client’s needs and help them combine innovative robotic and autonomous technology like the MANTAS, with advanced software solutions like CARIS Collect, to provide a complete solution capability. It is essential that business, government, and individuals work together to ensure the future of our oceans.

The MARTAC MANTAS USV is designed using powerboat racing hull forms providing laminar flow for the majority of the boat length which minimises turbulence for instruments. 


A fresh interface for creating and managing projects and vessels in CARIS Collect allows for quick and easy setup of your marine survey. With an intuitive user experience, CARIS Collect is easy to integrate into your operations and allows new operators to get up to speed quickly

S-5B Hydrographic Surveyors Course in Australasia.

IIC Technologies and Deakin University have announced that they will run an S-5 Category B Hydrographic Surveyors program starting online in September 2021. This course is designed for those with the desire to start or build a career in Hydrography and is recognized by the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC).

This S-5B program will be delivered as a combination of remote learning and onsite practicals, ensuring students have all the knowledge and experience they will require. This is the only S-5B endorsed by the IBSC to maximise distance learning, this allows greater flexibility for students to balance the training around other life commitments, reduces costs, and minimises the potential impact of COVID. To make this course accessible to students in Australasia, it is intended that the delivery of the practical portion of the programme be conducted at Deakins facilities in Warrnambool, Victoria, commencing April 2022.

This is the first time that an S-5B course has been offered to the public in Australasia. 

World Hydrography Day Seminar 2021

Save the date for the 2021 World Hydrography Day Seminar! Details below for the in-person event:

When: Friday 18 June 2021, 9:00am to 4:00pm
Where: City Beach (Function Centre), Wollongong NSW 2500
CPD: 7 - SSSI Hydrography Commission Sustaining Partner (Clause 3.12)
Cost:  SSSI Members $100, Non-Members $150, Students $50.

View the flyer here.

Hydrography Commission Mentoring Program

The new Hydrography Commission Mentoring Program will commence on 1 July 2021. Don't miss this valuable opportunity for both mentors and mentees. Read more about the mentoring program below:

The aim of this program is to encourage the development of young professional hydrographic surveyors by connecting them with certified Level 1 and Level 2 hydrographic surveyors, with a focus on working towards certification and networking with other professionals. 

The broad aim of the mentoring program is to encourage young professional hydrographic surveyors to work towards certification, be involved in the industry and the Hydrography Commission, and network with other professionals who they may not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with.

More specifically, the program will ensure that Mentees working towards certification have identified knowledge gaps prior to the Panel assessing their application. The Mentor will provide guidance on how best to remediate these gaps.


Mentors will have the opportunity to claim CPD points for being involved in the program along with being part of fostering the next generation of hydrographic surveyors. Mentors will be presented an information session on up-to-date information on certification requirements prior to the program starting.


Mentees can find appropriate guidance for their pathway to Hydrographic certification along with networking opportunities with professionals who are already employed in the industry.

You can find more information about this program on the SSSI Hydrography Commission webpage and register your interest in becoming a mentor or a mentee. 

We look forward to welcoming you to the program! 

Hydro-bite News
NOAA begins transition exclusively to electronic navigation charts (pdf)

The transition to electronic charts is well underway in most Hydrographic Offices around the world. A developing outcome of this is that several charting agencies (such as NOAA) are enabling custom chart users to create independent PDF and paper charts or chartlets from this available ENC data. While this must be a concern for those more involved with traditional chart production and their users, it is obviously a benefit for some. Despite the constraints of copyright etc, the data is removed from respective HO control to the end user. Exactly what this looks like is not clearly known. First aspect that comes to mind is how are revisions made to the sequestered data set?


MPV Everest (6 April 2021)

The recent engine room fire onboard MPV Everest (6 April 2021) is a stark reminder of the need for all seagoing hydrographic personnel to be mindful of their responsibilities during a fire drill or event onboard.  Fortunately they are rare though just as common in new vessel’s as in old. The article link also has some great photography of the “Everest” whilst in the Antarctic.


Thanks to Peter Barr for sharing the articles.

If you have any comments or queries please email the Hydro Commission secretariat suling.meimaris@sssi.org.au 


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