SSSI Hydrography Commission News – March 2020

February 29, 2020
AHSCP Major Review of Guidelines

A major revision of the AHSCP Guidelines and supporting documentation have been undertaken and published as version 2.4 dated 29 Feb 2020, these guidelines are now in force.  The revised documents fully reflect the adoption of the IHO S-5A and S-5B standards, and contain transition arrangements for those who have commenced logbooks and are seeking certification under the older S-5 11th Edition standards.    Revised definitions of “Sea Time”, “Allied Degrees” and “In Charge time” are also provided.   In addition a new Appendix G – Applicant Qualification Mapping Tool, has been provided which applicants without an IBSC Cat A or Cat B qualification are required to submit to map their qualifications to the Cat A or Cat B syllabus in order to support their submission.

For details of the revised guidelines, including forms that now apply, click here

Don Wallace Memorial Lecture & Seminar - VIC

The Don Wallace Memorial Lecture and Seminar Series afternoon will be held on Tuesday March 10, from 2.00pm to 5.00pm at the Port of Melbourne Education Centre.

For further details, including the program, please click here. Registration closes 5pm Thursday 5 March.

To express interest in dinner at the Boatbuilders Yard, after networking drinks, please contact Andrew Ternes.

Thanks to our sponsors Precision Hydrographic Services and Port of Melbourne for your support!

Wollongong Geospatial Discussion Group Meeting

Thanks to Ian Jackson the first meeting of this Geospatial Discussion Group will be held on the evening of Tuesday, 10th March, 2020 from 1800 in the Lobby Bar of the Novotel Northbeach Wollongong.

The group will discuss speakers and topics of interest and everybody is welcome.

For further information email: 

FIG - Mapping the Plastic

This text is based on an article published in GeoConnexion Magazine with acknowledgments to FIG.

By Simon Ironside, Chair of FIG Commission Working Group 4.3

The effects of plastic pollution on the Earth’s oceans are well documented, potentially catastrophic and increasing exponentially year on year. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has calculated that only nine per cent of the nine billion tonnes of plastic produced throughout the world has been re-cycled and each year more than 8 million tonnes of plastic come to reside in our oceans. Eighty per cent of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic. This is an intolerable problem that needs immediate and far-reaching action to remedy. Eric Solheim, Head of UN Environment, speaking at the launch of the #CleanSeas campaign argued that it was past time to tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. ‘We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse’ he said, ‘it must stop’.

The surveying profession agrees. The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) represents the interests of surveyors in over 120 countries. Through a combined initiative of FIG Young Surveyors Network and Commission 4 (Hydrography), FIG has formed a Working Group (WG 4.3)on Mapping the Plastic to better understand plastic pollution in waterways by providing accurate and reliable information of the magnitude of the problem at source, thereby highlighting unsustainable practices, identifying infrastructure shortcomings and informing robust land use controls with the ultimate goal of eradicating the dumping plastic waste into rivers.p>

Rivers have been identified as a significant contributor to, and enabler of, the plastic pollution problem affecting our oceans. UNEP estimates that just ten major river systems carry more than 80% of the plastic waste that ends up in the Earth’s oceans. Much of the available information relating to the scale of the plastic pollution problem is based on relatively crude modelling. Plastic litter is predominantly concentrated on banks, coastal beaches and in the upper limits of surface water bodies. The lack of a means of comprehensive analysis of the spatial and temporal extent and quantum of plastic waste at a specific site, or on a regional or global level and the tools for ongoing monitoring represents a significant obstacle to addressing and eradicating the plastic waste ‘explosion’.

Click for bigger format

As surveyors and spatial professionals, we have the requisite skills and expertise to determine the vectors, quantum and frequency of plastic passing through waterways and to accurately quantify the amount and type of plastic litter on riverbanks, coastlines and estuarine areas. Our response to this problem is to provide accurate and repeatable data at specific locations to assist regulators and better inform land use control decisions.

Our Response To The Problem

Remote sensing data from satellites and airborne platforms available in different spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions has the potential to be a reliable source of long-term qualitative and quantitative information over large geographic areas. Research by members of the Mapping the Plastic working group at universities in Bosnia and Hezegovina and Serbia are currently underway to distinguish plastics from surrounding litter/debris classes using remote sensing techniques and the results are very promising.

Assessment of the spatial extent and variability of plastic is possible due to the unique spectral signature of polymers in the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum and we are looking at defining the data acquisition technology and identification methodology that will enable identification of plastic debris down to 1 cm2 in size.

An object-pixel based algorithm for mapping plastic distribution in surface (fresh) water using Red, Green Blue (RGB) and Multi Spectral (MS) images from high resolution WorldView2 satellite images has been developed and is described in the paper "Remote sensing data in mapping plastics at surface water bodies" written by Gordana Jakovljević, Prof. Miro Govedarica and Flor Álvarez Tabobada, which was published and presented at the 2019 FIG Working Week held in Hanoi, Vietnam in May this year. (Ms Jakovljević and Prof. Govedarica are WG 4.3 members)

The paper describes the creation of algorithms and models for plastic identification and their associated accuracies based on high resolution, 8-band, multi-spectral images from the WorldView-2 satellite of plastic debris in the River Drina in Serbia. This research has subsequently been expanded, focussing on the results from additional study areas in rivers in Bosnia and Hezegovina using a WingtraOne drone with a high resolution (42 mega pixel) RGB camera and a high quality MS camera. Several surveys have been undertaken at differing heights and resolutions using specially designed markers. Work is ongoing to refine the analytical processes and survey methodologies for adoption, and the preliminary results are encouraging. However, this project’s accuracy and application is uniquely challenged by the lack of existing polymer ‘libraries’, as this project is one of the first attempts at identifying plastic in this manner.

How We Do It

A combination of high resolution satellite and drone data has been processed using the developed algorithms to detect floating plastic in surface water, combined with ‘ground truthing’ land surveying measurements, bathymetric and water current data. This data will enable teams of volunteers to accurately map plastic concentrations at global ‘hot spots’ to enable regulators to better understand the extent of the phenomenon they are dealing with and inform decisions that impact the potential solution.

In order to undertake the field work required to infill gaps in the satellite/drone data, Trimble has kindly donated a suite of surveying hardware and software to the Mapping the Plastic working group, consisting of:

  • R10 GNSS receivers
  • A Greenseeker crop sensor
  • Trimble Business Centre
  • eCognition software

On behalf of FIG I would like to express my gratitude to Trimble for their assistance. This equipment will be of enormous benefit and is greatly appreciated.

Negotiations are ongoing to secure a drone to assist with the plastic surveys.

Would you like to be featured here? Email HCNC Communuications - Andrew Ternes

Hydrographic CPD

A big thank you to all who completed your CPD record online or provide a list of CPD events annually or quarterly for update purposes.  Hydrographic CPD, via SSSI, is your certification pathway and is a necessity for initial as well as ongoing registration.

If you or your organisation would like to verify that an event is eligible or can have CPD applied to it please contact us via: and .

If you have any comments or queries please email the Hydro Commission secretariat via:


Back to News List