Hydrography News – August 2020

July 31, 2020

Two significant events have occurred in the Hydrographic industry over the last few months, the first being the award of the 2019 Hydrography Commission Hydrographic Excellence Award to iXblue Pty Ltd for their use of autonomous technology in a large-scale hydrographic survey. It is the first time this technology has been used in the region for a hydrographic survey of this size. On behalf of the Commission I congratulate iXblue for this thoroughly deserved award.

The second event is the commencement of the Australian Hydrographic Office HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP). The program forms a partnership between the Commonwealth Government, through the Australian Hydrographic Office, and industry to deliver on Australia’s national charting responsibility. The seven Panelists from Australia and New Zealand were announced earlier this year and field work is currently underway, with five of the panelists already awarded work under the program.

The Hydrography Commission recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Australasian Hydrographic Society. The signing of this MoU allows the two bodies to cooperate in a number of ways which will yield significant benefits to the hydrographic profession. Although these two bodies represent different aspects of the industry, I believe it is important for them to work collaboratively for the benefit of our relatively small industry. I encourage current industry professionals and anyone with an interest in hydrography to become involved with either or both organisations.

The Hydrographic industry has an exciting future ahead with the HIPP now in operation. This will promote best practice and foster innovation, in particular with remote technology not only with autonomous vessels, but also in remote processing and cloud storage of large datasets. These technological advancements also fit well with the current and future “normal” where travel and personal interaction necessitate a rethink of how we conduct business in an industry that is synonymous with travel, working and living together in close proximity.

Hydrographic Excellece Award 2019

The Hydrography Commission (HC) Hydrographic Excellence (HE) Award recognises those individuals or teams working in the field of hydrography across the various hydrographic disciplines, who have made an outstanding contribution to the science of hydrography and industry best practice.

The 2019 award is presented to iXblue Pty Ltd for its hydrographic survey in the Kingdom of Tonga (2018). This survey saw the first large scale use of an unmanned Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV) for nautical charting purposes in the region.  iXblue implemented vessel and operation processes to the satisfaction of the NZ and Tongan maritime authorities and produced a hydrographic dataset accepted for charting action by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).  Their work demonstrated excellence at the forefront of the industry, their success paving the way for the wider hydrographic industry to embrace autonomous solutions in the future.

The Hydrography Commission will look to identify an event to formally present iXblue with its award, but would like to publicly congratulate iXblue in this digital environment which is becoming more of the norm. 

The Commission would also like to encourage the industry to identify similar feats of excellence that would be worthy of nomination for the 2020 Hydrographic Excellence Award; details of the award can be found here.

We would like to warmly welcome the following new members to SSSI and the Hydrography Commission!  
  • Christopher Bell (Queensland)
  • Ezekiel David (International)
  • Tsin Hao Justin Shiu (WA)

Hydro-bite News

Birthday party and quest for wifi revealed in lead up to Wakashio grounding off Mauritius

Click here for the article.

Limitation of liability: Who is an ‘Operator’ and who is a ‘Manager’ – Stema Barge II [2020] EHWC 1294


This article, written by Ian Teare and Matthew Dow of Law Firm, Wikborg Rein, discusses the judgment handed down in the Admiralty Court on the case of the Stema Barge II, and looks in detail at the scope and meaning on the Limitation Convention 1976. In determining the meaning of ‘Operator’, it was necessary for the Court to also examine the meaning of ‘Manager’. This is the first time that the English Court has been called upon to consider this issue which it did in some detail.

Click here for the article.

Thanks to Peter Barr for the provision of these articles.

RESON SeaBat F30 sonar

Understanding the most unique sonar from Teledyne Marine

The RESON SeaBat F30 sonar, is a unique and highly capable sonar that provides simultaneous 3D Forward Looking Bathymetry and 2D Imaging optimised for Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle (UUV) platforms. The unique features of the sonar include:

  • 200kHz forward looking bathymetry (3D mode)
  • 635kHz high resolution 2D imaging
  • Switching between forward looking and imaging modes

The RESON SeaBat F30 sonar provides a unique combination of forward-looking bathymetry and high-resolution imaging enabling resolution to discriminate objects at long ranges for obstacle avoidance. The unique forward-looking seabed bathymetry enables UUV navigation on the fly and provides a unique quality gap-fill to a sides can sensor suite. Co-registrations of imagery (alternating) and bathymetry allows precise relocation of imagery after a mission.

The sonar has recently been ported to the latest Reson platform – the T-Series platform – making it robust and cost-effective technology that is non-ITAR. This provides new acoustic arrays and electronics technology. The footprint of the receiver is reduced to almost half and the depth rating has been increased from 3000m to 6000m. The T-series processing provides improved imaging and a faster switch between forward looking bathymetry and 2D imaging.

The 635kHz high resolution 2D imaging provides 512 beams with a 0.6-degree centre beam width. The result is clean images due to low side lobe levels.

The 200kHz forward looking sonar is an interferometric processing sonar with 112 beams that provides bathymetric data ahead of an underwater vehicle. The sonar is not intended as a hydrographic sonar as it is not the primary application, the primary application is forward looking bathymetry for UUV navigation.

Advanced users can access the 66,000 samples per second as a platform to develop applications using the Teledyne SeaBat 7K PDS format.

A standard US football field is shown for scale on the 200kHz forward looking bathymetry that is obtained at the same time as the 635kHz high resolution 2D image

For 200kHz 3D mode the phase difference between arrays provides an elevation angle for every sample

Sand waves on the seabed provide a good indication of the quality of data collected from a surface vessel

Read More

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


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