SSSI Hydrography Commission News – June 2019

May 31, 2019

Don Wallace Memorial Lecture


It was a lively afternoon at the Australian Hydrography Office where Commission & fellow SSSI members were joined by AHO staff and members of the Permanent Committee on Tides and Mean Sea Level (PCTMSL) and Ports Australia Hydrographic Surveyors Working Group (PA HSWG) meetings. Speakers, pictured with HCNC Commission Chair (now retired from this role) Richard Cullen, Wendy Stewart, Andrew Coulls, Zarina Jayaswal and Mike Prince who gave the Don Wallace Memorial Lecture.

Thanks again to AHO for use of the fab new auditorium!

The Don Wallace Memorial Lecture, held annually, was first held in 2003 following the instigation of the Permanent Committee on Tides and Mean Sea Level who deemed it would be worth having guest speakers to give formal presentations on matters of interest to the group as part of a formal gathering. The Committee determined upon naming the Lecture after Don Wallace, with the family's consent, in recognition of Don's significant contribution to PCTMSL activities since the group's inception and the groundbreaking tidal measurement/research work he carried out in WA. This year's lecture, given by Mike Prince, on the "Future of BENC and paper charts in port areas" was a fitting tribute to Don, generating much discussion and invoking the kind of thought leadership that would have made him extremely chuffed.

For anyone who missed the presentations please email .



The Hydrography Commission and the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel recently held a joint planning meeting to discuss all matters hydrographic!

The current guidelines were given an intensive review and more details – once verified from around Australia – across the Tasman plus further afield – will be made available.

We thank all for taking the time to devote to this important meeting and it was wonderful to have our NZ counterparts represented through Maurice Perwick. The hardworking team is pictured below in Gosford on the Central Coast.

This was also Richard Cullen's final meeting as HCNC Chair, a role which he has truly made his own and executed with both keen insight and aplomb.

Thank you Richard for your service and we know that you will continue to be integrally involved with the Commission and hydrography both nationally & globally!


The Commission is looking at a number of initiatives in the months ahead, including launching the Hydrographic Excellence Award for 2019, as well as strengthening partnerships with stakeholders including other associations in the space. We forward to the participation and input of all members & supporters.


CondOlences to the Halls Family

It is with great sadness that we advise of the passing of Ian Halls. Ian recently rejoined SSSI as the NSW national liaison representative and was actively involved in planning NSW's World Hydrography Day Celebration prior to his sudden passing from a heart attack. Ian brought a wealth of expertise plus passion to whatever role he was engaged in and was always willing to encourage others in the pursuit of hydrographic excellence.  The Comission expresses our deepest sympathies to his wife Robyn, daughters Alice, Laura and Heather along with his extended family.


National Hydrography Commission Chair Needed

The Commission is still looking for a Chair. If you are an AHSCP Level 1 Hydrographic Surveyor, a SSSI Member and are looking to make positive changes in the industry and professional practice, then perhaps this is your time! Please send a National Hydrography Commission Committee nomination form to and become an influencer in your profession.


SSSI Summary of AusSeabed Workshop

AusSeabed is a national seabed mapping coordination program aiming to serve the Australian community relying on seabed data by coordinating collection efforts in Australian waters and improving data access. Information and data can be accessed via the AusSeabed website –

The initiative is supported by Commonwealth, State and Territory entities, academia and industry, and is governed by a steering committee and relies on the enthusiasm and commitment of all interested parties to progress ideas and projects. AusSeaBed focuses on three main program themes:

· The Data Hub aims to sharing and dissemination of seabed data, including bathymetric and backscatter data;

· Outreach, education, and training aims to provide a consistent message across Australia and internationally regarding the benefits of the AusSeabed initiative to the community; and

· Tools, guidelines and standards aims to develop community-ready resources that enhance the quality, consistency, and ease of seabed data acquisition and processing. .

A Data Standards Workshop was conducted on the 21-22 May to aid in the development of the processing pipeline and data storage requirements for the Data Hub. The workshop was well attended with over 30 representatives from all sectors of the community with a number of breakout groups organised to discuss various ideas.

The workshop had a number of main outcomes including defining an agreed vision for the data hub and its data formats and storage options. The preliminary version of the data hub vision is ‘A centralised server with links to data contributors that is governed by the data providers and owned by the community, and which delivers a standards suite of open source products and tools’. It was discussed that the hub would be developed as a distributed system to start with, but with the likelihood of being centralised in the long-term, which will depend on many factors, such as governance, funding, technology advancement, etc.

In terms of formats and storage options, it was agreed that the Data Hub should:

1. support all data levels from raw data formats to cleaned products, such as CUBE gridded products.

2. support open source formats (e.g. GSF, XTF, BAG), including where the datagram was publically available (e.g. *.all, 7k).

3. adopt an 80:20 rule for its initial release, i.e. it would be able to support 80% of current data formats.

4. adopt the ISO 19115 (v3) metadata standard the AHO extended fields as the minimum set of attributes.

A robust discussion was had about product delivery, which still need to be refined and fully agreed. The main product expected to be delivered would be a gridded format (i.e. NETCDF) that would support both non-expert end users and expert users, who would use the product as starting point to understand the available data. This product would be a simple grid created from the compilation of all data within the region of interest and accompanied by simple statistics such as mean, minimum value, maximum value, count and range. The more advanced processing pathway would contain a number of modifier APIs that could be chained and configured as required by the expert users. For the novice users, the APIs would contain default values and a number of use cases that would provide guidance on how to correctly chain these API’s to produce the desired trusted product. This pathway would allow the system to be upgradable and remain flexible for future advances in the field. To support this processing pathway, it was agreed that in-depth requirements needed to be listed before the AusSeabed group started looking for or developing tools.

The AusSeabed community will hold its annual open workshop on 12 July in Fremantle during the Australian Marine Science Association Conference. This full-day workshop will be preceded on 11 July by a full day Seabed mapping symposium. The symposium and workshop are OPEN to ALL and promise to be of great value for anyone (any sector and any expertise level) interested in the seabed. Join us by registering via the AMSA19 website. Note that SSSI CPD points will be granted for attendees.

Figure 1 Left to right: Shereen Sharma, Fugro; David Crossman, IIC; Wendy Stewart, AHO; David Watts, CSIRO; Paul Kennedy, Guardian Geomatics; Simon Harries, AIMS; Mark Case, AIMS; Stuart Edwards, CSIRO; Kim Picard, Geoscience Australia (GA); Brad Cooper, LINZ; Daniel Ierodiaconou, Deakin University; Geoff Lawes, IXBlue; Matt Boyd, CSIRO; Peter Locke, IXBlue; Guillaume Galibert, AODN; Kevin Mackay, NIWA; Neil Hewitt, Precision Hydrographic; Simon Oliver, GA; Maggie Tran, GA, Nicholas Dando, GA; Wenjun Wu, GA; Owen Cantrill, Maritime Safety Qld;; Michele Spinoccia, GA; Tim Ingleton, Office of Environment Heritage NSW; Justy Siwabessy, GA; Magnus Wettle, EOMAP; Anna Meissner, LINZ; Ralph Talbot-Smith, WA Department of Transport; Aero Leplastrier, GA; Natalia Lennard, GA.  Note that Wendy, Paul, Neil and Owen are also all current HCNC members.

Purpose of World Hydrography Day

In 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) adopted Resolution A/60/30 on oceans and law of the sea, which in particular welcomed the adoption by the IHO of the World Hydrography Day, with the aim of giving suitable publicity to its work at all levels and of increasing the coverage of hydrographic information on a global basis. The Resolution urged all States to work with the IHO to promote safe navigation, especially in the areas of international navigation, ports and vulnerable or protected marine areas. As a result, on 21 June each year the IHO celebrates World Hydrography Day. World Hydrography Day is an opportunity to increase public awareness of the vital role that hydrography plays in everyone’s lives. The theme for World Hydrography Day 2019 is “Hydrographic information driving marine knowledge”.

Details of the World Hydrography Day Dinner, to be held as a tribute to the late Ian Halls, will be forwarded to all members shortly, so please keep the evening of 21 June free.


Well it's that time of year again when members need to ensure that they have submitted all their CPD activities for the year. It is important to note that SSSI events do not get entered automatically and each member is responsible for submitting their activities.

Did you know that courses run by software/hardware manufacturers are not deemed formal training unless the organisation is an RTO? Why not encourage them to become sustaining partners so that you can access CPD points for their events? The Hydrography commission has a list of tips for CPD which can be found here.

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



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