Hydrographic surveys improve with faster data handling and better positioning

Paul Boughton

Hydrographic surveys can now handle large multibeam sonar datasets even faster and make use of improved georeferencing and motion control technology. Sean Ottewell explains.

CARIS, a leading marine geospatial software supplier, has released a 64-bit version of its comprehensive hydrographic processing software HIPS and SIPS.

HIPS and SIPS 7.1 with 64-bit support will provide users who have access to a 64-bit computer the ability to handle large multibeam sonar datasets even faster. This will provide organisations with significant timesavings, which is crucial for marine surveying organisations that wish to make efficiencies.

In-house tests revealed that the CUBE surface creation and Merge processes are now 15-30 per cent faster respectively. The 64-bit technology also allows access to larger banks of RAM increasing the ability to multi-task while processing.

HIPS and SIPS supports more than  40 sonar and LiDAR formats, allowing it to process data from virtually any system configuration. The software also includes the latest seafloor classification tools and workflows, allowing the optimum amount of information to be extracted from organisations’ seafloor measurements.

Corey Collins, HIPS and SIPS product manager, enthuses about what the latest release means to CARIS’ clients: “With this release of HIPS and SIPS we have listened carefully to what our clients have requested. They are telling the team here that support for 64-bit processing power is becoming a priority due to the increasing size of their sonar data. They are telling us that they want the most stable hydrographic processing application available on the market. We are happy that we are able to deliver on these priorities with the release of HIPS and SIPS 7.1.”

A new licence string will be required to make use of the new 7.1 features. Each of the individual licences are unique and will only work with the corresponding HIPS and SIPS 7.1 software, as well as earlier versions.

In another development, MMT and NetSurvey have merged after six years of cooperation on various hydrographic survey assignments.

The goal is to benefit from synergy effects and to jointly provide high-resolution surveys. NetSurvey will bring strong technical capabilities in the field of multibeam expertise to the MMT Group, which recently acquired all shares in NetSurvey, Banbury, UK. Both companies operate at the cutting edge of technology and deliver high-quality, client-focused products to the world’s energy companies, hydrographic offices, environmental agencies and government departments.

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Ola Oskarsson, MMT’s md, said, “NetSurvey has a unique concept for the processing of depth data and 3D modeling that complement MMTs activities and thanks to the acquisition creates a leading and even stronger orthern European player in the marine industry, ”

Commenting on the merger Duncan Mallace, NetSurvey’s md, added: “We have been working closely and enjoyably together for the last six years and by combining our assets and skills we can lead the industry in all of our market sectors delivering innovative products that our clients are asking for but no-one is delivering. This merger immediately places NetSurvey as one of the leading survey companies in the UK.”

Business refocus

Admiralty Holdings, a wholly-controlled subsidiary of the UK Hydrographic Office, is considering disposing of all the equity shareholding of Admiralty Deutschland (ADG), its Hamburg-based marine navigation products and services provider.

ADG comprises two complementary businesses: SevenCs, an established provider of software and services to the maritime navigation industry for both civil and military applications; and ChartWorld, a provider of navigational digital data subscription services with an established and growing customer base and an almost unique set of industry approvals and data licensing agreements.

In order to concentrate on its core business, AHL is seeking to divest ADG to a highly focused, innovative organisation which can further develop the business and realise its exciting potential SevenCs has developed a range of systems and services for the maritime navigation industry. It produces a kernel for presenting nautical chart information and associated data products on a range of proprietary ECDIS, WECDIS and other applications.

In addition, SevenCs has developed a range of ENC production tools used by hydrographic offices, port authorities and inland waterway authorities around the world. ChartWorld is a growing business specialising in the resale of digital maritime data and data services for the professional mariner.

Fugro has been awarded a €3.1m hydrographic survey contract by the Finnish and Swedish Hydrographic Offices for a 13,000 km2 area taking in shipping routes between Sweden and Finland, in the Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea.

The areas to be surveyed in the summer of 2011 are within the Swedish and Finnish EEZ, but outside of each country’s territorial waters. Results from the survey will be for updating nautical charts and associated navigational information such as HELCOM routes.

Water depths in the project area range from less than ten metres to deeper than 130m. Fugro will use two vessels, both fitted with multi beam echosounders of highest resolution. Survey operations are expected to begin as soon as ice-conditions allow, with an expected completion of acquisition in October 2011.

The project consists of separate contracts with both the Finnish Transport Agency (FTA), and the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA).

Applanix has released POS MV V5 (position and orientation system for marine vessels), the next generation of its industry leading geo-referencing and motion compensation system for hydrographic surveying.

The system is available in three performance levels — POS MV WaveMaster, POS MV 320 and POS MV Elite — to produce an optimal solution for a variety of vessels and conditions.

Version 5 provides the robust and reliable positioning and orientation information for which Applanix products are known, even in the most difficult environments for hydrographic survey applications. The latest version expands the performance of POS MV with a number of key new features including: full GNSS support, increasing solution robustness by using all available GPS and GLONASS satellites; improved real-time kinematic (RTK) performance over long baselines using the most advanced Trimble algorithms - giving reliable, centimetric positioning over a wider area and an attendant increase in productivity; and a removable USB media slot, providing convenient, portable and robust logging of GNSS and inertial observables for processing in POSPac MMS.

“With the introduction of POS MV V5, we have further expanded the limits of the operating environments in which Applanix technology can excel,” commented Peter Stewart, product manager at Applanix. “Whether you operate in a busy port, or in the most remote offshore areas, the new features of POS MV V5 ensure we continue to provide the most accurate, reliable and robust position and orientation solution for hydrographic survey applications.”

The latest addition to the Bibby Maritime fleet, Bibby Tethra, has been blessed at an official naming ceremony at Socarénam shipyard, Boulogne-Sur-Mer in France.

Named after a Celtic mythological creature, the hydrographic survey vessel is 27.5metres long and 10m wide, and is equipped for a team of 16 personnel with eight cabins, lounge and fully equipped kitchen.

The Catamaran will be chartered by Osiris Projects, one of the UK’s leaders in coastal seabed mapping and geophysical surveys (Fig. 1). Established in 1997, the company has conducted over 350 marine based contracts throughout the UK and northern Europe, playing a large part in the UK’s offshore wind farm, tidal power and wave energy developments over recent years.

Multi-disciplinary projects

Text: IMAR Survey, part of Gardline Marine Scineces, is an Irish company and a market leader in providing hydrographic, geophysical, environmental, oceanographic, geotechnical and topographic surveys, positioning services and other related marine and land studies, surveys and services.

The company provides services from small one-off to large multi-disciplinary projects on a worldwide basis and has recently relocated to larger office premises in County Galway on the west of Ireland to facilitate future growth, especially in providing services to the offshore renewable energy market.

Now IMAR Survey has been contracted by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) to design and build a purpose built catamaran survey vessel and equip it with state of the art surveying instruments for operations in shallow waters around the coast of Ireland.

The 15m fully equipped and state of the art hydrographic and geophysical launch will be used to deliver survey data that will meet all required international survey specifications. The survey equipment includes a multi-beam echo sounder for imaging the seabed, GPS navigation, side-scan sonar, seabed profiler and automatic identification system.

Fig 1. The Bibby Tethra has been chartered by one of the UK’s leading seabed mapping and geophysical companies.

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