NOAA announces open house on nautical cartography   Leave a comment

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is pleased to announce its first one-day open house in conjunction with the International Cartographic Conference (held this year in Washington, DC, at Marriott Wardman Park). This one-day event will focus on nautical cartography, highlighting the field of charting and GIS. It will offer nautical cartography-themed posters, presentations, tours, and exhibits. Participants will include industry partners, government agencies, and charting offices from around the world. This event is open to the public.

The four main themes for this year’s open house include: From Hydrography to Cartography, Nautical Products, Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure and Databases, and Innovative Cartography.

 Date: Friday, July 7, 2017

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Location: NOAA’s Science Center (1301 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910)

Registration: Send your name and organization to to expedite entry into the NOAA building.

For further details about the open house, please click here.

Posted May 15, 2017 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts

NOAA Ship Rainier surveys the waters around Kodiak Island   Leave a comment


Concentration of automatic identification system (AIS) traffic around Kodiak Island. Green is a low concentration, yellow is medium concentration, red is high concentration. Notice the approaches to Port of Kodiak show high traffic.

by ENS Michelle Levano

Kodiak Island is the 2nd largest island in the United States; it is part of the Kodiak Island Archipelago, a group of islands roughly the size of Connecticut. Due to the island’s location in the Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean, Kodiak is ranked as third in commercial fishing ports in the U.S. in terms of value of seafood landed. In 2015, the Port of Kodiak was responsible for 514 million pounds of fish and $138 million of product. More than one-third of the jobs in Kodiak are related to the fishing industry.

The Port of Kodiak is home to more than 700 commercial fishing vessels, and has more than 650 boat slips and three commercial piers that can dock vessels up to 1,000 feet. In addition to fishing, Kodiak is the hub of the Gulf of Alaska container logistics system, serving the southwest Alaskan communities with consumer goods and outbound access to the world’s fish markets.

In order to access all the Port of Kodiak has to offer, vessels must first travel through Chiniak Bay, which was last surveyed as far back as 1933 via wire drag (see details in the Descriptive Report for the Wire Drag survey of Women’s Bay and St. Paul Harbor).

Today, we are going over the same areas and surveying them utilizing multibeam echo sounders to collect bathymetric soundings that measure the depth of the seafloor.

This year, Rainier is surveying the approaches to Chiniak Bay, covering the following areas: South of Spruce Island, Long Island, Middle Bay, Kalsin Bay, Isthmus Bay, Cape Chiniak, and offshore of Cape Chiniak.

Since arriving on project, Rainier has been busy surveying these areas, confirming what has already been charted, updating with more accurate depths, and finding some new features for the charts along the way!  So far Rainier has patch-tested her launches to ensure survey accuracy, started work on Long Island and Kalsin Bay surveys, and established a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) base station to gain a higher positioning accuracy.

Rainier will continue to survey this area of Kodiak until mid-June. Check back on the Coast Survey blog for more status updates. Interested in visiting the ship? Rainier‘s crew will be offering tours on May 27, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and May 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the city pier in downtown Kodiak.

Please contact NOAA Ship Rainier’s public relations officer at for more information.


Rainier‘s bathymetric survey coverage since March 29, 2017. The multicolored areas show where Rainer surveyed using multibeam bathymetry. The blue dashed areas show where Rainier intends to survey this year.

Coast Survey hurricane prep starts now   Leave a comment

Official hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1, but Coast Survey’s navigation managers are heavily involved throughout April and May in training exercises with the U.S. Coast Guard, ports authorities and NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Why is Coast Survey involved? With our expertise in underwater detection, NOAA navigation response teams and survey ships are often the first ones in the water after a hurricane, looking to make sure that no hidden debris or shoaling poses a danger to navigation. The faster we can advise “all clear” to the Captain of the Port, the faster the U.S. Coast Guard can re-open sea lanes for the resumption of shipping or homeland security and defense operations. So our East Coast and Gulf Coast navigation managers – who are NOAA’s “ambassadors” to the maritime public – engage with response partners during hurricane exercises. Their reports of NOAA survey capabilities and assets are an important factor in testing federal response options.

Port of Morgan City planning

Ports along our Atlantic and Gulf coasts hold planning meetings, like this one at Port of Morgan City last year, to prepare for hurricane response. Photo credit: Tim Osborn


Tim Osborn, the navigation manager for the east Gulf Coast, has been organizing hurricane response for 15 years – since Hurricane Lilli in 2002 – and he brings NOAA priorities to the table.

“Ports and waterways are huge parts of our nation’s economy,” Tim says. “Our core mission at NOAA is to safeguard them and work – literally at ‘ground zero’ – to respond and reopen these very large complexes and job bases as quickly and safely as possible.”

Alan Bunn and NRT - Hurricane Isaac

Navigation manager Alan Bunn advises one of NOAA’s navigation response teams as they prepare to respond to Port Fourchon after Hurricane Isaac. Photo credit: Tim Osborn


Coast Survey navigation managers are planning to participate in hurricane exercises in Hampton Roads (Virginia), Charleston (South Carolina), Savannah (Georgia), Jacksonville (Florida), and in port locations all along the Gulf Coast. Additionally, a joint hurricane task force meeting, organized by the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association and USCG District 7 office in New Orleans, will include pilots, federal agencies, port authorities, and the navigation community from Panama City (Florida) to south Texas. Plans are also in the works to engage with Puerto Rico and American Virgin Islands hurricane response teams.

“We are fast approaching another hurricane season,” said Roger Erickson, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “We have now gone five years in Louisiana and nine years in Texas without a land-falling hurricane, but there is always work to be done to keep our communities prepared.”

The people along the Atlantic coast can readily attest to Erickson’s observation. In the five years since Coast Survey navigation managers and survey teams responded to Hurricane Isaac’s fury at Port Fourchon, our men and women have worked to speed the resumption of shipping and other maritime operations along the East Coast after hurricanes Matthew and, of course, Sandy.

Kyle Ward - hurricane Sandy

Navigation manager Kyle Ward briefs U.S. Coast Guard officials on NOAA survey progress in the aftermath of Sandy.


For more information: “Port Recovery in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: Improving Port Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change,” by U.S. Coast Guard Fellow Commander Linda Sturgis, Dr. Tiffany Smythe and Captain Andrew Tucci (USCG), examines how an effective private and public sector collaboration enabled a successful and timely port recovery.

Teaming up with small business to expand hydrographic technology   1 comment

Sandy shoals in certain near shore areas shift continuously and present a danger to navigation. It is logistically impossible to keep nautical charts current using the traditional survey methods when the bottom contours change so rapidly. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey leverages remote sensing data in new ways to derive bathymetry for the purposes of updating nautical charts in dynamic coastal areas. An exciting new method Coast Survey is exploring is X-band radar wave imaging. Marine radar is not a new technology, however, there are advantages to exploring old technology for new purposes. Many NOAA vessels and other coastal installations are already equipped with the hardware to facilitate this type of data acquisition.

Radar wave imaging uses backscattered radar intensity to create remotely sensed images of waves. So how do we derive bathymetry from wave images? The shape and depth of the seafloor—whether rocky or sandy, shoal or deep—influences surface currents, as well as the character and speed of waves, and swell. Radar backscatter processing over time yields a series of coherent images of the wave field. By simply averaging the images of waves over a period, it is possible to depict the general shape of the seafloor bathymetry. Additional processing of the coherent wave-speed images produces derived depths.

To determine the value of using radar as a method for deriving water depths in near shore areas, NOAA teamed up with the Korean Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency (KHOA), Oregon State University, and the private company Areté Associates. NOAA contracts awarded through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program funded Areté Associates for the research and development of X-band radar bathymetery technology. SBIR is a competitive program that enables domestic small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has the potential for commercialization.

NOAA conducted radar bathymetry activities in two locations, the Oregon coast using Oregon State University’s X-band radar installed atop the U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay tower; and Beaufort, North Carolina, using a temporary X-band radar installation at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Fort Macon near the Beaufort Inlet.

To explore the potential for wide-use and commercialization of the radar data, Areté created a real-time cloud service to automatically process regular uploads of nonproprietary radar data to produce raw and time-averaged radar images and movies, bathymetry and uncertainty grids, and water levels. This method presents potential for planning with regional navigation services field teams because they can easily collect radar data and process it in the cloud, eliminating the need for extra software, a technician, or even training requirements. Further, using the cloud service makes subsequent commercialization of the data easier for third-party developers.

The following is a video of time averaged X-band radar of Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. This video is a product of Areté’s cloud-based processing service.  Each frame of the movie represents a 15-minute average of the radar backscatter (or images of waves). Notice the evidence of shoaling just outside the entrance to the inlet. Additional processing of the coherent wave-speed images produces derived depths.


Posted May 4, 2017 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts

NOAA Coast Survey 2017 leadership team   1 comment

NOAA Office of Coast Survey has some new faces on its leadership team this year.

Director, Coast Survey: Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith

ShepardSmith-hsRear Admiral Shepard M. Smith was named director of the NOAA Office of Coast Survey in August 2016. As director, Smith oversees NOAA’s charts and hydrographic surveys, ushering in the next generation of navigational products and services for mariners who need integrated delivery of coastal data. Smith has served with NOAA for 23 years, during which time he has been deeply involved in advancing the state-of-the-art in hydrography and nautical cartography. He most recently served as the commanding officer of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson and previously served as the chief of Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division, managing the privatization of paper chart printing and distribution. He also served on the interagency response teams for the search and recovery of TWA flight 800, EgyptAir flight 990, and the private plane piloted by John F. Kennedy, Jr. He also commanded the Thomas Jefferson during her six-week response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Rear Adm. Smith attended Deep Springs College and Cornell University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and earned a Master of Science in ocean engineering from the University of New Hampshire.

Deputy Director, Coast Survey: Kathryn Ries

Katie RiesKatie Ries has served as deputy director since 2001, co-leading the workforce of 235 employees and managing the day-to-day operations of Coast Survey’s national program. She also serves as a senior adviser to the director in his role as U.S. representative to the International Hydrographic Organization, and works to advance U.S. positions in IHO policy deliberations. From 2003 to 2012, she chaired the IHO’s MesoAmerican Caribbean Hydrographic Commission’s Electronic Chart Committee, where she led the development and execution of regional charting plans in Caribbean and Central America. With the opening of relations with Cuba, she led the development of a formal working relationship with our Cuban counterparts, resulting in a historic Memorandum of Understanding in 2016 to improve maritime navigation safety and related areas of mutual interest in the Florida Straits. Ries began her career in NOAA as a Presidential Management Fellow in the International Affairs office. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Art in international public administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1986.

Deputy Hydrographer (Acting), Coast Survey: Rachel Medley

IMG_0605Rachel Medley is the acting deputy hydrographer in Coast Survey, where she focuses on external engagement and messaging strategies, making connections and identifying opportunities between NOAA navigation services and maritime interests. Rachel has long held the mantra of science with purpose and has spent the last decade gaining expertise in charting, hydrographic surveying, and navigation outreach to better understand and communicate Coast Survey’s science, products, and services. Experiences sailing aboard the USCG Cutter Healy as part of an Arctic survey, surveying the Potomac River aboard a navigation response team, and participating in the NOAA response effort to Deep Water Horizon aboard the NOAA Ship Pisces have helped shape Rachel’s dedication and service to the maritime community. Rachel also represented NOAA while on a secondment to the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office acquiring knowledge of international standards, policies, procedures, market and product management, and corporate communications plans. Rachel attended Mount Holyoke College as an undergrad, holds a Master of Science in geosciences from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master of Science in ocean mapping from the University of New Hampshire.  Rachel also has a Master of Science in project management from George Washington University and a LEAD certificate from the Office of Personnel Management.

Resource Manager, Coast Survey: Kathleen Jamison

kathleenjamisonSince 2012, Kathleen has worked for the Coast Survey’s resource management staff, formulating the President’s Budget narrative submissions and other budget scenarios for different funding levels, developing performance metrics for the annual operating plan, preparing testimony for the director, and helping the office strategically position itself for the changing world of nautical charting and hydrographic surveying. Kathleen started at Coast Survey as a nautical cartographer in 2006 before moving into managing hydrographic survey projects, primarily in the Gulf of Mexico. Kathleen participated in NOAA’s Leadership Competency Development Program from 2014-16, including rotations at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, National Centers for Environmental Information, and National Sea Grant Office.  Prior to Kathleen’s career at NOAA, she worked as a grant writer for a non-profit supporting D.C. Public Charter Schools and as a division assistant for arts education at the National Endowment for the Arts. She received her Bachelor of Art in humanities from University of Maryland and her Master of Science in geographic and cartographic sciences from George Mason University.

NOAA/University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center: Andy Armstrong

andyarmstrongCaptain Andy Armstrong (NOAA, ret.)  is co-director of the NOAA/University of New Hampshire Joint Hydrographic Center where he leads NOAA’s role in the research, mapping, and educational programs of the center. He is also the bathymetric team leader for the U.S. Interagency Extended Continental Shelf Task Project where he has been responsible for mapping nearly 875,000 square nautical miles of the seafloor in the Arctic Ocean, the U.S. Pacific Islands, and along the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific margins.  Andy joined the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps in 1974, following 4 years of service in the U.S. Navy. He retired from the NOAA Corps in 2001, continuing with NOAA as Co-Director of the Joint Hydrographic Center in a civil service capacity.  He has served on several NOAA hydrographic ships and field parties, conducting hydrographic and bathymetric surveys in Alaska and Hawaii, along the Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico coasts, and in the Great Lakes. He served as commanding officer of NOAA Ship Peirce and NOAA Ship Whiting, and as chief of NOAA’s Hydrographic Surveys Division. He has a Bachelor of Science in geology from Tulane University and an Master of Science in technical management from The Johns Hopkins University.

NOAA Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping: Ashley Chappell

AshleyAshley Chappell has served as NOAA’s Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) coordinator since 2012, working across NOAA and with sister mapping agencies on strategies for data acquisition, stewardship, and re-use.  She also represents the National Ocean Service on the NOAA Arctic team and co-chairs the Committee on Marine Transportation System‘s Arctic team.  Prior to IOCM, Ashley supported Coast Survey and NOAA on budget formulation, performance metrics, policy, and legislation.  She started with NOAA as a cartographer, and nautical charting data is her first love.  Ashley’s undergraduate degree in geography came from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (winner of  2017’s NCAA men’s basketball championship, in case you had not heard).  She earned her Master of Science in geographic and cartographic sciences from George Mason University.


Chief of the Hydrographic Surveys Division: Captain Richard Brennan

rickbrennan-hs.jpgCaptain Brennan has served with the NOAA Corps for over 20 years, most recently as the chief of the Coast Survey Development Lab. He has sailed on nearly every hydrographic ship in the modern NOAA fleet. He has conducted surveys throughout U.S. waters, through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to the Gulf of Maine, and from the Oregon coast to Chukchi Cap in the Arctic Ocean. Brennan’s most recent sea assignment was as the commanding officer of the NOAA Ship Rainier, surveying Alaskan waters. Captain Brennan has also served as chief of Coast Survey’s Atlantic Hydrographic Branch and as the mid-Atlantic navigation manager. Earlier, Brennan pursued a Master of Science degree in ocean engineering at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, specializing in ocean mapping, acoustics, and tidal error models. After that, he led the Hydrographic Systems and Technology Program at NOAA, with a focus on transitioning new technology into fleet operations. Captain Brennan graduated from the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He completed the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program in 2013.

Chief of the Coast Survey Development Laboratory: Captain Edward (E.J.) Van Den Ameele

EdwardJVanDenAmeeleCaptain Van Den Ameele has served 23 years in the NOAA Corps, where he has spent the majority of his career in hydrographic survey operations, marine technology implementation, and business process improvements.  Prior to joining the Coast Survey Development Laboratory, he was commanding officer of NOAA Ship Rainier, conducting hydrographic surveys in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and the Arctic.  He has also previously served aboard NOAA Ships Mount Mitchell, Surveyor, Rainier, and Fairweather.  His previous assignments include serving as chief of business operations at Office of Marine and Aviation Operation’s Marine Engineering Branch in Newport, Oregon, and as the chief of the Coast Survey’s Hydrographic Systems and Technology Program. He has also held assignments at the Atlantic Hydrographic Branch in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Pacific Hydrographic Branch in Seattle, Washington. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, a master’s certificate in technology management from the University of Washington.

Chief of the Marine Chart Division: John Nyberg

John NybergJohn Nyberg served as the deputy chief of the Marine Chart Division from 2010 to 2014, and was named chief in July 2014. As deputy, he helped direct Coast Survey’s chart modernization to digital products, changing the operational focus from paper-based chart compilation to electronic navigational charts. Prior to his work in the Marine Chart Division, Nyberg was deputy chief of Coast Survey’s Navigation Services Division, moving to the leadership position after working as a technical advisor and United States Coast Pilot cartographer. During his 12 years with NSD, he helped manage the procurement of the research vessel Bay Hydrographer II, initiated the modernization of the United States Coast Pilot’s production system, and served as acting navigation manager for Long Island Sound. Nyberg has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, with a major in geography. In 2006, he earned his master’s in international management from the University of Maryland University College.

Chief of the Navigation Services Division: Captain James Crocker

Crocker - official head shotCaptain Crocker has served with the NOAA Corps for 23 years. Most recently, he was the executive director to the Deputy Under Secretary for Operations where he was responsible for executing operational management and policy coordination activities across NOAA’s line and corporate offices. His responsibilities also included serving as a senior advisor to the Deputy Under Secretary. Crocker has conducted hydrographic survey operations from Texas to Maine and from Southern California to the North Slope of Alaska. He recently completed highly successful back-to-back tours of duty as commanding officer of NOAA ships Fairweather and Thomas Jefferson. While serving as commanding officer on Fairweather, he led the first Arctic reconnaissance survey conducted by a NOAA ship to the U.S./Canadian border. Additional NOAA sea experience includes hydrographic survey operations as executive officer on Thomas Jefferson and Rude, and junior officer on Rainier and Heck. Prior to his commands, Capt. Crocker was the chief of operations for the Hydrographic Surveys Division. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in general management from the College of William & Mary and Bachelor of Science degrees in physical oceanography and ocean engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Posted April 11, 2017 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Leadership

Coast Survey in World War 1: “an instant and eager response to the country’s call for help”   Leave a comment

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, in the World War that began three years earlier, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. By 1918, over 30 percent of Coast and Geodetic Survey personnel were on active duty with the Army and Navy. With 272 members of the C&GS in active military service, and 5 survey vessels transferred into naval service, the Survey curtailed much of their regularly scheduled hydrographic work. Instead, personnel directed most of their energies to the assistance of the military branches, with the remaining hydrographic parties conducting special confidential surveys for the Navy Department.

Military map 1918

In one example of support for the military, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey prepared this military map in 1918 for the U.S. Signal Corps.


The C&GS 1918 annual report briefly mentioned some of the hydrographic projects:

“Special hydrographic examinations were made by means of the wire drag at points designated by the Navy Department. Among such were the wire-drag surveys in Long Island Sound and in York River (Chesapeake Bay). Quite an extensive wire-drag examination was made of the waters in the vicinity of Eastport, Me. Initial surveys included such work as the location of points for naval fire-control experiments, the reestablishment of the speed-trial course at Lewes, Del., for torpedo-boat destroyers, the location of the Port Jefferson trial course in Long Island Sound, and the Block Island (Rhode Island) trial course.”

Wire drag 1917

This C&GS launch is involved in the wire drag survey off Block Island, 1917


Additional war projects included:

  • Survey of Hampton Roads naval base, for extensive improvements
  • Surveys around the coal piers at Newport News and in the Newport News dredged channel in Hampton Roads, to meet the needs of the Navy Department
  • Surveys of the approaches to Portsmouth Harbor NH, approaches to Narrangansett Bay, Long Island Sound, Florida reefs, Cape Cod Canal, and Plymouth Harbor, to “meet the needs of the Navy Department”
  • Layout of a one-mile trial course at Alexandria VA, for naval vessels

Additionally, the Navy asked for a survey of the Virgin Islands. In addition to the general survey for the Navy, local naval officials requested a number of small surveys. According to the Coast and Geodetic Survey Annual Report, 1918:

“One topographic party was started on the sheet embracing the town and harbor on April 22. The other party was started on the western sheet May 1. Both continued with only short interruptions for signal building and triangulation the balance of the fiscal year.

“Extreme care was taken to obtain accuracy on the sheet covering the town. An elaborate. control was furnished. The contours were determined with more than ordinary precision, due to the fact that the local government is contemplating installing a water system in the vicinity, and the Coast Survey chart would be studied for a waterworks site.

“At the request of the Navy Department particular stress was given the locating of old ruins, stone walls, boundary monuments, etc. All of this topography was done on a 1:10,000 scale. Twenty-foot contours were determined.

“At the request of the local authorities a special topographic survey was made of a piece of alien property which it was contemplated to seize for military purposes. This survey consisted in locating the shore line, docks, houses, and contours.”

(See chart 905, Virgin Islands, Virgin Gorda to St Thomas and St Croix, 1921, and chart 906, Virgin Passage and Vieques Sound, 1922)

As happened during the Civil War, Coast and Geodetic Survey ramped up their chart production for the war effort – as well as for the United States Shipping Board, formed in 1917 to promote the development of an American merchant marine, and to address shipping problems during time of war.

Map and chart production in 1919 was 136 percent greater than for the year 1915.

In the annual report of 1919, Capt. E. Lester Jones, Coast and Geodetic Survey director from 1915 to 1929, paid tribute to the service of all C&GS personnel through the war:

“This service has 103 years of active history which show that it has never failed in loyalty, no matter what the call. Its members have always given the benefit of their trained thought and well-informed judgment whenever and wherever they were needed and however they could best be used.

“In the great conflict just ended these traditions have been upheld.

“Admiration is due the spirit that has animated each and every member of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. To a man there was an instant and eager response to the country’s call for help. At all times, a service which is laboring for the safety of mankind, it stood ready to undertake new work. The kind of work needed was varied-all could not go into battle. The men in the field would have been useless without the executive work behind them at home, and all honor is due them, who, showing a steady, uncompromising moral courage, unmoved by clamor and undisturbed by outer excitement, have kept steadily at their posts, carrying on most successfully the important and necessary work here.

“Those who were sent to the field were simply performing their duty in another way, and established an enviable and remarkable record, showing again their unusual adaptability and training.

“The Bureau was about equally represented in both Army and Navy and performed signal valuable service in each.”


“The 200th Anniversary of the Survey of the Coast,” Prologue Magazine, by John Cloud; National Archives, Spring 2007, Vol. 39, No. 1


Posted April 6, 2017 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in History, Nautical charts

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NOAA Coast Survey offers new certification program in nautical cartography   Leave a comment

The International Board on Standards and Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC) recognized and approved Coast Survey’s new certification program in cartography (CAT-B) at their 40th meeting in Willington, New Zealand. Capt. Andy Armstrong (NOAA, ret.), co-director of the Center for Coastal & Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire, presented the program at the meeting.

Capt. (NOAA ret.) Andy Armstrong (left) with IBSC Chair, Mr. Adam Greenland (right) at the 40th meeting of the IBSC in Willington, New Zealand.

Capt. Andy Armstrong (left) with IBSC Chair Adam Greenland at the 40th meeting of the IBSC in Willington, New Zealand.

The new program will grant certificates to up to 13 cartographers per year, through a combination of lectures, hands-on chart production experience, work details to various branches within the Coast Survey, and field trips to working hydrographic survey vessels. The first class (which is already full), will begin in fall 2017 at Coast Survey headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. The duration of the program is 51 weeks and comprises six courses:

A refresher course will review basic math, computer and communication technology, marine geography, hydrography, and geodetic topics.

Introduction to cartography course (provided by Montgomery College) will review elements of cartography; specifically scale, design, and data manipulation techniques.

GIS and spatial analysis course (provided by University of Maryland, College Park) will provide a comprehensive understanding of spatial analysis methods and practical experience using GIS.

Map design course (provided by Montgomery College) will offer hands-on experience using various styles and techniques associated with cartographic design, including analysis of chart design parameters and compilation of thematic cartographic projects.

GIS and spatial modeling course (provided by University of Maryland, College Park) will give the student a foundation and understanding of various issues related to modeling and simulation in GIS, including concepts, tools, and techniques of GIS modeling (vector- and raster‐based modeling).

NOAA training project and 12-week internship program will include: 1) a detailed review of many of the activities conducted by the branches in Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division; and 2) a training project that demonstrates the student’s ability to implement the knowledge gained during the certification.

Coast Survey plans to offer this program on annual basis. Registration for the 2018 session will be announced next January.

Posted April 5, 2017 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Cartography, Education

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