NOAA hosts 2018 Chart Adequacy Workshop

On July 23, NOAA Coast Survey hosted a three-day Chart Adequacy Workshop that included participants from 13 countries. This is the fourth Chart Adequacy Workshop held at NOAA’s Silver Spring, Maryland campus.

The participants of the 2018 Chart Adequacy Workshop.
Participants and instructors of the 2018 Chart Adequacy Workshop.

The main goal of the workshop is to provide training for professional cartographers and hydrographers on techniques for assessing nautical chart adequacy using publicly-available information, such as satellite images and maritime automatic identification system (AIS) data. The participants received an overview on Coast Survey datasets, processes, and requirements for nautical charts. They also learned about preprocessing hydrographic data, such as loading charts, uploading imagery, and applying electronic navigation charts (ENCs) and AIS point data. Through a series of lab units, the attendees practiced performing the concepts they learned.

Unlike previous years (2017, 2016, 2015), the focus of this class was on networking and support for the upcoming International Cartographic Association (ICA) Working Group on Marine Cartography meeting held on July 26 and in preparation for next year’s International Cartographic Conference (ICC). During the 2019 ICC in Tokyo, Japan, a key focus for the Working Group on Marine Cartography will be to return to the status of a Commission on Marine Cartography.

An attendee shares information about her home cartographic offices with other participants.
An attendee shares information about her home cartographic offices with other participants.

The 2018 participants were from Australia, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, and Trinidad and Tobago. The international nature of the event allows the participants to meet and learn from cartographers from a variety of backgrounds and expertise. The individuals were nominated by their home hydrographic offices and their travel was sponsored by the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO).

Rear Adm. Shep Smith greets the workshop attendees as they begin a tour of the Coast Survey offices in Silver Spring, Maryland
Rear Adm. Shep Smith greets the workshop attendees as they begin a tour of the Coast Survey office in Silver Spring, Maryland

The workshop was developed in part to address the need to improve the collection, quality, and availability of hydrographic data world-wide, and increase the standardization of chart adequacy evaluations across the globe. Coast Survey is currently working with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to recommend participants for next year’s workshop.

Coast Survey spotlight: Meet Starla Robinson


Ever wonder what it’s like to be a member of the NOAA Coast Survey team? We will use the Coast Survey spotlight blog series as a way to periodically share the experiences of Coast Survey employees as they discuss their work, background, and advice.


Starla Robinson, Physical Scientist

“The work we do has real value and every sounding takes a team of professionals from multiple disciplines. I like being a part of something greater.”

Starla Robinson served as a crew member on the NOAA Ship Rainier. Photo credit: Lt. Damian Manda, NOAA Corps
Starla Robinson served as a crew member on NOAA Ship Rainier. Photo credit: Lt. Damian Manda, NOAA Corps
What were your experiences prior to working for NOAA Office of Coast Survey?

I worked a decade as a GIS Analyst and then four years as a Survey Technician on NOAA Ship Rainier. I have been working as a Physical Scientist for Coast Survey for three years, and in this position I plan hydrographic surveys.

What is a day in your job like?

Varied. I am a project manager. My responsibility is to plan surveys, identify risks and opportunities, and see the surveys through completion. I spend time on land researching existing data, analyzing opportunities, facilitating communication, and defining plans. Once a project is started I assist in answering questions, monitoring progress, and communicating the value of what we do.

I also have the great privilege to sail on our ships as both a project manager and survey crew. At sea I act as a liaison to land, maintain my skills, experiment with new methods, and stand a survey watch. Working on a ship allows me to see things that very few people get to see. We are explorers in a strange land, uncovering an environment no one has seen before.

Why is this work important?

Project managers are the opportunity makers and the communicators that stitch the team together for the execution of the surveys that maintain the nation’s charts. We get to be the experts, defining the requirements for national hydrography, and safeguarding quality, while making sure we effectively manage the taxpayer’s resources.

What aspects of your job are most rewarding to you?

I work with teams of brilliant, dedicated professionals who are passionate about our work. Our work provides me with a sense of purpose. I know the importance of our data to mariners. I have been in a ship looking for safe harbor. I know the importance of our data to commerce, fisheries, habitat analysis, offshore energy, sand mining, and resource management. I use my expertise in hydrography and GIS to answer questions and strategize for the future. The work we do has real value and every sounding takes a team of professionals from multiple disciplines. I like being a part of something greater.


We are celebrating World Hydrography Day all week! Check our website to see new hydrography- and bathymetry-related stories added each day.

Poster symposium marks milestone for inaugural class of the NOAA certification program in nautical cartography

NOAA’s Christie Ence (left), Megan Bartlett (third from left), and Noel Dyer (right) explain their posters to attendees of the poster symposium at the University of Maryland.
NOAA’s Christie Ence (left), Megan Bartlett (third from left), and Noel Dyer (right) explain their posters to attendees of the poster symposium at the University of Maryland.

Students of NOAA’s certification program in nautical cartography completed their final projects and presented them along with other Master of Professional Studies in GIS students during a poster symposium at the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences. At the event, NOAA students explained their capstone projects and described how their research benefits nautical charting at NOAA. Project topics included:

  • Improving Shoreline Application to NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts, Megan Bartlet
  • An Automated Approach to Generate Nautical Vector Features from Raster Bathymetric Attributed Grid Data, Noel Dyer
  • Developing a Rasterization Procedure for Vector Chart Data, Christie Ence
  • NOAA Chart Discrepancies: A Temporal and Spatial Analysis for Navigation Response Teams, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Forney
  • Airborne Lidar Bathymetry’s Impact on NOAA Charts, Andres Garrido
  • Validating and Refining the Proposed Rescheming of NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts, Colby Harmon
  • High Resolution Bathymetry as an Alternative to Charting Controlling Depths in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Channels, Craig Winn
  • Satellite Derived Bathymetry: An Alternative Analysis to Nautical Chart Updates, Aleah Worthem

This inaugural class will complete an internship as part of the program over the summer and receive their certificates in September 2018.

NOAA’s Colby Harmon (center) and Craig Winn (right) talk nautical charting with capstone course instructor Dr. Jonathan Resop at the poster symposium.
NOAA’s Colby Harmon (center) and Craig Winn (right) talk nautical charting with capstone course instructor Dr. Jonathan Resop at the poster symposium.
postersypmosium3
Lt. Cmdr. Matt Forney (right) explains nautical chart discrepancies and their importance to NOAA’s navigation response teams.

NOAA’s certification program in nautical cartography, recognized and approved by the International Board on Standards and Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC), grants certificates to up to 13 cartographers per year. Students learn 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 began in fall 2017 at Coast Survey headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. The duration of the program is 51 weeks and comprises six courses.

The 2018 certification program in nautical cartography starts in August 2018. The class is already full with another 13 students, 12 from NOAA and one from the Nigerian Navy.

 

 

 

 

NOAA Coast Survey offers new certification program in nautical cartography

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.

Get your hands on science at the NOAA Open House

These kids had a great time getting their hands on science at last year's Open House.
These kids had a great time getting their hands on science at last year’s Open House.

Explore your world and learn how NOAA takes the pulse of the planet every day and protects and manages ocean and coastal resources. Join us on NOAA’s Silver Spring, Maryland, campus for a series of free activities, including engaging talks by NOAA experts, interactive exhibits, special tours, and hands-on activities for ages 5 and up. Meet and talk with cartographers, scientists, weather forecasters, hurricane hunters, and others who work to understand our environment, protect life and property, and conserve and protect natural resources. Learn some of Coast Survey’s heritage and see a historic printing press that we actually used to print charts in the 1800s.

Visit www.noaa.gov/openhouse for details or call 240-533-0710 for more information.

Saturday, February 6
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Located near Silver Spring Metro Station
Public parking available
Free and open to the public
Note: A government-issued photo ID is required for adults. Check www.noaa.gov/openhouse for a list of acceptable forms of ID.

Coast Survey helps scientists sharpen hydrographic skills

By Lt.j.g. Eric Younkin

For four weeks in February, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey offers formal hydrographic training to newly hired survey technicians and physical scientists, using the beautiful campus at the United States Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia. This year, dozens of NOAA employees and others took the extensive training, covering everything from acoustics and statistics to the processing of hydrographic survey data within the CARIS software package.

Two dozen people attended in person. They came from a wide range of duty assignments: NOAA ships Rainier, Fairweather, Thomas Jefferson, Pisces, and Oscar Dyson; Coast Survey’s R/V Bay Hydro II, Navigation Response Team 1, and the Atlantic Hydrographic Branch; NOAA’s National Geospatial Data Center; and the Washington State Energy Office. In addition, we had “virtual” attendance from the NOAA ships as well as from the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping Center, Washington State Energy Office, and United States Coast Guard District 17.

NOAA hydro class at USCG Training Center
NOAA Hydrographic Training course at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, Feb. 27, 2015. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jonathan Roth.

During the last two weeks, we experienced a severe winter storm. The training facility and the surrounding roads and schools closed – but we still held classes, even though some of the commuting students had to join the ranks of the remote attendees.

POS MV demo
Training class participants enjoy a mobile demonstration of the POS MV.

First on the agenda, attendees received on-the-job training on board R/V Bay Hydro II, thanks to the officer-in-charge, Lt.j.g. Bart Buesseler, and physical scientist technician Rob Mowery. Students also set up a horizontal control base station, performed leveling runs, simulated shoreline feature acquisition and calibrated an Applanix POS MV system. Capt. Shep Smith, Lt. Cmdr. Olivia Hauser, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Gonsalves, physical scientist Glen Rice, and others offered their expertise on a variety of topics, including statistics and the organizational structure of Coast Survey.

Students learned about field operations and sonar theory, with classes offered by Lt. Megan Guberski from the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, physical scientist Matt Wilson from Coast Survey’s Atlantic Hydrographic Branch, and physical scientist Mashkoor Malik from Coast Survey’s Hydrographic Systems and Technology Programs. Lt.j.g. Matthew Forrest from NOAA Ship Rainier, and Keith Brkich and David Wolcott from NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services covered vertical control and tidal theory.

We also appreciated the participation from CARIS’ Josh Mode and Tami Beduhn, as they explained the CARIS processing workflow.

To cap off the training, Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of Coast Survey, talked about the future of hydrography and – importantly – awarded training completion certificates to the students.

RDML Gerd Glang awarded training completion certificates. Here, Danielle Power receives her certificate. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jonathan Roth.
RDML Gerd Glang awarded training completion certificates. Here, NOAA survey technician Danielle Power receives her certificate. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jonathan Roth.

Celebrating Abe’s birthday! Lincoln’s slave density map is home again in President Lincoln Cottage

The “slave density map,” created by the men of U.S. Coast Survey in 1861, is one of Coast Survey’s most treasured historical maps. Artist Francis Bicknell Carpenter included it in his painting, “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln,” because Lincoln consulted it so often in devising his military strategy. According to Carpenter, President Lincoln used the map in his decisions to send his armies to free blacks in some of the highest density areas in order to destabilize Southern order.

Francis Bicknell Carpenter placed the "slave density map" in the lower right corner of his painting of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Francis Bicknell Carpenter placed the “slave density map” in the lower right corner of his painting of the Emancipation Proclamation.

 

President Lincoln’s Cottage, now maintained by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is where President Lincoln developed the Emancipation Proclamation. So it was fitting that, on Lincoln’s birthday this year, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey presented a copy of the map to Cottage officials, to assist with their vital educational programs.

In the very library where Lincoln may have studied the map, Coast Survey’s Dawn Forsythe (left) and NOAA’s Ben Sherman (right) presented the map to Erin Carlson Mast, the Cottage’s executive director, and Callie Hawkins, associate director for programs.

Forsythe Mast Hawkins Sherman
Dawn Forsythe (Coast Survey), Erin Carlson Mast and Callie Hawkins (Lincoln’s Cottage), and Ben Sherman (NOAA) with the slave density map in the Lincoln Cottage library.

 

The Cottage plans to use the map in their educational programs. To learn more about the map, see Mapping Slavery in the Nineteenth Century.

The men of Coast Survey created the map to help the public understand the secession crisis, by providing a visual link between secession and slavery.
The men of Coast Survey created the map to help the public understand the secession crisis, by providing a visual link between secession and slavery.