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.

NOAA Open House to share scientific awesomeness

Explore your world and learn how NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — takes the pulse of the planet every day and protects and manages ocean and coastal resources. 2015 NOAA Open House Ad

Join us on NOAA’s Silver Spring, Maryland, campus for a day of discovery. Listen to engaging talks by NOAA experts, explore interactive exhibits, take special tours, and have fun with hands-on activities for ages 5 and up. Meet and talk with scientists, weather forecasters, hurricane hunters, cartographers, and others who work to understand our environment, protect life and property, and conserve and protect natural resources.

The Silver Spring campus is at 1315 East-West Highway, next to the Silver Spring Metro Stop (Red Line). Public parking is available.

NOTE: A government-issued photo ID is required for adults. Check NOAA Open House for a list of acceptable forms of identification.

Visit www.noaa.gov/openhouse for details or call 301-713-7258 for more information.

NOAA Ship Rainier + enthusiastic students = future hydrographers?

Cold Bay's elementary school student visit the NOAA Ship Rainier
Cold Bay Elementary School students visit the NOAA Ship Rainier

On September 13, NOAA Ship Rainier began surveying Cold Bay, its fourth project of the summer. Cold Bay is a small town on the Aleutian Peninsula approximately 540 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. The town currently has approximately 88 full-time residents and boasts an airport with one of the longest runways in Alaska.

On September 19, after deploying her launches for the day, officers and crew welcomed aboard the entire Cold Bay Elementary School – all eight students, teaching assistant Mrs. Lyons, and their teacher, Mrs. Burkhardt. The students are currently between fourth and seventh grade and go to school in a state-of-the-art, two-room school-house.

During the tour, the students learned about driving the ship and making nautical charts. They saw how sonars work, and they even used a sediment sampler to determine the seafloor composition.

The students were full of questions and enjoyed learning about life on a ship. They also captured the admiration of Rainier‘s commanding officer. “When Cold Bay residents describe their town, they can also boast of wonderful elementary school students who have a desire to explore new things,” explained Cmdr. Rick Brennan. “One of the great things about working on a NOAA ship is the opportunity to meet students like this. Combining our love of the sea with their enthusiasm for learning — that’s where America’s future hydrography starts.”

This student is ready to work!
This student is ready to work!
The group examines bottom samples collected by the Rainier.
The group examines bottom samples collected by the Rainier.
Cmdr. Rick Brennan explains how davits work.
Cmdr. Rick Brennan explains how davits work.

Cmdr. Rick Brennan with friends -- and potential hydrographers.
Cmdr. Brennan with friends — and potential future hydrographers.