June 1 marks the beginning of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Although NOAA projects it to be a below normal season, it doesn’t mean coastal areas will have it easy. In the wake of a hurricane, Coast Survey plays a critical role in NOAA’s response efforts. But what about before the storm? In addition to building relationships and coordinating emergency response capabilities with agencies such as U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and port authorities, Coast Survey focuses on local community preparedness meetings and outreach events throughout the month of May.
Recently, Coast Survey’s navigation manager for the central Gulf Coast, in partnership with The National Weather Service Lake Charles and the Port of Morgan City, Louisiana, conducted public preparedness forums in Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Morgan City. One meeting featured U.S. Representative Charles W. Boustany, Jr., as the speaker. Approximately 90 people attended, including the congressman’s constituents, and local, state, and federal agencies and responders. The information provided was of vital interest given the upcoming start of hurricane season and the 10th anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“As the 10th anniversary for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita approach, our coastal region is reminded of the need to be ever-ready for storms of every category,” said Joan Finley, district director for Rep. Boustany. “Our office appreciates the working relationship we have with NOAA, is reassured by the expertise of those working for NOAA, and is always available to provide assistance to ensure NOAA carries out its mission.”
Public preparedness meeting at Port Morgan City, Louisiana.
Over on the southeast Atlantic coast, Coast Survey’s navigation response team 2 participated in the hurricane awareness tour when it stopped in St. Augustine, Florida. This outreach event provided Coast Survey the opportunity to communicate to the public, school children, and local dignitaries about its role in hurricane response.
Kyle Ward sits alongside the NRT2 vessel and is ready to greet the crowd during the Hurricane Awareness Tour in St. Augustine, Florida.
During the outreach event, the navigation response team gave tours of the vessel and answered questions from the public. Students visited the booth, listened to a brief about Coast Survey, and received “honorary junior hydrographer” stickers to remind them of Coast Survey’s important mission.
Coast Survey’s navigation managers and response teams have spread awareness and helped communities prepare for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. At the start of the season, we may not know exactly when and where a hurricane will strike or how extensive the damage will be, but we are aware of the threat and are prepared to respond.
What better way to recognize National Maritime Day than to spend a day at the Port of Baltimore talking with the public about NOAA’s hydrographic survey work. Coast Survey’s research vessel Bay Hydro II, moored at pier 13 Canton Marine Terminal across from the NS Savannah, participated in the Port of Baltimore’s National Maritime Day celebration on Sunday, May 17.
A great cross-section of visitors came on board throughout the day. From students and families with small children to retired Navy sonar operators, there was no shortage of enthusiastic people to talk to.
“I was really impressed that so many people made the trek all the way out to the industrial sector in order to see the event.” said, Lt.j.g. Bart Buesseler, the vessel’s officer in charge. “You could look out from the pier and see container ships loading and unloading, and activity happening all around. We weren’t sure what to expect going in, but were very happy we made the trip. It was great!”
By the end of the day, over 215 people came aboard the Bay Hydro II. A great turnout for a quick visit to Charm City.
Matt Carter, survey technician, answers questions about surveying and charting aboard the Bay Hydro II.
Lt.j.g. Bart Buesseler answers questions alongside Bay Hydro II during the Port of Baltimore’s National Maritime Day event.
The U.S. Coast Pilot, the supplement to raster navigational charts (NOAA RNC®) and electronic navigational charts (NOAA ENC®), now provides geotagged reference points. A geotag is simply geographical location information assigned to a type of media. In this case, a geotag conveniently assists mariners with landmark positions and displays the associated nautical chart inset in the HTML version of Coast Pilot. Currently, 75 percent of the nine Coast Pilot volumes have been geotagged, with more points available each week to the mariner. Coast Pilot is updated and available for download weekly, and can easily be used on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. To access the geotags, select a Coast Pilot book and click the HTML hyperlink adjacent to each individual chapter of the book.
Access to the HTML version of Coast Pilot, where the geotags are located, can be found within each Coast Pilot Book webpage. This image shows the location of the HTML link for Coast Pilot Book 2.
Geotagged places will appear in bold green within the HTML version of the chapters.
Portion of the HTML Coast Pilot 2 (Chapter 4) and geotagged features in bold green.
Clicking on a geotag will prompt a small window with an appropriate interactive chart (RNC or ENC) along with a blue dot indicating the geotagged point with its latitude and longitude.
Chartlet with geotagged feature (includes zooming capabilities)
Also conveniently available to the mariner in the HTML version of Coast Pilot is the Code of Federal Regulations (text highlighted in dark blue) and the entire nautical chart (chart heading of each paragraph in royal blue). The geotagged Coast Pilot project is a collaborative effort between Coast Survey and the USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The GNIS is the official database of geographic names used by the federal government as well as information regarding specific geographical positions. As digital cartography evolves, having geotagged products opens up the door for potential future uses.
by Melissa Volkert, Coast Survey communications associate
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has added a wide range of publications to our Historical Map and Chart Collection. The collection of publications consists of annual reports, catalogs, United States Coast Pilot, Notes on the Coast, and special reports.
The collection contains over 35,000 documents from the earliest days of the U.S. Coast Survey.
- Annual Reports are yearly publications, from 1837 to 1965, that detail the many scientific and technological activities of Coast Survey.
- Aeronautical charts, U.S. nautical charts, charts of the Philippines, and the old U.S. Lake Survey charts are detailed in Catalogs.
- The Coast Pilot collection carries two centuries of volumes, from a 1796 version of the American Coast Pilot, through the 1800s and 1900s, until the 2012 versions of the U.S. Coast Pilot.
- Written in 1861 by the Coast Survey while Superintendent Alexander Bache served on the Blockade Strategy Board, Notes on the Coast were instrumental in the Union naval strategy during the Civil War.
- When geodetic, hydrographic, geophysical, and oceanographic methods were hard to find in annual reports, over 400 Special Reports, issued between 1898 and 1956, made the information easier to disseminate.
These publications provide context to the tens of thousands of maps and charts in the collection. Use the “Search Images” and “Search Publications” pages to explore the historic documents.
As an example, consider the great naturalist John Muir, whose 179th birthday is this month. He was a guide and artist on the Survey of the 39th Parallel across the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah from 1874 to 1877.
One result emerges: the 1875 Annual Report. This report notes, on page 62, that John Muir recorded the geological and botanical characteristics of Mount Shasta in Northern California. A “related maps” option, showing maps and other images mentioned in the publication, will be to the left of this result. In this case, the related maps include a map titled “Sketch Showing the Progress of the Survey on the Atlantic Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Coast of the United States with Sub Sketch Showing the Progress on the Pacific Coast.” This particular map was continually updated as new areas were surveyed and discovered. 1875 was the first year that Mt. Shasta was recorded on it.
You can also use the information from an image to locate a publication. This month marks the 99th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Using Search Images on the Historical Map and Chart Collection:
Since this map is from 1907 and there are no images from 1906, assume findings after the earthquakes were not published until 1907.
- Search publications for the Annual Report of 1907.
- When the report is opened, use the “Ctrl+F” search function (press Ctrl & F together)
- Type California in the search bar that appears at the top right.
- California will be highlighted every time it is stated in the document.
On page 67, there is a section entitled “Earth Movements in the California Earthquake of 1906.” This section ‒ that highlights new vs. old triangulation, and the permanent displacements of the areas affected ‒ states, “…the effects of the earthquake of April 18, 1906, indicated that there had been relative displacements of the earth’s surface from 2 meters (7 feet) to 6 meters (20 feet) at various points near the great fault accompanying the earthquake.”
The tables indicate the permanent displacements of various points caused by the earthquake of 1906. These permanent displacements were determined by comparing the positions of identical points upon the earth’s surface as determined by triangulation before and after the earthquakes in question. (Discover how the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey aided the recovery of the San Francisco earthquakes of 1906 by reading the 1907 Annual Report.)
The Historical Map and Chart Collection documents Coast Survey’s discoveries throughout history. Make your own discoveries in the collection, and let us know if you have any comments, questions, or concerns.
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 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.
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, NOAA survey technician Danielle Power receives her certificate. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jonathan Roth.