NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey enters 2015 with a leadership team that is ready to transform the nation’s hydrographic data acquisition and maintenance program, making coastal data more easily accessible for digital applications that include navigation and coastal planning. We thought you might like to know who those leaders are…
Director, Coast Survey: Rear Admiral Gerd F. Glang
Rear Adm. Glang was appointed as director of Coast Survey in August 2012. A NOAA Corps officer since 1989, Glang is a professional mariner, specializing in hydrographic surveying and seafloor mapping sciences. He has served aboard four NOAA ships, working in the waters of all U.S. coasts, from the largely uncharted coastal waters of Alaska’s southwest peninsula to the South Pacific. He was commanding officer of NOAA Ship Whiting in 1999, when the ship responded to the seafloor search for John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s, downed aircraft. Just three months later, he led Whiting to the first discovery of the seafloor debris fields from Egypt Air Flight 990. Ashore, Glang has led NOAA work in hydrography, cartography, and planning. A 1984 graduate of the State University of New York Maritime College with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, Glang also received a graduate certificate in ocean mapping from the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program.
Deputy Director, Coast Survey: Kathryn Ries
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 $83 million 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. 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.
Chief of the Hydrographic Surveys Division: Captain Eric W. Berkowitz
Capt. Berkowitz joined Coast Survey this month, and will assume the chief’s duties after he completes the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program in February. Berkowitz has over 23 years of experience as a NOAA Corps Commissioned Officer, with extensive experience in marine and aviation operations and executive leadership. His most recent duty station was at the Marine Operations Center in Newport, Oregon, where he was the director of marine operations for 16 NOAA ships. Both a pilot and a mariner, Berkowitz was with the Snow Survey Flight Program for five years. He has also done a three-year stint as deputy chief and acting chief of the National Geodetic Survey’s Remote Sensing Division. His onboard ship experience includes duties on Rude, Whiting and Mt. Mitchell. Berkowitz received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1990.
Chief of the Coast Survey Development Laboratory: Captain Richard Brennan
Capt. Brennan has served with the NOAA Officer Corps for over 20 years, sailing 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. 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. Capt. 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 Marine Chart Division: John Nyberg
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: Russell Proctor
Russ Proctor started with NOAA as chief of Coast Survey’s Navigation Services Division in July 2014. He is a maritime professional and 25-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. A career marine safety officer, Proctor has extensive experience directing daily operations and emergency response activities to improve safety, security, and stewardship of the marine transportation system. He was Captain of the Port in Toledo, and Sector Deputy Commander in Portland, Oregon. He also served at the ports in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Houston/Galveston. His operational experience was balanced by three headquarters assignments, serving on the marine safety staffs for resource planning, regulatory compliance policy, and commercial standards development. Proctor is a distinguished graduate of the American University Key Executive Leadership Program, with a master’s degree in public administration. He graduated in 1988 from the Maine Maritime Academy with a bachelor’s degree in nautical science, and a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Deck Officer license.
One of the best things about this time of year is creating a holiday greeting for our friends around the world. Sometimes we take a serious look at the past year, and other times we have some fun with technology. This year, we dove deep into whimsy, with a parody of the lovely traditional poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clarke Moore.
We hope this lighthearted greeting adds a bit of cheer to the season, as we extend our sincere wishes for a safe new year across the world’s oceans. THANK YOU to all who contribute to that effort.
Regular blog readers are aware of NOAA chart transformations over the last year, as we transition our nautical products to a wide range of paper and digital formats, print-on-demand services, and web mapping ‒ providing updated information that is easy to access. Next up for consideration is the traditional chart catalog. In a Federal Register Notice published on November 28, we ask for your opinion.
Until April 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration had printed NOAA’s nautical chart catalogs on oversized paper sheets (up to 35 inches by 55 inches), folded them, and made them available to the public for free. Since the printing was done in bulk, and stored prior to distribution, the information on the reverse side of the catalogs was often out of date by the time catalogs reached customers. When the FAA ceased printing NOAA nautical charts in April, they also stopped printing the catalogs.
Since then, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has privatized paper chart production by expanding the number of chart printing agents through the NOAA “print-on-demand” program. Questions remain on whether to transition the catalogs to a similar paper “print-on-demand” system where customers would pay for the catalogs.
We have now transformed the chart catalogs into letter-sized PDF documents that users can print at home. Produced with digital technology, the catalogs are easy-to-see, easy-to-use, easy-to-print, and are updated as changes occur. The new format has a higher resolution and more geographic names than the large-format catalog, and heavily trafficked waterways covered by multiple charts have their own dedicated pages.
The new PDF chart catalogs are letter-sized and can be printed at home.
If users prefer a web-based search for charts, the interactive chart catalog, established in early 2014, lets you point, choose, and download.
Even with the two new catalog products, however, we understand some people may still prefer the big traditional catalog ‒ and so we’re considering a reinstatement of the front page. We could re-start the updating process if there is a market demand and if commercial printing firms decide to carry the catalogs as for-sale products. The updated chart catalogs would only have the front side showing the areas covered by the catalog, with chart outlines and their corresponding chart numbers. They would not show anything on the reverse side. (We consider the reverse side, which lists chart agents, as obsolete and will not continue it. The Coast Survey website now carries regularly updated information about NOAA-certified chart printers.)
Before making the decision, we want to know if demand remains for the large-format chart catalogs, and if users are willing to purchase these from commercial providers, such as NOAA-certified printing companies, subject to their decision on whether to carry the product. Tell us what you think. Comments about the new letter-sized PDF catalogs and the interactive web catalog are also welcome.
Written, faxed, or emailed comments are due by midnight, April 30, 2015. You can email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to 301-713-9312. Written comments may be mailed to Frank Powers, Office of Coast Survey, 1315 East-West Highway, #6254, Silver Spring MD 20906.
By the way, you will always have digital access to the chart catalogs of 2014 and earlier, as we are archiving current and historical chart catalogs in Coast Survey’s Historical Map & Chart Collection.
Read the full Federal Register Notice here.
With over 3.4 million square nautical miles of U.S. waters to chart, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is constantly evaluating long-term hydrographic survey priorities. Now, for the first time, Coast Survey is posting its three-year survey plans and making them publicly available at the Planned NOAA Hydrographic Survey Areas (2015-2017) in ArcGIS Online. In addition to seeing the outlines of planned survey areas for the next three years, users can obtain additional metadata (project name, calendar year, and area in square nautical miles) for each survey by simply clicking on the outlines. Other features display the survey area information in a tabular format, and can filter the information using metadata fields.
The Hydrographic Survey Division is Coast Survey’s primary data acquisition arm. They plan and manage the large survey ships’ hydrographic operations. (The Navigation Services Division manages the smaller survey boats used by the navigation response teams. Their survey plans will soon be added to this webmap.)
Because of the enormousness of our area of responsibility and limited resources, Coast Survey develops long-term survey priorities using a number of parameters, including navigational significance, survey vintage (when the area was last surveyed), vessel usage, and potential for unknown dangers to navigation. Coast Survey then culls the long-term priorities for annual survey plans using other factors such as urgent needs (recent grounding, accidents, etc.), compelling requests from the maritime industry and U.S. Coast Guard, traffic volume, and identified chart discrepancies.
While Coast Survey tries to consider operational constraints, ice coverage, and weather patterns while making plans, sometimes the unexpected does occur. We have to emphasize that these are plans, subject to reevaluations, operational constraints, weather, and resource allocation. Because plans often change, people should bookmark the site and check back often. This is an operational site, and we will update plans as they change.
For more information about specific survey areas or to request a survey, please submit an inquiry through NOAA’s Nautical Inquiry & Comment System or contact the regional navigation manager for your area.
The Planned NOAA Hydrographic Survey Areas webmap is powered by Esri’s ArcGIS Online technology.
Coast Survey Brig Washington
Lt. Thomas R. Gedney, a U.S. Navy officer commanding the U.S. Coast Survey Brig Washington on August 20, 1839, was surveying the area between New York’s Montauk Point and Gardiner’s Island. He “discovered a strange and suspicious looking vessel off Culloden Point, near said Montauk Point,” according to his statement to Connecticut District Court Judge Andrew T. Judson. Gedney and his officers took possession of the vessel. The ship captured by the Washington proved to be the Spanish schooner called L’Amistad – the ship carrying Africans who revolted against their captors and tried to sail back to Africa… Thus began a little known piece of U.S. Coast Survey history. (It is so little known, in fact, that the 1997 movie Amistad did not mention Coast Survey.)
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is presenting a new exhibit of six murals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College, portrays the heroic resistance to slavery. Three of the six historic murals on exhibition refer to the slave ship Amistad.
Gedney’s capture of the Amistad was very early in Coast Survey’s history, when naval officers were assigned to command Coast Survey vessels. Gedney was one of the two first senior naval officers attached to the Coast Survey. (The other was George S. Blake.) In 1834, Gedney commanded the Coast Survey’s first hydrographic vessel, the Jersey, and in 1835 discovered the Gedney Channel into New York Harbor. Gedney is also known for tackling the would-be assassin of President Andrew Jackson on January 31, 1835, after the gunman’s pistol(s) had misfired ‒ twice. He reportedly protected the gunman, Richard Lawrence, from the wrath of the crowd so Lawrence could be brought to justice. Gedney joined the Navy in 1815, and died in 1857.
There were two trials on the Amistad: one criminal, for the mutiny; the other was a civil trial, where Gedney et.al. libeled (claimed) as “salvage” the cargo, provisions, cash, and “fifty-four slaves, to wit, fifty-one male slaves, and three young female slaves, who were worth twenty-five thousand dollars.” (See the copies of original documents at the National Archives.)
There were several competing claims for the Africans, involving Queen Isabella of Spain and the two men who said they owned the slaves. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that the case pivoted on the status of the men and women captured on the Amistad. The District Court ruled that the Africans were free individuals; kidnapped and transported illegally, they had never been slaves. Therefore, the court allowed salvage to Lieutenant Gedney and others, on the vessel and cargo, of one-third of the value thereof, “but not on the negroes…”
The Amistad Murals consists of three panels: The Revolt, The Court Scene (pictured here), and Back to Africa. They are normally housed in Talladega College’s Savery Library and are some of artist Hale Aspacio Woodruff’s best known works.
The court ordered President Martin Van Buren to have them transported back to Africa. After going through the appeal process, President Van Buren ordered government lawyers to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court heard the case, with former president John Quincy Adams arguing against the government and on behalf of the Africans. On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Africans. They also provided a note on Gedney:
“As to the claim of Lieutenant Gedney for the salvage service, it is understood that the United States do not now desire to interpose any obstacle to the allowance of it, if it is deemed reasonable by the Court. It was a highly meritorious and useful service to the proprietors of the ship and cargo; and such as, by the general principles of maritime law, is always deemed a just foundation for salvage. The rate allowed by the Court, does not seem to us to have been beyond the exercise of a sound discretion, under the very peculiar and embarrassing circumstances of the case.”
In other words, Gedney got his share of the cargo, but not the “slaves” he had also claimed as prizes.
(Read the full Supreme Court decision, written by Justice Joseph Story.)
The Amistad murals will be on view at the National Museum of Natural History until March 2015.
A NOAA ship plying the waters off the coast often inspires public curiosity. This is especially true when boaters and others see the ship or her launches just go back and forth, back and forth, all day. It’s not a surprise, then, that NOAA Ship Rainier’s latest project is generating questions from the areas around Protection Island and Lopez Island, Washington.
Don’t worry, there is no problem! NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is collecting bathymetric data to update nautical charts that are currently displaying depth measurements acquired from surveys conducted from 1940 to 1969. Survey vessels go back and forth, in a maneuver that is similar to mowing the lawn, as they use multibeam echo sounders to measure the depths and to “see” the ocean floor. If any of the vessels discover a danger to navigation – an uncharted wreck or other obstruction, for instance – Coast Survey will immediately inform the U.S. Coast Guard and the information will be relayed to ships and boaters through a Local Notice to Mariners.
NOAA Ship Rainer with her launches aboard
Rainier is one of the NOAA ships dedicated to hydrographic surveys for updating the nation’s nautical charts and other uses. During this project, the ship is using her survey launches to conduct the majority of the survey. Rainier has four 29-foot aluminum boats – each equipped with a high-resolution multibeam echo sounder – that they carry aboard ship. Rainier deploys the launches in the morning to survey, and retrieves them in the evening.
Data acquired by Rainier and her launches will be used to update charts 18465, 18434, 18471, and others, as well as the corresponding electronic navigational charts. (See the full array of charts covering this and other areas, here.) This particular hydrographic survey project, which covers approximately 22 square nautical miles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is part of a multi-year project to conduct modern hydrographic surveys and completely update the nautical charts of the waters from Port Angeles to Port Townsend and north to Bellingham, including the San Juan Islands.
This survey project area is a critical priority for updating the charts, since it is near three high-density traffic lanes separated by shoal areas and is frequently transited by large commercial vessels traveling both north to Cherry Point and Vancouver, British Columbia and south to Tacoma and Seattle. The waterways of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which have pristine environments, are important for marine transportation, recreation, and national security and defense.
Rainier, with her 50-person crew, commanded by NOAA Commander Edward J. Van Den Ameele, is expected to wrap up the project by late November.
Under beautiful blue skies yesterday in Gulfport, Mississippi, David Evans and Associates, Inc. commissioned its new 82-foot hydrographic survey and scientific vessel Blake. Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, Coast Survey’s director, welcomed the addition to the nation’s hydrographic surveying assets. DEA is under contract to NOAA to provide critical hydrographic data for updating the nation’s nautical charts.
Speaking at the Blake‘s commissioning ceremony were (left to right) Mayor William Gardner Hewes, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, and Jon Dasler, director of Marine Services, David Evans and Associates, Inc. Photo by Tim Osborn, NOAA.
Glang pointed out that, for the past 15 years, NOAA has fulfilled its charting mission through a successful partnership with private sector surveying firms.
“David Evans and Associates, who owns and will operate the Blake, has been an important partner in that effort,” Glang said. “They conducted their first survey for Coast Survey in 1999. In the last 15 years, they have completed 72 hydrographic surveys – nearly 1200 square nautical miles – in the coastal waters and bays of seven different states.”
“David Evans and Associates consistently produces outstanding hydrographic surveys for NOAA. And, they are pioneers in applying new surveying technologies and methods.”
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, who did the honor of breaking a Champagne bottle across the Blake‘s bow, spoke of the vessel’s value to the nation.
“The survey vessel Blake is an example of the skilled workmanship of our Gulf Coast shipbuilding industry. This vessel will provide an important national seagoing capability to perform valuable research for our state and nation,” Cochran said. “I commend David Evans and Associates, Inc. for its hard work in constructing a world-class research vessel that can serve our nation for decades to come.”
The custom-built Blake is an aluminum catamaran. The vessel is designed to be a stable, efficient and cost-effective survey platform with wave-piercing bows, tier-3 diesel engines, twin 50-kilowatt generators, and a full suite of state-of-the-art survey instrumentation. Built by Geo Shipyard, Inc. in New Iberia, Louisiana, the new vessel will complement the firm’s national operations and expand DEA’s hydrographic and geophysical survey and marine science capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.
The new vessel is named after the 19th century U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer George S. Blake, an oceanographic and hydrographic vessel renowned for testing innovative technologies such as the Pillsbury current meter, which was the first deep-sea current meter, and the Sigbee deep-sea sounding machine. The federal Blake was commissioned in 1874, operated in the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. The Blake’s accomplishments are documented in Three Cruises of the BLAKE, by Alexander Agassiz. The vessel had numerous seafloor features named after her, including the Blake Abyssal Plain, Blake Plateau, Blake Canyon and Blake Ridge, all of which are off the southeastern coast of the U.S.
Noting the advanced technologies onboard the S/V Blake, that were not even imagined 140 years ago when the USC&GS steamer Blake did it’s innovative work, Glang congratulated the firm on its significant contribution to the survey mission.
“I look forward to the legacy of accomplishment and innovation that the S/V Blake begins today,” Glang said, “and to a sustained partnership between David Evans and Associates and NOAA.”
For more, see this news report from WLOX TV.