In this last issue of the year, I would like to look ahead to 2018, but also to the years beyond. While 2017 was still a struggle for many in our industry, it feels good to dwell a little on a bright future to come after this period, especially in these very dark months in our part of the world. I would like to do that with the new Secretary-General of the International Hydrographic Organisation Mathias Jonas. Hydro International interviewed the Secretary-General for this issue. Mathias Jonas has been in touch with IMO and IHO since the nineties and therefore appreciates the importance of global cooperation. Jonas feels that the international component is currently even more important, because new promising technology is peeking around the corner to fill the gaps of our image of the Earth. The IHO might see its 100th Member State join just before the centenary anniversary in 2021. The Member States seeking to join are motivated to invest in hydrographic activities, according to Jonas, not just for the purpose of extended economic exploration, but also for the purpose of sustainable use of blue resources. In Jonas’ view the new S-100 framework will put hydrography in the middle of the spectrum. Data from meteorology, oceanography and hydrography come together to form a large database integrating information from the seas. Together with improved connectivity at sea through broadband that will make autonomous operation possible on a much larger scale than today, the possibilities to survey, acquire, process and analyse will be way bigger. The project in hydrography and oceanography looking ahead furthest is the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project. It aims to create a definitive map of the World Ocean floor by 2030 to empower the world to make policy decisions, use the ocean sustainability and undertake scientific research based on detailed bathymetric information of the Earth’s seabed. It is not completely clear who coined the phrase ‘digital aquarium’ but Jonas is using it now and so am I: the digital aquarium will be filled with data – a lot of that data coming from hydrography - and after that it will become possible to fish in this aquarium to support business cases of smart entrepreneurs everywhere after the model of GIS is used everywhere. Together with the digital image of the complete seabed we will live in a totally different world than we do now. Mathias Jonas held a keynote at Hydro ’17, the yearly conference of the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies held on the SS Rotterdam, from 14-16 November 2017. In a business where companies are still suffering, some more than others, and where hopes are still not too high, Jonas brought some optimism to the delegates by outlining his views for the future, in much the same way as he does in the interview in this Hydro International. This optimism, together with the optimism shown by the young with a high number of students visiting Hydro ’17 last week, makes it feel good to close this last editorial of 2017 in that same atmosphere: looking towards a bright(er) future!
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