Article

Dream

For many of us it wasn’t the year we expected. The world is in turmoil. Economies still shaky and the oil prices at the lowest level for years. Many companies have cut back – not just the big ones active in offshore oil & gas, but also the smaller ones that have survey ships lying in harbours instead of being out there at sea – and have been forced to lay off loyal employees. It’s difficult to see this period that may have struck as lighting for a lot of professionals in hydrography coming to an end anytime soon. It is such a shame that a technological, forward-looking industry is suffering – especially for those who have lost their jobs or saw their companies shrink or even disappear, while they should be thriving with new ideas and opportunities. But… let’s not be too pessimistic, we’re on the brink of a new year, which might bring us new chances, new technologies, and even new companies…

2016 could be the year that Lidar and satellite bathymetry and crowdsourcing come to maturity and that autonomous surface vehicles are fully deployed all over hydrography. We are in good company, as Captain Shep Smith from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects the same. We interviewed Cpt Smith in this issue of Hydro International (see page 12). He works as hydrographer and Commanding Officer of the NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson. His story is one from the heart of one of the world’s largest chartmakers and thus, user of massive amounts of hydrographic data. Smith does indeed see enough room for new technologies, but refers to the fact that discrepancies from the different sources is quite high and return survey is therefore often needed. NOAA also has another optimistic forecast. In his Insiders View column on page 6 Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA, US Hydrographer and respected member of our Editorial Advisory Board sees chances for the hydrographic industry to develop products for precision navigation while vessels are becoming increasingly larger and navigation in narrow ports & harbours increasingly more difficult.

There’s way more in this last issue of Hydro International of 2015, but I would like to highlight both Glang and Smith because they share our optimistic view on hydrography. This can provide some support to those that are little more pessimistic because of developments over the past year, to look past the turn of the year and dream with the two Americans of a 2016 with lots of enthusiasm and energy!

 

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