Software for Hydrographic Surveying - 16/03/2011


Lourdes Evans HYPACK, Inc.

In 1981, after working with the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office as a field hydrographer and completing a graduate business degree, Pat Sanders founded ’Coastal Oceanographics’. The purpose of the company was to provide hydrographic consulting for companies with large hydrographic survey contracts.

As a part of his consulting practice, Sanders wrote Fortran-based programs to manually enter raw hydrographic data to produce smooth sheets. His first ‘portable’ computer was a 40 pound, Columbia Data Systems machine with 640 kilobytes of RAM, a 10 megabyte hard drive, and a yellow monochrome monitor. By 1987, he and a few colleagues had developed an entire suite of software. At the time, most hydrographic survey systems required expensive hardware, so Sanders decided to assemble his own group of programs and offer it for sale. Thus, HYPACK (Hydrographic Package) was offered for sale to the surveying world.

Steady Growth
HYPACK’s debut came at the Oceans 87 IEEE/OES and Marine Technology Society conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, Coastal Oceanographics’ (CoastalO) stand was located directly across from industry leader Comstar. Conference attendees only showed minor interest in the product. A year later, in 1988, HYPACK, Inc. sold its first HYPACK. Two more packages were sold that year. The next year, sales rose to 14 packages. The fledgling business has now grown from a one-person operation to a company with over 20 employees that sells two to three HYPACK packages every business day.

The key to his firm’s success was the original decision to support the PC platform as the data collection and processing platform. The improving price and efficiency of personal computers quickly made them preferential to the older survey systems, and interface cards permitted surveyors to use a wide variety of equipment. In 1992, CoastalO was among the first to create a Windows-based hydrographic survey package. Even while others believed Windows would not allow for accurate time-tagging of survey data, CoastalO was proving them wrong. HYPACK for Windows quickly gained industry approval for its flexibility and easy user interface.

Customer Service
Another facet to the company’s success was its customer service. While other software providers were reluctant to make changes to programs and deal directly with clients, HYPACK made helping customers a top priority. In this vein, CoastalO was among the first software manufacturers in the industry to provide a computer bulletin board service. Users could now upload problem files and download solutions in the same day, as well as view the website for product updates and technical notes. In 1993, CoastalO also began the practice of holding ’users’ conferences, which gave users a low-cost opportunity to train employees, and allowed Coastal to get feedback on what users thought of the product. The first conference, held in Atlantic Beach, Florida, brought in 97 attendees. The annual USA HYPACK Seminar now attracts more than 400 surveyors and 40 hydrographic exhibitors. The HYPACK Seminar is now held in 15 countries every year.

As more and more of our clients referred to the company as simply ‘HYPACK’, the company officially changed its name to HYPACK, Inc. In 2004, HYPACK, Inc. moved to its current location: a 10,000 square foot office in Middletown Connecticut.

Continuous Improvements
Improvements to the HYPACK package continue as we strive to keep abreast of industry trends and new equipment. New products for the dredging industry (DREDGEPACK), Side- scan, Sub-bottom, ADCP and topographic laser support have been added to the roster. As sales continue to be strong, and the company continues to improve its products, HYPACK, Inc. appears to be in a good position for the future.

HYPACK, Inc. has been serving the marine and hydrographic community since 1984. With over 25 years of experience and 6,000 users worldwide, HYPACK, Inc. has become a leading developer of hydrographic and dredging software in the industry.


Last updated: 24/02/2020