NOAA
Office of Coast Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

November 9, 2016

Hello Coast Survey,

I try to avoid having my communications to you sound like a travelogue, but I can't resist sharing a couple of stories from my trip to California last week.

First, I was proud to lead the delegation of Coast Survey folks to the ESRI Oceans Forum, where I was joined by Ashley Chappell, Patrick Keown, Allison Wittrock, Michael Bogonko (UNH), Michael White (UNH), and Evan Robertson (NCEI). In the few years since Coast Survey started using ESRI broadly, we have developed some deep expertise, and integrated it into several mission-critical functions. Our participation really showcased our role in the larger GIS community of practice at NOAA and the ocean community. ESRI continues to develop new tools that open new opportunities for us to grow with the technology in the coming years. Thank you for all the hard work during this enterprise-wide transition.

Second, I visited the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where we have a testbed project in place to optimize the "environmental intelligence" we provide to the ships, pilots, and marine exchange to help them improve the efficiency of the ports. I am pleased to report that their integration of the high resolution bathymetry with PORTS, weather, model, and wave data into a decision support tool for planning ship movements into and out of the port is now complete. In Long Beach, they are working with the captain of the port to ease the blanket draft restriction of 65 feet to allow them to bring in deeper draft ships based on a quantitative risk management system. The first milestone is anticipated for January, where they plan to bring in the first 66 foot draft tanker. They anticipate additional draft increases as they become more comfortable with the system. Each additional foot of draft means millions of dollars of additional capacity. Thanks to all of you who worked with our Foundation Four partners to get this project off the ground.

Lastly, on Friday we celebrate Veterans Day on the anniversary of the armistice ending World War I, 98 years ago. Please take a few minutes to thank your colleagues, friends, and family members for their service to our country to preserve our values and way of life.

Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith
Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith

The Commerce Data Academy is offering a free Intro to Data Analysis course on November 16. Information on this and other courses can be found on the Commerce Data Academy's website.

Esri is offering a free course on Going Places with Spatial Analysis. This six week course begins November 9.


The NOAA GIS Committee is conducting an internal survey to identify how it can better serve the NOAA geospatial community. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FRZGLX8


Registration is now open for the 2017 Esri FedGIS Conference. This conference will be held February 13-14, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Registration is free for federal employees and contractors.