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

March 15, 2017

Hello Coast Survey,
I asked Captain E.J. Van Den Ameele to take up the pen this week to share his vision for the lab.


Greetings everyone,

It is great to be back with the Office of Coast Survey, and I am especially honored to be able to lead the great folks in the Coast Survey Development Lab and the important work that we do. Since arriving, I have been spending my time getting up to speed by meeting with the front office leadership, the lab’s branch chiefs, project teams, Technical Director Neil Weston, our Deputy Chief Julia Powell, and many of our partners in the commercial sector. From these discussions have emerged a number of key areas which the lab will be working to advance, a few of which I wanted to share with you today:

  • Precision navigation: This is a focus on continuing to improve the accuracy and timeliness of our navigation products and services to support increasingly greater tonnage vessels operating with minimum underkeel clearance in highly restricted waterways. This is an exciting area of opportunity, as it brings together all of the work we do in the lab, including developing more precise forecast models for water level and current information, the need for more precise positioning and greater accuracy of hydrographic surveys, and rapid distribution of high resolution gridded bathymetry and contours to support navigation systems.

  • Unmanned systems: We will continue to explore the use of a wide range of unmanned systems, including autonomous survey vessels, optionally manned vessels, and small autonomous boats for shallow water surveying, to improve the effectiveness of our data acquisition.

  • Data centric systems and workflows: We will be working to develop the tools needed to ingest data from an expanded variety of sources, manage it in a centralized way, and deliver it efficiently to support the creation of our charting products and services.

These are just a few of the areas we’re working on in the lab to support the Coast Survey mission, and we’re always open to suggestions and good ideas from all of you about the next great thing we should be exploring.

Captain E.J. Van Den Ameele
Chief, Coast Survey Development Laboratory