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

March 29, 2017

Hello Coast Survey,
I asked Captain Rick Brennan to share his thoughts on the U.S. Hydro 2017 Conference.


Hi everyone,

I am just returning from a week at the U.S. Hydro 2017 Conference in Galveston, Texas, where I joined many of our colleagues to present the latest happenings in NOAA hydrography. It was also a great opportunity to learn more about what projects and technologies other organizations and partners are involved in. The timing of this conference could not be better as the start of our hydrographic survey field season is fast approaching, with a planned 2,183 square nautical miles to be surveyed by our NOAA hydrographic fleet and contractors.

What was clear to me at this conference was that NOAA and our contracting partners continue to lead the community in our thinking and innovation. Whether it is the hydro health model, bathymetric database, autonomous survey vessels, chart template tools, laser scanning shoreline, or techniques for identifying geoid errors using Ellipsoidally referenced surveys—NOAA continues to lead the way.

At the conference we projected our vision for the future. RDML Smith presented our plans to participate in the Seabed 2030 initiative that seeks to map the world’s oceans over the next 13 years. We described our risk-based approach to prioritizing surveys and showed innovative ways we are able to produce raster products from our vector data. All of these efforts show a bright future for our program.

We also painted a picture of the process changes underway here in Coast Survey. For instance, the National Chart Plan and the proposed re-scheming of our chart suite—underway in the Marine Chart Division—is uniquely tied to efforts in the Coast Survey Development Lab and the Hydrographic Surveys Division to develop a Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure that includes a bathymetric database which will support this new chart suite with harmonized and consistent bathymetry.

This was an exciting week that highlighted the amazing efforts that Coast Survey is working on. I couldn’t have been more proud of our team that presented in every session and lightning round. Well done!

Captain Rick Brennan
Chief, Hydrographic Surveys Division