Surveying the Canadian Arctic aboard the icebreaker Henry Larsen

An image of the survey crew standing in front of a survey vessel aboard the deck of the icebreaker .

Annie Raymond, a member of one of NOAA’s navigation response teams, spent time in late summer aboard Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) icebreaker Henry Larsen in the Canadian Arctic with the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS). Her time aboard the ship was part of an exchange program designed as an opportunity for the Office of Coast Survey and CHS to gain exposure to each other’s field operations, particularly highlighting challenges for Arctic operations. Throughout the experience, she observed similarities and differences between Coast Survey and CHS data acquisitions and operations.

Continue reading “Surveying the Canadian Arctic aboard the icebreaker Henry Larsen”

NOAA contributes to Empowering Women in Hydrography through at-sea experience, part 6

An image of NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

The Empowering Women in Hydrography project is a global effort led by the International Hydrographic Organization and Canada that seeks to initiate, organize and track a series of activities and initiatives which will enable more women to participate equitably in the field of hydrography and to assume leadership roles within the hydrographic community. NOAA is contributing to the project via an ‘at-sea experience’ on NOAA hydrographic ships for three women each year over the lifespan of the project. After a global call for nominations, three women were selected to join NOAA ships for the 2023 survey season. Lt. Lucía Cattana, from the Argentine Naval Hydrography Service, joined NOAA Ship Nancy Foster from 5 to 10 July 2023, while conducting surveys off the coast of South Carolina.

Continue reading “NOAA contributes to Empowering Women in Hydrography through at-sea experience, part 6”

NOAA’s updated hydrographic survey specifications now available for public comment

A draft of the new Hydrographic Survey Specifications and Deliverables document from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is now posted to the Federal Register, where it will be available for public comment until October 12, 2023. All interested parties are encouraged to review the draft and provide feedback via the instructions provided in the Federal Register Notice.

Continue reading “NOAA’s updated hydrographic survey specifications now available for public comment”

Surveying the Pribilof Islands, from Pathfinder to Fairweather

Two images of Pathfinder and Fairweather lined up side by side.

By Lt. Taylor Krabiel

In the 1950s, U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) Pathfinder surveyed the Pribilof Islands with the latest technologies to chart previously unsurveyed waters and bring the islands into a common datum with the mainland. Fast forward 71 years and NOAA Ship Fairweather continues this work. Despite the decades and technologies that separate the two ships, they share many commonalities in their mission and their surveying techniques.

Continue reading “Surveying the Pribilof Islands, from Pathfinder to Fairweather”

NOAA Ship Fairweather surveys the remote Pribilof Islands

Northern Fur Seals on the beach of St. George as Fairweather navigates the thick fog in the background.

By Lt. Taylor Krabiel

The Pribilof Islands are remote and isolated, located in the Bering Sea roughly 280 nautical miles north of Dutch Harbor Alaska. The economy and community are reliant on the surrounding ocean, while the islands themselves provide shelter for vessels working in the Bering Sea. Accurate nautical charts are not only integral to safe navigation and delivery of goods and services for the community, but also to commercial fishing and crabbing. The last major survey of the area was conducted from 1951 to 1954 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel Pathfinder. However, much of the shoreline around St. George remained uncharted. The Fairweather’s surveys of the islands will provide modern bathymetric data for updating NOAA’s charting products in support of navigation safety.

Continue reading “NOAA Ship Fairweather surveys the remote Pribilof Islands”

Historical Hydrography on the St. Mary’s River

An image of NOAA's Bay Hydro II on the water with the Echoboat 240, uncrewed system in the foreground.

By Riley O’Connor

In November 1633, the Ark and the Dove set sail from the Isle of Wight—an island off the south coast of England—carrying English and Irish settlers bound for the new colony of Maryland. By January 1634, both vessels arrived at the Island of Barbados and began heading for the colony of Maryland. These settlers sailed into the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, and eventually, the St. Mary’s River.  They stopped roughly 12 miles (19 km) northwest from Point Lookout, where the Potomac River enters the Chesapeake Bay. This group of settlers would go on to found Maryland’s first European settlement and future provincial capital, St. Mary’s City.

Continue reading “Historical Hydrography on the St. Mary’s River”

NOAA contributes to Empowering Women in Hydrography through at-sea experience, part 5

A series of images showing Victoria Obura acquiring data on a survey launch, standing on the bridge of NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, and preparing to board the survey launch.

The Empowering Women in Hydrography project is a global effort led by the International Hydrographic Organization and Canada that seeks to initiate, organize and track a series of activities and initiatives which will enable more women to participate equitably in the field of hydrography and to assume leadership roles within the hydrographic community. NOAA is contributing to the project via an ‘at-sea experience’ on NOAA hydrographic ships for three women each year over the lifespan of the project. After a global call for nominations, three women were selected to join NOAA ships for the 2023 survey season. Victoria Obura, a Hydrographer from Survey of Kenya Hydrographic Office, joined NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson from 12 June to 23 June 2023, while surveying offshore Galveston, Texas.

Continue reading “NOAA contributes to Empowering Women in Hydrography through at-sea experience, part 5”

NOAA contributes to Empowering Women in Hydrography through at-sea experience, part 4

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson tied up at the Port of Galveston before departing for its survey leg.

The Empowering Women in Hydrography project is a global effort led by the International Hydrographic Organization and Canada that seeks to initiate, organize and track a series of activities and initiatives which will enable more women to participate equitably in the field of hydrography and to assume leadership roles within the hydrographic community. NOAA is contributing to the project via an ‘at-sea experience’ on NOAA hydrographic ships for three women each year over the lifespan of the project. After a global call for nominations, three women were selected to join NOAA ships for the 2023 survey season. Lt.j.g. Liezel Bastez, a hydrographer surveyor from the Hydrography Branch under the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) of the Philippines, joined NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson from 27 May to 9 June 2023 while surveying the Gulf of Mexico Galveston, Texas.

Continue reading “NOAA contributes to Empowering Women in Hydrography through at-sea experience, part 4”

Nippon Foundation/GEBCO scholar joins NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

An image of Thomas Jefferson's survey launch 2903.

By Rebecca Formanek

Staring off into the seemingly infinite blue horizon something inside me asks, what secrets lie beneath the last frontier of this planet? Three weeks aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson showed me I am not the only one to think this. The talented individuals that comprise the crew of Thomas Jefferson demonstrated the range and dedication to discovering these secrets, and I thank them for sharing their time, knowledge, and experiences. If there is anything that can unite a diverse group of people, it is the sea.

Continue reading “Nippon Foundation/GEBCO scholar joins NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson”

What does the age of the survey mean for nautical charts?

Vintage of Alaska survey

Alaska’s nautical charts need to be updated — we all know that. The diagram below shows the vintage of survey data currently used for today’s charts in Alaska. The graphic includes all surveys done by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (and its predecessors), and some limited data acquired by other agencies, i.e., the U.S. Coast Guard. Areas that are not colored in have never been surveyed or have data acquired by another source — from Russia or Japan, for instance — before the U.S. was responsible for charting in that area.
Continue reading “What does the age of the survey mean for nautical charts?”