It goes without saying that every mariner wants access to charts that are as accurate as they can be for the area in which they’re navigating. Much of the charted depth data currently being used originates from sources that are often many decades old and gathered by simplistic methods that provide a fraction of the accuracy attainable by more modern equipment
The cost of carrying out full professional bathymetric surveys these days is
Raw data of a week’s worth of logging around the Channel Islands
prohibitively expensive, resulting in them only being undertaken for major new projects or in waters most commonly used by commercial shipping. Thankfully, today there is a way that we, as users of the sea, can help improve charts immeasurably in our favourite fishing, diving and sailing grounds, with next to no additional effort or financial outlay.
Crowd-sourced data collection might be fairly new to some of us, but it’s undoubtedly the way forward when it comes to improving the accuracy of information we all need for safe navigation.
Geo-survey specialist and marine software development organisation, TeamSurv, has launched a community-based project to enable all of us who use the seas, whether for pleasure or work, to effortlessly share valuable bathymetric data with the International Hydrographic Office and other relevant marine authorities, enabling them to produce the most recent chart updates in areas that might not have had a full survey for nearly a century, if at all.
Each vessel’s input is bundled together with a host of other data resources to create an overall picture of the seabed in any particular area. Once the logged data is received by TeamSurv, the information is filtered and processed through a powerful computer that also adds other satellite-derived depth and tidal data into the mix, before extracting bathymetric data accurate enough for hydrographic authorities to incorporate into its nautical charts.
If your vessel has a depth sounder and a GPS then you too can take part in this hugely beneficial project. All that is required for you to be able to participate in the quick and simple DIY installation of one of TeamSurv’s smart data logging modules that continuously records your GPS position and depth data.
Currently, TeamSurv will loan one of its USB data loggers free of charge to anyone who wishes to participate in the project, in return for a commitment to upload the recorded data occasionally. This merely requires you to remove the USB stick supplied with the logger from time to time, plug it into any computer with a USB port and Internet access, and upload the collected information to its database with a few simple mouse clicks.
This spring TeamSurv will also be launching a Wi-Fi version of its data logger that will be able to transfer the recorded data directly onto a smart device such as a tablet or smartphone. This will not only make uploading easier but will also enable the user to view all of the data available within their NMEA-0183/2000 instrument network on a free app available from TeamSurv. Although there will be a one-off charge of £99 for this Wi-Fi device, the app and all future software updates will be totally free.
Additionally, all participants will have access to their own tracked data, which, once processed by TeamSurv, will be made available for you to view online or download and view locally on the app.
Initially, TeamSurv is concentrating on the Channel Islands, Balearics, Waddensee and Mauritius, which are its ‘base platform’ trial areas. But it will be expanding worldwide next year, so they’re happy to provide loggers for anyone who’s interested, regardless of where they’re cruising to. It already has some in the Antarctic and a few other ‘out of the way’ places! It also has a few other technical launches to come later this year, including NMEA-2000 compatibility and the ability to transmit the recorded data over AIS, so it will be an evolving process.
If you are interested in helping to take marine cartography to another level and would like to participate in this project please go onto the website www.teamsurv.com for further details, including equipment compatibility information.
Alternatively, if you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact Fleet Manager, Shannon McGinley ([email protected]), or call TeamSurv on +44 (0)1865 582711.