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FarSounder joins NOAA in seafloor mapping project


FarSounder, a U.S.-based marine electronics manufacturer specializing in underwater acoustics, has recently joined the International Hydrographic Organization’s Crowd-Sourced Bathymetry (CSB) initiative by becoming a “trusted node” with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This collaboration is aimed at making the world’s waterways a safer place to navigate.The project enables mariners to voluntarily contribute seafloor depths measured from their vessels to NOAA’s data repository.

It is an ideal partnership, according to FarSounder, given that its customers regularly travel to remote areas using FarSounder 3D sonar systems. With its latest software feature, Local History Mapping (LHM), users have the ability to create real-time charts of the seafloor and collect bathymetric data. Contributing these LHM data-sets to the IHO Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry (DCDB), hosted by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, will allow worldwide use of the data for a variety of purposes, including in the assessment and production of nautical charts in all waters.

“To truly fill the gaps in seafloor mapping, we need bathymetric data contributions from everyone, not just traditional survey vessels,” stated Jennifer Jencks, director of the IHO DCDB.

FarSounder has recently begun a pilot project that will allow select customers to submit their standard single-beam echosounder (SBES) depth measurements, recorded along with other navigational information through FarSounder’s SonaSoft software, to the IHO DCDB database. If the vessel operators agree to contribute their location and depth measurements, hydrographic offices (HO) will have access to these data sets when updating and maintaining charts in these areas. One major benefit of vessel operator’s CSB contributions is the HO’s improved ability to provide an accurate diagram for all mariners to follow.

Data contributed to the DCDB will be automatically archived and made freely available through the IHO DCDB Data Viewer for commercial, scientific or personal use.

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