How to Utilize Bathymetric Data in Port Operations?

Ports are required to support the safe navigation of vessels. To do this they perform regular hydrographic surveys in the port’s areas such as channels or berths. The International Federation of Surveyors have published the Guidelines for Hydrographic Surveys in Ports and Harbors, in which the hydrographic surveying methodology is described in detail. We represent the technology only briefly in the first chapter. Bathymetric data can be utilized in various port operations, which we discuss later in this article.

Hydrographic surveys are everyday operations in ports

Siltation reduces the depth of water in harbors, so bathymetric information is needed to plan the suitable intervals of dredging, for example. Port’s risk analysis is used to determine the frequency of surveys, which in larger harbors are usually done by in-house surveying department. Surveys can also be outsourced to a specialized survey company.

The most important information from a hydrographic survey is the accurate measurement of water depth. Sonar scanners combined to RTK (Real Time Kinematics) GPS are commonly used as the survey equipment, multi-beam sonar becoming more popular due to its better resolution. The end products of the survey are for example sounding sheets or volumes to be dredged.

The easy utilization of bathymetric data requires easy sharing

Bathymetric data is used to aid many operations of the port, like in maintenance and traffic departments. To be truly useful, the data must be easily accessible for everyone involved. Cloud-based platform like GISGRO enables the easy sharing of the 3D bathymetric data and includes many handy features to utilize it further in operations.

Surveyor simply needs to upload the 3D data to the platform, where it is visualized, and invite the stakeholders to access the data. Access via web browser without a separate software is easy, so the data gets immediately into use. In GISGRO there are various tools for utilizing the hydrographic data, for example:

1. Compare different datasets to detect changes
2. Calculate volumes to plan the dredging
3. Use automatic contours and soundings to check the safe navigation

So put the bathymetric data to work and try GISGRO for yourself by starting a demo!


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