How to utilise 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 has 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 utilised 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 an in-house surveying department. Surveys can also be outsourced to a specialised survey company.

The most important information from a hydrographic survey is the accurate measurement of water depth. Sonar scanners combined with RTK (Real Time Kinematics) GPS are commonly used as survey equipment, and multi-beam sonar is 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 utilisation of bathymetric data requires easy sharing

Bathymetric data is used to aid many port operations, like in maintenance and traffic departments. To be truly useful, the data must be easily accessible for everyone involved.

A cloud-based platform like GISGRO enables the easy sharing of 3D bathymetric data and includes many handy features to utilise it further in operations.

Surveyor simply needs to upload the 3D data to the platform, where it is visualised, and invite the stakeholders to access the data. Access via a web browser without separate software is easy, so the data gets immediately into use.

In GISGRO there are various tools for utilising 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


Want to know more about GISGRO?

Book an online demo meeting with our expert to discuss more GISGRO benefits for your port.

Ville Mäkeläinen GISGRO

Ville Mäkeläinen
+358 44 513 2222


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