Ports, harbours and marinas all need to ensure safe and efficient usage of the waters they are responsible for, and so need to have a good knowledge of water depths in areas where vessels operate. Whilst a full multi-beam survey, or at least the use of side-scan sonar, is the only way to identify individuals such as large boulders, wrecks or old submerged piles, and a multi-beam survey provides the highest level of accuracy and coverage, crowd sourced bathymetry can often provide valuable data in a much more cost effective way.
Crowd sourced bathymetry can be ideal for these waters, as there is generally a high density of boats and ships in the area to collect data, and the operator can reach out to this local community to participate by logging data whilst at sea. If they publish the results, this is of direct benefit to boats in the area, and helps create a collaborative or community spirit between the authority and the mariners in its waters.
In many locations, the sea bed is changing, whether because of large scale movements in the harbour such as silting from a river, or much more localised silting and scouring in berth areas. By having users of the area log and contribute data to TeamSurv, there is effectively a continuous resurvey. Data can be time sliced to detect and monitor changes to navigable depths in channels and in berths. This can be used in its own right, or it can be used as pre-survey data to better define the timing and coverage of a professional multi-beam survey in more critical areas. This optimises the use of the survey budget, and can also minimise the time that berths are out of service due to survey operations.
The authority is also generally responsible for significant areas of water that are not used by vessels. Whilst knowledge of the depths in these areas is useful in understanding and monitoring the area, this can be to a lesser level of accuracy than the more critical navigated waters, and this can be built up and monitored by the harbour's workboats, as well as small craft operating in the area.
If you are interested in discussing how crowd sourced data may be able to used in your port, harbour or marina, please get in touch.