Earthquake, dolphins and big data - the challenges in Hydrographic Surveying

S. Caie, B. Wallen (New Zealand).


In 2016, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) completed an
evidence-based, risk-led assessment (LINZ, 2016a) of the accuracy and adequacy of nautical
charting in New Zealand. The results identified Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory
Channel / Kura Te Au as areas of heightened risk. LINZ, in partnership with Marlborough
District Council (MDC), developed a programme of work to carry out hydrographic surveys
for safety-of-navigation and scientific purposes. This collaboration was a first for both
organisations. The survey requirements called for a variety of deliverables, in a number
of areas, on a variety of dates. Given the size of the survey area (440km2), the number of
water users, time constraints, inquisitive dolphins and large volumes of data, the project
posed some known challenges. Throw in an earthquake and the challenges increase. Managed
overall by LINZ, the prime contractor was the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric
Research (NIWA), who will deliver all the science components. Discovery Marine Limited
(DML) was sub-contracted to provide the hydrographic survey compo-nents, which included
the provision of the Surveyor-In-Charge and the delivery of safety-of-navigation
components. After wading through the vast dataset, final survey deliverables have now been
received and accepted by LINZ. The data will be used to update the charts. This article
describes the rationale behind the survey and discusses the challenges encountered during
the project.

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