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Crowd-sourced surveying in England, Scotland and Wales

TeamSurv, a hydrographic surveying project that uses crowd sourcing, has secured the cooperation of the ports of Milford Haven (Wales) and Weymouth (England), and is doing a recruitment drive on the West coast of Scotland.

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Vessels of all types and sizes, from large tankers to small workboats and yachts, are being recruited to log data from their GPS and depth sounder, and upload it to the TeamSurv web site where it is corrected for things like tides, and then fed in to help produce enhanced maps of the bathymetry (depth of water) in the covered areas.

The Port of Milford Haven (Wales) is conducting trials with TeamSurv over the coming six months. The Port carries out regular professional surveys within the buoyed channels but other areas are less frequently surveyed.

About 1,200 small craft are based in the port, which is visited by 600 commercial fishing vessels a year and a number of commercial ships. TeamSurv aims to recruit as many vessels that are based in or regularly use the port as possible. It says that trials will complement the current survey regime and provide additional early detection of areas of silting.

“The size and variety of the port, from oil and gas tankers near the entrance through to the extensive nature reserves and waters for the leisure user mean that it is ideal in demonstrating the value of the TeamSurv concept to ports and harbours,” said Tim Thornton, founder of TeamSurv.

Weymouth (Dorset) will also be conducting trials over the coming six months, to better map the waters in and around the harbour.

Weymouth is situated on a bay at the mouth of the River Wey on the English Channel coast. There are some 600 yachts in the harbour, 90 commercial fishing vessels and charter boats, and the Condor Ferry.

“It is typical of the many smaller harbours around the country, with most users being yachtsmen and fishermen, and some commercial traffic. This makes it ideal in demonstrating the usefulness of TeamSurv in ports and harbours,” said Mr Thornton.

Whilst the Harbour Authority carries out annual professional surveys in the river, approaches to the port are seldom surveyed, says TeamSurv, adding that its continuous surveying of the river will allow early detection of changes in depth, whether silting around the moorings, or scouring from the Condor Ferry’s propellers.

Meanwhile, TeamSurv is doing a recruitment drive on the West coast of Scotland over the coming six months.

Caledonia MacBrayne is fitting loggers to a number of their ferries, and leisure, fishing and workboats will also be taking part in the project, says TeamSurv, which is aiming to recruit other vessels.

It says that parts of the west of Scotland were last surveyed before GPS, sometimes using a leadline.

It adds that knowing the sea depths in the area will help improve navigation safety, ensure sustainable fisheries, and monitor silting and coastal erosion.

Last November, TeamSurv was awarded a place at the Business Incubation Centre (BIC) at Harwell, Oxford by the European Space Agency (ESA).

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