The Present

The small team of managers, surveyors and cartographer has continually improved the planning of its surveys and the production and distribution of its charts, the software presently used allowing the rapid processing of the digital data, collected by the survey launches, into fair charts.

A typical example is the handling of a channel monitoring survey, for instance, of the Sunk Dredged Channel or the Upper Humber channel, which may be carried out during a three to four hour "tidal window," during which the survey launch crew would log digital position and depth data.

On returning to dock, the digital survey data and running sheets are handed over to a surveyor and the data is then edited in order to remove any depth or positional errors, utilising the analogue echo trace for quality assurance. The tidal data obtained from gauges relevant to the survey is then also edited and the whole survey processed in order to select soundings and plot them at the desired scale on the required chart background.

At this point, usually about an hour into the processing of the survey and invariably running in parallel to the production of the chart in its final issued form, decisions can be made as to whether it is necessary to prepare a broadcast for our Vessel Traffic Services (VTS Humber) radio station to warn of shoaling in the navigable channel, or any other information which needs to be passed to the marine community.

Concurrently, a preliminary view can be obtained of any floating mark moves, which may need to be planned - this applies mainly to the upper Humber. Utilising the cad system, the chart is then prepared for publication by adding contours, floating marks (with their proposed moves if applicable), ships course etc: and finally clipping any overlaying data to produce the fair chart.

When the chart is finished, a digital version is archived and also entered into the HIS (Humber Information System) to be available for pilots to view and copy for personal use; if necessary multiple copies of the paper chart are then produced and distributed.

This whole process can be, and often is, carried out within a working day from start of survey to final chart distribution, with urgent reaction to the survey being possible within an hour or so of the collection of data from the launch. Dock surveys are now routinely surveyed, processed and forwarded to UK Dredging (a division of ABP), who have responsibility for "in dock" dredging, in a matter of hours. The same system is also used to transfer all annual survey data to the UKHO (United Kingdom Hydrographic Office) at Taunton as soon as each section is completed, as well as any regular monitoring surveys which show changes applicable to their local admiralty charts.