HYDRO18 – Wrap Up
HYDRO18’s theme ‘The Climate for Change – Hydrography in the 21st Century’ led delegates to consider how best to future utilise the science of hydrography to adapt to climate change, resource sustainability and renewable energy requirements. The event took place at Jones Bay Wharf, Sydney and was a jam-packed schedule of mingling, learning, discussing, debating and celebrating all things hydrography and marine related.
Topics covered over the three days included strategic direction and policy, to operational activities, details of advanced and emerging technologies and how the role of a hydrographer is changing.
A key take-away message from the conference was how much more we can achieve by using data in many other applications by adopting a mantra of “collect once, use many times” and “collaborate, collaborate, collaborate”. The AusSeabed national seabed mapping coordination program is a great example of gathering data sets for the common good and an initiative PHS is proud to be affiliated with. Furthermore, the RAN with the HIPP (Hydrographic Industry Partnership Program) is aiming for a diverse range of data collection from the HydroScheme projects.
In Neil Hewitt’s dinner speaker address he stated,
“Hydrographic surveyors work all over the ocean, from ports and coastal zones to the deep offshore, with a prime opportunity to gather data in their day-to-day activities that scientists need to study the effects of climate change. There needs to be a change in thinking to take the opportunity to expand the scope of data collection and data sharing from all areas where hydrography takes place.”
“We need to encourage and fund all ports and harbours regardless of size to monitor and share hydrographic and met ocean data. We need to encourage all organisations that operate offshore and in the marine environment to share data and possibly take the opportunity to collect ancillary observations which may be beneficial to climate change research.”
It was also clear we need to facilitate a change in perception of the value of hydrographic services. Some experts have highlighted that if the export of iron ore out of Port Hedland (in the north west of Australia) was stopped for any reason, with up to 100 million dollar’s worth of material exported on each tide, the effect would be seen on the Australian Stock Exchange. This would also likely ring true for coal and gas exports. The point is, hydrography plays a significant role in keeping these ports open by minimising risk, managing the underwater infrastructure and met ocean activities. Subsequently, exports are maximised, adding to our nation’s prosperity.
As an industry, we need to shout far and wide the importance of hydrography, including the importance of early consultation in any marine infrastructure project, the importance of qualified and certified hydrographic surveyors and the information we provide about seabed environment/s, the importance hydrography has to safety of life at sea, and the importance it has to our national economy.
The hydrographic industry is still a misunderstood and underrepresented science. As a collective, we need to engage Australia’s youth, in particularly school aged students, and alert them to the opportunities our industry provides and get them excited about the wonders of hydrography. We are a technological advanced industry and so what better way to entice youth with highlighting the significant developments in autonomous technology with AUV, ASV and Gliders.
In 2019 we look forward to continuing our involvement, support and attendance at industry events with the SSSI, AHS and related bodies and encourage you all to do the same. We figure the more involvement we have with one another, the greater outcomes we can achieve and the more well-known our industry’s profile can become.