Understanding the marine environment and its habitats is fundamental to ensuring any activities on or near the water are undertaken with consideration. Hydrographic surveyors collect the data that provides this in-depth understanding.
Surveys for environment and habitat mapping are a method of gathering information about the ecology of a site. The essential piece of information collected is the habitat type to which a particular area can be assigned. Habitat types are determined by reference to a system of habitat classification, which must be clearly identified. The location and extent of different habitat types that are present at a site are mapped to provide a clear spatial record.
The data collected by hydrographic surveyors is reproduced into maps and spatial modelling tools such as ArcGIS. The detailed maps are used to describe the environmental conditions, while spatial modelling tools map the environment into similar physical conditions.
Having a solid understanding of the distribution, structure and extent of seabed habitats is important for their protection. It improves the preservation and protection of our natural maritime surroundings when marine infrastructure is developed.