HYDRO 2016 Paper 4B2

Finalising Baltic Sea surveys for the needs of shipping

Benjamin Hell


Reliably surveyed shipping routes at sea are a major pillar of the marine transport infrastructure and an indispensable precondition for the safety of ship navigation and transports at sea. Still, in the Baltic Sea the water depth of extensive areas used by commercial shipping traffic has not yet been mapped to modern standards, providing a full picture and precise information of the sea floor. The FAMOS project is mainly focusing at hydrographic surveying of the Baltic Sea according to the BSHC-HELCOM Revised Baltic Sea Harmonised Hydrographic Re-Survey Scheme. A collaboration between seven Baltic Sea countries, the project encompasses 15 organisations, including six national hydrographic offices.

Accurate and complete digital information infrastructure with adequate coverage is a requirement for the revolution that marine navigation is facing: Sea Traffic Management is no longer a concept but will be deployed in the near future. The European Galileo and similar positioning systems will allow for navigation with better accuracy than ever. The next generation of ECDIS will make it easy to use full-coverage detailed depth data for e.g. route planning, based on factors such as the actual Under Keel Clearance (UKC) of the vessel, its squat and optimised water depth along the route. Together these developments will significantly improve the environmental impact and economy of the shipping industry. But they all rely upon better base data.

Besides hydrographic surveys and investments into the infrastructure needed for these, the FAMOS project encompasses activities that focus directly on the benefits for the end users of this digital maritime infrastructure: The project will lay foundations for highly accurate vessel navigation optimised with regard to UKC and vessel routes. It will also improve the production chain from survey to navigational chart, in order to provide the navigators with the most relevant, complete and up-to-date information as possible.

Icon PDF file