Integrating innovative technologies for automated hydrography

Mr Mick Hawkins

Fugro Australia Marine Pty Ltd, Kidman Park, Australia

Understanding our ocean environment and the production of nautical charts for the safety of navigation has long been the key role of hydrographers.  Whilst the requirement for this role has not changed for hundreds of years, there is a growing a need for up to date information for not only hydrography, but to also to help sustainably manage the seas and marine resources, and protection our coastal infrastructure.  Hydrographic and oceanographic information is constantly being called upon to help manage the challenges of climate change and urbanization in coastal communities.

Emerging innovations see data collection becoming increasingly autonomous with missions being undertaken over vast areas and detected features being automatically identified.  In the near future data collected will be transferred in close to real time to a cloud environment.   Techniques to process the data will be increasingly automated with the use complex algorithms and Artificial Intelligence is now emerging.

As the need for information is increasing, the technologies used for data collection are increasingly innovative. The data collected once, is now used many times. Fugro is pioneering in this future and helping to ensure the hydrographic community will continue to have the capability to play a role in managing the environment and resources to contribute to a liveable world.

This presentation will look at the development, integration and implementation of Fugro’s innovative new approaches to hydrographic data collection utilising remotely operated and/or autonomous vessels and drones, automated data processing and how they have proven to provide benefits to the industry.


Hugh Parker is a hydrographic Surveyor and the Product Owner for Fugro’s Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) for hydrographic services. Hugh graduated from the University of South Australia with a Degree in Geoinformatics and Surveying, began working with Fugro as a surveyor, undertaking hydrographic surveys worldwide using Airborne LiDAR Bathymetry technology in 2001.  In 2007, Hugh undertook and completed his post graduate diploma in the FIG/IHO Category A certified course specialising in Hydrographic Surveying at the University of Otago in New Zealand.  Following this, Hugh then managed hydrographic surveys for Fugro in Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Hugh has also had roles in Fugro’s Business Development Manager for Hydrographic Survey services, prior to his role as the Product Owner for Fugro’s Autonomous Surveyor solution.

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