New Edition of Hydro International Magazine Ready

This summer issue of Hydro International has a byline on the cover: it is a special edition on Prestigious Projects. In this special edition, we aim to present some of the most exciting surveying projects taking place right now.

Around 680 million people currently live in coastal areas – a figure that is expected to increase to one billion in fewer than just 30 years. If we stretch that area to 120km inland, this will be nearly half of the world population. These coastal communities face the growing threat of storm surges and tsunamis that can wash away entire neighbourhoods and endanger lives in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, coastal communities could also prosper because of the activities taking place at sea; for example, jobs in fish farming and renewable energies, such as wind farm construction, could replace work in traditional fisheries. The broader community inland will also experience the negative and positive impacts of these events at sea and in the coastal zone.

In this Prestigious Projects edition, we cover a selection of projects (it’s impossible to rank or show every project going on around the globe, as there are too many that appeal to our imagination to publish in this magazine). We take a look at how some renowned parties such as NOAA and NV5 Geospatial have joined forces to create a comprehensive topobathymetric elevation model of the bay and coastline of the Morro Bay coastal estuary in California (see page 20), and we try to capture the impact of the volcano eruption in Tonga (see page 11). Another breath-taking project involves the mapping of seagrass in the Bahamas (see page 26).

It is difficult not to take pride in being part of the lively and ambitious hydrographic community that is a technological forerunner at the same time. This especially because every project, whether a survey or a research project, is adding to the impact that hydrography has on a safer, greener (or bluer if you like) and more sustainable world and its seas. This pride, however, is often reserved for those who belong to the inner circle, those in the know. Hydrographic data is often overlooked and underrated in the complete scale of projects, while it is the necessary starting point, requiring a lot of effort and knowledge to ensure the quality and authoritativeness of the data in the process of acquisition to analysis. While it sometimes feels that hydrography does not receive the recognition that it deserves, as the backbone of everything that is later built on it, it is the fate of our and a few other industries and we will have to live with it.

Our conclusion is that it is often hard to see the impact that the work of hydrographers has on a project, let alone its effect in the long term on the coastal communities and the broader communities living in the zone 120km inland from the coast. So, because these effects are so hard to measure, let’s for now indulge in the projects and everything they involve: challenging circumstances far out at sea, technological developments and unexpected outcomes. Later this year, we will once again dive deep into the nitty-gritty of technology and its impact, but Prestigious Projects will do now for this summer.

Have a great read!


Download or read online here


By OCEANS 2022 Media Partner Hydro International

Unique NASA NAVY Partnership Powering OCEANS 2022

For the first time in the long history of OCEANS conferences, both NASA and NAVY are helping co-chair the conference. Both agencies have a long history of prioritizing and funding ocean science and technology programs that have obvious national and international importance. Their leadership and engagement promise to establish OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads as a uniquely effective conference of great importance to all delegates, students and professionals alike.

Navy leadership goes back to the roots of the conference, with the first OCEANS held in 1970 at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Laboratory in Panama City, Florida. At OCEANS 2022 NAVSEA, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Commander Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) Norfolk Naval Station, and other Navy organizations will share their expertise and vision toward a sustainable and secure maritime environment.

Though new to the leadership team of the OCEANS conference, NASA has been observing the oceans from space for more than 20 years. NASA launched Seasat, the first civilian oceanographic satellite, on June 28, 1978. Today there are several ocean-observing satellite missions and an extensive scientific research community studying these data. At OCEANS 2022, NASA will team with NOAA to discuss the future of Earth observations from space, including NASA’s upcoming SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography) mission and the future Earth System Observatory.

Together with NOAA and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the various municipalities in the Hampton Roads region, OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads is all about Whole of Government, collaborative research, leveraging programs, and encouraging creative thought for effectiveness with efficiencies.

Don’t miss out. Sign up now.

Uncrewed Vehicles Set Path Towards Autonomous Operations

By Ed Freeman, Managing Editor, ON&T

Media Partner of OCEANS 2022

The dawn of autonomous operations, enabled by an expanding ecosystem of A.I.-informed marine systems, is sure to dominate ocean technology headlines over the coming few years. This transition represents a clear paradigm shift for the ocean industries as operators seek to leverage breakthrough technologies in the pursuit of more efficient and ever carbon conscious ways of working at sea.



The growing trial and adoption of uncrewed marine vehicles, namely Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USVs), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and other programable platforms, reflects the appetite for solutions engineered to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the adaptive capacity of Machine Learning (ML) into standard offshore operating procedures.

The promise that unites this ecosystem of smart systems is their collective capacity to carry out relatively routine tasks autonomously and substitute for traditional in-field resources, such as expensive topside vessels, personnel, and other in-situ support.



In 2022, the industry headlines have been dominated by back-to-back high-profile product announcements and unprecedented levels of industry collaboration and public policy support, all geared towards market scalability and augmenting the navigation, range, payload capacity and function of these uncrewed vehicles.

Milestones of particular note include April’s unveiling of ORCA, a long-endurance X-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) designed and built by a Boeing/HII consortium for the US Navy, and the successful completion of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship’s Atlantic crossing in June. Both projects are emblematic of how collaboration between industry, government, and research partners is key to reimagining autonomous operations in the maritime domain.

Despite these and other recent landmark achievements, the in-field reality is that there are limitations to the current application of A.I. and ML. At present, A.I. is unable to discern things without extensive human training and supervision. Indeed, the Mayflower required two unscheduled pitstops in the Azores and Nova Scotia, decisions that demanded human intervention.



So, for the time being at least, the successful integration of autonomous operations will rely not only on the capacity of uncrewed vehicles but also on highly data-literate, supervisory roles. Where once personnel were transported offshore to execute tasks, today, thanks to failsafe communication and precise control systems, remote command is possible, resulting in operational efficiencies and diminishing CO2 emissions.

Remote Operations Centers (ROCs) represent one of the most practical gateways to autonomous operations. Whether for ocean surveillance or complex underwater intervention, operators can supervise vehicles and assume full control as necessary. This feedback between controller and vehicle is Machine Learning in real time.

The effectiveness of shore-based ROCs, alongside manufacturers’ commitment to developing increasingly sophisticated uncrewed vehicles, will set a path to automating remote operations. In time, the successful implementation of true A.I. will empower systems to determine—autonomously—when and where appropriate action is required.


ON&T’s UVBG 2022

Suffice to say, it is an exciting time to report on the development of uncrewed marine vehicles. The market has diversified considerably over the last decade, and this prompted ON&T’s editorial team to launch, back in 2015, an exclusive Uncrewed Vehicle Buyers’ Guide—a one-stop-shop for current information about commercial products, manufacturers, and services providers, worldwide. Our mission remains steadfast: to provide interested parties with a comprehensive guide to the broadening range of vehicles helping to accelerate ocean research, subsea exploration, and marine defense towards new frontiers.

Fresh off the press, welcome to ON&T’s UVBG 2022:

NASA is New at OCEANS 2022!

For the first time in the long history of OCEANS conferences, NASA is helping to lead the OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads conference.

NASA consists of its headquarters in Washington DC, and 10 field centers. Once such field center is NASA Langley located in Hampton, VA, one of seven major municipalities in the Hampton Roads region. One OCEANS 2022 co-chair, Laura Rogers, is at NASA Langley, serving as Assistant Head of the Lidar Science Branch and Associate Program Manager for NASA’s Earth Applied Sciences Ecological Forecasting program area. Laura is an advocate for Earth observations in coastal regions pushing for dynamic mission architectures and interdisciplinary research. Laura additionally serves as an Associate Program Manager in NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office, leading the development and strategic definition of emerging technologies for the advancement of Earth Science. Through Laura’s leadership, many of NASA’S ocean programs and leading scientists will participate in the conference.

In fact, both NASA and NAVY are helping co-chair the conference. Both agencies have a long history of prioritizing and funding ocean programs that have obvious national and international importance. Their leadership and engagement promise to establish OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads as a uniquely effective conference of great importance to all delegates, students and professionals alike.

Tutorials at OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads!

We’re all looking forward to resuming in-person meetings, but we’re also taking advantage of our new-found virtual meeting skills that enable broader participation. OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads is the perfect opportunity to make the best of both worlds and provide a tutorial! Tutorials are fundamental elements of an OCEANS Conference – they’re essentially special classes delivered by experts to describe the fundamental elements of a particular area of science or technology. They may be presented as either full or half-day tutorials. Tutors receive a registration discount, and participants may earn continuing education credits.

Figure 1- This buoy, deployed off Virginia Beach, is fitted with a wind profiling system to measure winds in advance of the installation of a wind farm.

With nearly one hundred standard OCEANS technical topics and Hampton Roads special topics, there are plenty of potential tutorial subjects. Over five hundred abstracts have been received, ensuring that a large audience will be in place. Also helping to draw a crowd are the many exhibitors, keynote speakers, town-halls, a new “Education Village” on the exhibit floor, and of course outstanding social events. The globally relevant conference theme, Resilient Coasts: Adapting Today to Secure Tomorrow, appeals to an ever-expanding community. Finally, the Virginia Beach Convention Center venue and the extraordinarily scenic Hampton Roads region easily draws a crowd!

Figure 2-Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, Nauticus, and the Battleship Wisconsin is the venue for the OCEANS 2022 gala.

See for further details about providing a tutorial, or email with any questions. We look forward to seeing your proposal!


Mark Bushnell

OCEANS 2022 MTS/IEEE Tutorials Committee Chair.

Honoring Doctor Larry Atkinson

The OCEANS 2022 theme – Coastal Resilience, Adapting Today to Secure Tomorrow, was the subject of the last OCEANS 2022 blog. This theme was chosen in part to honor the late Dr. Larry Atkinson, Old Dominion University.

In 2005, Larry helped start up the first ever Marine Technology (MTS) Hampton Roads section, bringing together ocean scientists and engineers from Navy, NOAA, business, faculty and students to address the maritime challenges in Hampton Roads. Eventually this led to the first ever OCEANS conference sponsored by MTS and IEEE in late October, 2012 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. It was at this conference, which preceded the arrival of Hurricane Sandy by just a few days, that climate change and sea level rise became the pressing issue of regional interest it is today.  In subsequent years, Larry brought to fruition many of the ODU initiatives he began, such as ODU’s Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI).

Larry’s leadership in climate change and sea level rise locally leveraged directly from his years of national and international leadership in integrated ocean observing that he helped pioneer with President Bush’s Ocean Commission in 2002. Two programs grew from his effort that directly support sea level rise – the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) and the NOAA-led Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Through the years, Larry provided leadership and served on many boards that supported both of these programs, in particular the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS), one of 11 such Regional Associations around the country today.

In 2014, President Obama’s administration took note of Larry’s work and asked Old Dominion University to lead a 2 year regional pilot project to address regional climate change & sea level rise issues. The pilot involved a whole of government/community approach to both mitigate short term and adapt long term to the inevitable rise in our tides and coastal flooding as the oceans warm. Many successes sprang from this effort that have led to many advances and research today, two being the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding and Resilience (CCRFR) and ODU’s Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR).

Larry Atkinson’s legacy in the ocean sciences will remain firmly intact for many generations to come.

Please join us next October when we celebrate Larry’s career at OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads.

OCEANS 2022 Celebrates Earth Month

Celebrate Earth Month with OCEANS 2022 Theme

Coastal Resilience – Adapting Today to Secure Tomorrow

The Hampton Roads region of 7 municipalities and 17 jurisdictions has long thrived on the maritime industry. The name Hampton Roads means safe anchorage. We are surrounded by water. We work and play along our many beaches, harbors, rivers, bays and ocean.

Unfortunately, sea level rise exacerbated by land subsidence and global warming has caused unprecedented flooding. Measurements from surrounding buoys has shown that for the last 30 years or so, every 5 years the average tide has risen the width of an iPhone 5, and every 10 years the length of an iPhone 5, making the US Middle Atlantic one of the most threatened areas in the world. Tidal flooding is now commonplace in many areas including the main road that leads to the largest Naval Base in the world, Naval Base Norfolk.

Three reasons are attributed to this phenomenon:

  1. Global warming has melted arctic ice, raising the sea levels
  2. The melting ice has slowed the Gulf Stream, causing water to pile up along the US east coast
  3. Land subsidence caused by the draining of aquifers.

OCEANS 2012 Hampton Roads helped initiate public conversation with various technical tracks, panels and townhalls. The following week, Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast.

As we learn to mitigate this threat and adapt for our future, we hope OCEANS 2022 will help bring the intellectual capital and research that can help Hampton Roads move forward for our children’s and grandchildren’s generations. It will take all of us, using a whole of government/whole of community approach.

Why Exhibit at OCEANS 2022?

As you have learned from previous blogs, the OCEANS 2022 conference will be back in Hampton Roads, at the beautiful Virginia Beach Convention Center, in October 2022! Your local organizing committee can’t wait to welcome you home to Hampton Roads after 10 years during which time we endured the likes of Sandy, Arthur, Hermine, Dorian, Isaias, Elsa …….. and a pandemic! We’re excitedly anticipating a mostly in-person conference this October around the ever-prescient theme of Resilient Coasts: Adapting Today to Secure Tomorrow. We are busy planning many relevant keynote speakers, panels, town-halls, tutorials, in-water demos, technical sessions, and of course fun social events to keep you busy all week.

Elizabeth Smith and the late, Dr. Larry Atkinson, view the posters in the ODU exhibit in 2012

The proximity of the OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads conference to the largest Naval Base in the world, considerable other Federal assets, and many municipalities and at-risk communities, promotes a whole-of-government and community approach to explore resilience, adaptation, and security through the lenses of the science and technology needed to advance our understanding of this issue into the next decade.

Naval Station Norfolk

Elizabeth Smith promotes OCEANS2022 at OCEANS2021 in San Diego!

We have conceived an exciting new addition to the OCEANS 2022 Exhibition (my favorite part of any OCEANS conference). In the exhibit hall, we always convene representatives from across the spectrum of government, the military, academia, business, and industry including entrepreneurs eager to learn what problems you are solving and how their technologies can help. We are so grateful to our sponsors and patrons to date (please visit them via the OCEANS 2022 web page).

OCEANS2022 Co-Chair, Dan Sternlicht and an RBR-Global representative in the RBR exhibit with a photogenic friend.

New on the exhibit floor this year will be the “Education Village.” Old Dominion University, as the Host University for OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads, invites maritime trade schools, community colleges, universities, non-profit organizations, and start-up businesses to exhibit their oceans and coastal-related research and technology capabilities. We also encourage them to promote their exciting training opportunities in the maritime skilled and professional trades, coastal engineering, marine sciences, ocean observing, and marine technologies.

For students, OCEANS 2022 will provide especially valuable opportunities to:

  • Foster and promote their involvement in technical conferences;
  • Interact one-on-one with conference attendees from the international marine research and industrial communities;
  • Develop contacts for future employment or graduate school opportunities.

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial development (photo credit: Dominion Energy)

By Elizabeth Smith

OCEANS 2022 Exhibits Chair & Coordinator

Old Dominion University

The Call for Abstracts is Out: Why Hampton Roads?

Hampton Roads is the perfect region to host an OCEANS conference and present papers on important marine research. Steeped in maritime heritage, the region comprised of 7 municipalities where 1.7M people call home is almost literally surrounded by water. Home to the largest Navy base in the world, the region has the largest Federal footprint in the United States outside of Washington DC, exemplified by the fact that almost 1 out of every 2 jobs is Federal. 11 Federal agencies call Hampton Roads home. These agencies are headquartered only 150 miles away in Washington DC. For all these reasons, this region is the perfect location for whole of government, whole of community approaches to creative solutions that challenge us, as well as private public partnerships.  All abstracts on these topics strongly encouraged.

This year’s conference theme (Coastal Resilience: Adapting Today to Secure Tomorrow) addresses one of the most important priorities of the region. Hampton Roads has been threatened for many years with recurring flooding exacerbated by sea level rise, caused primarily by

  • Global warming
  • Land subsidence
  • Slowing gulf stream

We hope that many abstracts can help the region address this challenge with the climate research ongoing throughout the world.

Another priority for the Commonwealth of Virginia is Offshore Wind and the use of unmanned systems in support of integrated ocean observing. Much progress is being made on both fronts, but we welcome all abstracts that convey creative and innovative solutions.

Finally, the Port of Virginia (third busiest along the east coast) has been challenged by the supply chain like so many other ports. We hope to have many abstracts on this topic during our conference week.

OCEANS 2012 marked the first OCEANS conference to come to Hampton Roads. The week following the conference, Hurricane Sandy struck the coast. Both events catapulted the priority of how effective mitigation and adaptation can address the ongoing threat of flooding this region faces today and tomorrow. We hope all can come and join in on the conversation so that all citizens can embrace the creative ideas that come forth from this conference, and help us better prepare for the next Hurricane Sandy.

Submit your abstracts now before our deadline May 16th.


By Ray Toll

OCEANS 2022 Co-Chair

OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads is on the East Coast Horizon

The OCEANS conference is returning to Hampton Roads after 10 years. The conference theme, Resilient Coasts, Adapting Today to Secure Tomorrow, focuses on a key priority for the 1.1 million citizens residing in the 7 municipalities that compromise the Hampton Roads region. With the significant Federal presence that exists in the region, highlighted by the largest Naval Base in the world in Norfolk, the conference will be exploring an integrated whole of government/community approach with private public partnerships to study this issue that many across the world are addressing.

Virginia Beach Convention Center

Another key aspect to this conference is how we are promoting the mutual technologies and organizations from West Coast to East Coast, springboarding from OCEANS 2021 San Diego this past September to Hampton Roads, followed in 2023 by the Gulf Coast. For example, the US Navy’s largest fleet concentration areas exist in San Diego and Norfolk, followed by the Gulf Coast. A key priority for these conferences has been an attempt to link the problem areas and challenges identified in OCEANS 21 San Diego to potential solutions in OCEANS 22 Hampton Roads. The technical tracks and exhibits will therefore follow similar themes in both.

To further the whole of government/community approach, OCEANS 22 Hampton Roads is being cochaired by representatives from NASA, Navy and Old Dominion University (Laura, Daniel and Ray, respectively). Similarly, the Local Organizing Committee and the MTS Hampton Roads section have reps from across the spectrum of government, academia, and business.

King Neptune on Virginia Beach

We therefore expect a lively and informative conference with in-water demonstrations. We look forward to seeing you October 17-21, 2022.

Virginia Beach



By Conference Co-Chairs – Ray Toll, Laura Rogers, Daniel Sternlicht

(Photos taken by Stan Chamberlain at OCEANS 2012 Hampton Roads)