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.
By OCEANS 2022 Media Partner Hydro International