Datum is such an important foundation in all spatial sciences yet our primary vertical datums are all based on the most dynamic and tempestuous area on earth – the sea. Precision Hydrographic Services have recently completed a large-scale nautical charting project in Backstairs Passage, where a challenging aspect of the project was the adoption of old datums and the establishment of new ones. This presentation discusses the project and those challenges.
Datum is such an important foundation in all spatial sciences yet our primary vertical datums are all based on the most dynamic and tempestuous area on earth – the sea. With an ever-changing climate, the measurement of sea level, how it changes, and how that affects our vertical datums has never been so important. In hydrography, vertical datum gets even more complicated with varying tidal amplitudes and patterns, and an important part of a hydrographic survey project is to ‘most accurately’ establish or retrieve a vertical datum.
Precision Hydrographic Services have recently completed a large-scale nautical charting project in Backstairs Passage, South Australia. The project was part of the Australian Hydrographic Office’s HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program and involved two vessels acquiring data over a period of two months, the installation of tidal and current measurement sensors and processing and analysis of several terabytes worth of data.
One interesting aspect of the project was the establishment of chart datum throughout Backstairs Passage and linking it with the existing chart datums used by Flinders Ports and the Bureau of Meteorology for tide predictions. Because of historic established datums in the area, the project had a mixture of adopting old datums and establishing new ones and attempting to link them all together to achieve a result that was relevant.
Backstairs Passage has several key maritime stakeholders and its importance to the South Australian Blue Economy cannot be underestimated. With this project, PHS has contributed valuable information to the understanding of the area, and improved safety of navigation for years to come.
Mr Dylan Colson (Precision Hydrographic Services)
Time & room
1:45 pm–2:15 pm
City Room 3
Date & venue
Friday 17 September 2021 at the Adelaide Convention Centre