PD Ports Streamlines Use of Hydrographic Data

PD Ports is streamlining the way it shares hydrographic data by using GIS software from Cadcorp, a British software development company focused on geographic information system (GIS) and web mapping software. 

Teesport is a major deep-water complex and one of the largest container ports in the North of England; handling around 40m tons of cargo per annum. Our first priority is to ensure the safe movement of the considerable amount of river traffic handling this cargo,” said Captain Jerry Drewitt, Harbor Master for Teesport and Hartlepool.

We rely a lot on hydrographic survey charts which provide an up-to-date record of the depth of the river in berths, approaches, and channels. Until recently, our survey department not only carried out hydrographic surveys, but also produced the associated charts. This is changing as we have come to recognize that having surveyors spend time on creating cartography was an unnecessary step in the sharing of hydrographic data, and was actually delaying data publication.“

Captain Drewitt added: “Hydrographic charts don’t only depict depth data. They also show topography and contextual data about features and boundaries along the river. The position of these features and their attributes, tend to be relatively stable – certainly when compared to the constantly changing topography of the riverbed. We wanted the survey department to concentrate on recording this more dynamic hydrographic data. The less dynamic data – topography, assets, boundaries, Admiralty Charts, Ordnance Survey MasterMap, and aerial photography – can be managed as separate overlays in our GIS, Cadcorp SIS Map Modeller.

“We now create composite hydrographic charts by displaying the hydrographic data the surveyors capture, against whatever reference layers are appropriate for a task in hand. This is done in the knowledge that all features will be represented in their true location. We now take XYZ soundings directly from the survey department; drag and drop this data into the Cadcorp GIS, and pass it through a simple filter to indicate three categories of depth zones. Red indicates where the river is too shallow, blue where it is OK, and white where it too deep.“

The outcome of these changes in working practices is to allow the Harbor Master to share information with the Vessel Traffic Service and pilots much more quickly than would have been the case.