TeamSurv News



The IHO's CSB Workgroup met in Rostock, Germany on 7/8 November. I couldn't get there for the meeting, but participated remotely, thanks to Google Hangouts.

Most of the activity in the meeting was centered on producing the IHO's guide book to crowd sourced bathymetry, which also links in to extending their existing DCDB repository for research vessel tracks to include crowd sourced data. In the background, NOAA are also extending the DCDB portal to incorporate crowd sourced data. The underlying model is that a number of "Trusted Nodes" - of which TeamSurv will be one - contribute data to the repository, thereby relieving the IHO from the burden of recruiting and managing vessels. But this also means that the success of the project depends very much on their being organisations willing to act as an (unpaid) trusted node, gathering data and donating it to the IHO. Much of the earlier work has centered on the technicalities of what data to collact, and what format to use to upload it to the DCDB. This time there was more focus on the role and activities of the trusted nodes, and the legal aspects of what licences will be in place between data logger, trusted node, the IHO, and downloaders of the data. Thankfully the data will be made available under one of the Creative Commons licences, and there will be much more clarity over licences and data ownership than there is with other initiatives, such as GEBCO.

It will be interesting to see how the repository works in practice. How much effort will go into recruiting vessels and keeping them active? Also, at TeamSurv we have found that most of our contributors don't want their tracks released, whereas the IHO's approach is that all of the tracks are made available, preferably with full information about the vessel (though if the vessel donates data anonymously, it can easily be identified by matching its tracks to one of the AIS services). The guidebook will be released as a preliminary draft for feedback at the end of the month, and it will be interesting to see what reception it receives. The good thing is that, even if the IHO's initiative doesn't get many vessels donating data, it does legitimise the use of crowd sourced data to national Hydrographic Offices - only NOAA (USA) and SHOM (France) are active in the workgroup, with the rest of the activity coming from players like ourselves and Olex.