Thursday, 3 November 2011

INIS-Hydro Project

INIS-hydro is a 3 year INTERREG IVA Programme with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in the UK as lead partners. The project brings together 7 partners to conduct hydrographic surveys in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The partners are the MCA, Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), Marine Institute (MI), the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the Scotish Association of Marine Science (SAMS), the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO).

The surveys will be undertaken in Dundalk Bay, Carlingford Lough, Dundrum Bay, the Firth of Lorn and South West of Islay by several different vessels drawing on expertise from the various partners. The bathymetric data will deliver 3D baseline maps using multibeam echosounder technology which will be freely distributed. The project also plans to harmonise hydrographic survey specifications and synchronisation for future surveys.

Areas of seabed to be mapped during the INISHydro project

These surveys comply with the partners obligations under the Safety of Life at Sea conventions and will be augmented with auxiliary scientific data collected in conjunction with the bathymetric data. Details of the project can be found on the website at

The project is essential as the current nautical charts for these areas were produced largely in the 19th century and whilst they were an enormous achievement for the surveyors of their day, these charts are not as reliable as their terrestrial counterparts and warrant updating. The territories to be mapped in the INISHydro project encompass important navigation channels, areas of environmental interest and potential sites for marine renewable energy - it also involves a very significant level of cooperation, bringing together so many partner organisations.

INISHydro partner organisations

In September 2011, three vessels were mobilised to Dundalk Bay to begin mapping the Irish territory – the RVs Keary and Geo were supplied by the GSI and RV Celtic Voyager was provided by the MI.

RV Celtic Voyager

RV Keary

RV Geo

The Voyager carried out bathymetric mapping up to the 10m depth contour, while the Keary and the Geo were assigned to shallow-water mapping up to the 5m and 0m contours, respectively.

While the Voyager operated out of Howth, Co. Dublin, on a 24-hour basis the Keary and the Geo were based locally, carrying out surveys in daylight hours and mooring at Port Oriel overnight.
This was also the location of a tide gauge for the duration of the survey, along with a GPS base station which was deployed at a private residence nearby. The tide gauge provided a record of the tidal changes in the area throughout the survey, which is necessary as the bathymetric data must be corrected for the resulting rise and fall of the survey vessels during their operations. The GPS base station was used to improve the positioning accuracy of the survey data during processing.

Total survey coverage for Dundalk Bay during the 2011 survey.

In addition to bathymetric data, the Keary and the Voyager recorded a sub-bottom profile along each survey line using shallow seismics. East of Dundalk, an interesting channel-like feature was observed in the data, which requires further geological analysis.

Sub-bottom profile showing channel-like feature east of Dundalk Bay

Channel-like feature visible in the Keary's bathymetric data as dark blue strip

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.