NOAA released the NOS accomplishment Report 2002. With no shortage of notable accomplishments, here are several that closely relate to the field of surveying.
Commemorative Geodetic Markers Also Serve Spatial Reference System
NOS, in cooperation with its many partners, set and accurately positioned several permanent commemorative monuments that also serve as geodetic control points for spatial reference. The new markers include one set in Salt Lake City, UT, commemorating the 2002 Winter Olympics. Other markers denote centers of U.S. popu-lation based on 2000 census in Edgar Springs, Missouri, Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington. All of the monuments were marked with a permanent brass disk. The geographic coordinates of each location were determined to an accuracy of two centimeters through Global Positioning System observations.
Height Modernization Improves National Spatial
Reference System (NSRS)
Height Modernization is an NOS-led effort to enhance the vertical component of the NSRS utilizing Global Positioning System (GPS) surveying rather than the time-consuming line-of-sight leveling method. NOS developed new technical guidelines for utilizing GPS to determine heights. NOS sponsored forums in California, Louisiana, and Wisconsin with users of accurate height information to obtain recommendations on requirements and applications. Height Modernization is currently being implemented through $3.5M in NOS grants to state-based partners, including the California Spatial Reference Center, the Louisiana Spatial Reference Center, the North Carolina Geodetic Survey, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Puerto Rico Develops a Comprehensive Height
NOS initiated a project to help Puerto Rico construct a modern height reference system. Accurate height information is needed in Puerto Rico for topographic and flood plain mapping, numerous engineering projects, and storm evacuation and recovery planning. Partners include: NOS, private companies, federal and local agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Defense Department, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation, and the Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrimensores de Puerto Rico.
New Spatial Reference Center for Louisiana
Louisiana has the highest rate of land loss from erosion in the world. To help tackle this problem, Louisiana State University established the Louisiana Spatial Reference Center with a grant and technical assistance from NOS. The Center will work with NOS to develop a network of local Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS). The stations provide the accurate height data needed to determine land slope and water levels. The information is then used to design strategies to slow the rate of erosion.
Thousands of Miles of Coastal Mapping Completed
NOS is responsible for surveying U.S. coastal regions and navigable waters, and for providing the nation with up-to-date nautical charts. This past year, a large portion of NOS shoreline mapping centered on the Gulf coast, the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, and Southeast Alaska. These ports were included: Belmon, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and Morgan City, LA; Beaumont, Orange, and Port Arthur, TX; and Jacksonville, FL. NOS mapped the shoreline in 17 coastal areas including: the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway from New Orleans to Galveston; Aialik Bay, Kassan Bay, and Icy Bay, AK; and Necker Island, French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes, Midway Island, Kure Island, Kiihau Island, and the Gardner Pinnacles in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
Navigation Products Available on Net
NOS placed provisional Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) on the Internet for evaluation by the public. Downloads of the ENCs have exceeded 1/4 million. Historical maps and charts, the coastal maps series, and vector shoreline are also available. More than 20,000 images of charts and maps from the early 1800s up to the 1990s make up the nation’s largest digital repository of historical nautical charts, including an extensive Civil War collection, topo-graphic series, city plans, and bathymetric maps. The coastal map series is produced directly from current editions of NOS’s nautical charts with navigational symbols removed—leaving only basic topographical and hydrographic data. The vector shoreline project provides access to current coastline data extracted from NOS charts.
Hydrographic Surveys Support Homeland Security and Safe Navigation
Safe navigation through U.S. ports and waterways depends upon highly accurate nautical charts and updates to chart data, particularly for vessels carrying petroleum or other hazardous materials. In cooperation with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, NOS altered its planned 2001–2002 survey schedule after September 11th, 2001, in order to survey a number of critical ports and harbor approaches. The updates will help protect military and commercial ship routes from potential accidents and possible terrorist strikes.
New Method Improves Bathymetry Mapping in Remote Areas
NOS scientists developed a new method for processing satellite imagery to determine water depth. The technique was tested in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and is now being used by NOS to resurvey some remote reefs as part of an updated nautical chart for that region of the Pacific. The new methodology provides an inexpensive way to rapidly determine water depths in remote locations while maintaining charting standards.