A series of one-day, non-profit making events that provides opportunities for the informal exchange of ideas, knowledge, techniques and developments across an extensive range of marine scientific measurement activities.

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MMF64 and Coronavirus

MMF64, due to be held in Plymouth in June 2020 has been postponed to an, as yet, unknown date in 2021.  Further news will be announced when known.

MMF 63

Unmanned systems loom large at MMF 63

From basin-wide acoustic monitoring systems to unmanned surface vessel (USV) survey and data gathering operations, great in-roads are being made into how much we know about the oceans.
Some of these progressions were shared at the 63rd Marine Measurement Forum (MMF) held in late September 2020, hosted by underwater technology specialist Sonardyne International Ltd at the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) museum in Hampshire. The event was chaired by Sonardyne’s Geraint West – Global Business Manager, Oceanographic – and highlighted how an increasing amount of work is being performed using USVs and also via basin-wide collaborative monitoring efforts and new sensor developments, enabling researchers and industry to sense more with single platforms.Speakers included representatives from (all UK) the Nekton Foundation; AutoNaut; the National Oceanography Centre; Chelsea Technologies; the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS); Plymouth Marine Laboratory; HR Wallingford; the National Physics Laboratory; R&V Hazlewood Associates; Sonardyne International and, from Ireland, XOCEAN.
The diverse programme is only selectively reviewed here and opened with Phil Johnston, AutoNaut’s Business Manager, discussing his company’s involvement in the Ocean Cleanup project. An AutoNaut USV is being used to monitor a 600m-long boom with a skirt that’s being developed to gather up plastics floating on the ocean, such as in the 1.6 million sq km “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. Phil reported that the project’s aim is to have 60 systems operating globally.
Dr David Pearce from CEFAS explained how his organisation is assessing the benefits of the Liquid Robotics (USA) autonomous Wave Glider to enhance its work monitoring marine fish stocks and zooplankton. The Wave Glider, named “Lyra”, has been deployed on several long-duration missions and, as Dr Pearce commented “Fish is big; it’s feeding people and there’s a lot of work to be done”.
James Ives, CEO of XOCEAN reported on the use of USVs for another industry – oil and gas production. “XOCEAN is an ocean data company,” James told the event, “we collect and sell data. We just use something different to collect that data; USVs.” Successfully completed contracts to date include projects for the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency, BP and the PX Group.
Away from the sea environment, Neil Crossouard from HR Wallingford outlined the usage of its two-person deployed, 2m-long ARC-Boat to survey inland waterways and ports/harbours. Neil outlined a project to trial sonar and assess different grades of positioning and motion compensation systems, so that the optimum instrumentation is used based on a survey’s requirements, including testing performance going underneath a bridge when satellite links were lost.
A testbed to further prove emerging marine autonomous systems and marine technology innovation is growing around the south coast of England with the launch of Smart Sound Plymouth. Dr James Fishwick, from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, updated the audience with news that Smart Sound covers >1000 sq km of authorised and de-conflicted water space in water depths down to 80m and expanded on the recent commitment to acquire comprehensive baseline monitoring equipment and systems.
The MMF audience also heard about Nekton Foundation’s ‘First Descent’ mission in the Seychelles and the use of Sonardyne International’s ‘BlueComm’ to broadcast live news bulletins to the world from manned submersibles subsea.
Marine noise monitoring, multi-parameter fluorometers, harbour wall overtopping detection and studies of ground waves caused by offshore construction operations were amongst the topics covered by other presenters during the duration of the forum.
MMF63 was held at Farnborough Air Science and Technology museum in Farnborough, a site which preserves history with archival and buildings dating back to 1906 including a 24ft wind tunnel, later upgraded to be transonic.
Sadly, the 64th MMF, scheduled to be part of the Marine Tech Expo in Plymouth June 2020, has become a victim of the Coronavirus pandemic and will be rescheduled for a future date. For further news in that respect, please keep an eye on this site.

MMF Overview

If you are keen to keep in touch with what’s happening in the world of ‘marine measurements’, wish to network with those shaping the future and want to hear about the latest projects and technologies, you should be an attendee at the Marine Measurement Forum.

The Marine Measurement Forum (MMF) is a series of one-day, non-profit making events that provide excellent opportunities for networking and the informal exchange of ideas, knowledge, techniques and developments across an extensive range of marine scientific measurement activities. During an MMF ‘day’ a series of short presentations on diverse marine measurement topics are interspersed with refreshment breaks that offer delegates the chance to network with like-minded colleagues. Attendees typically include scientists, surveyors, engineers and business people from a variety of organisations including research centres, academia, manufacturers, survey companies, consultants, monitoring authorities, dredging companies, port authorities, oil companies, societies, etc. Each MMF is normally hosted within southern England with occasional excursions to other parts of the UK.

Format: An MMF covers a single day although it may well be accompanied by some form of social event the evening before. Ideally the average attendee will be able to travel to and from the venue on the same day. Frequency is targeted at 6 monthly intervals.

Steering Group: An ad hoc Steering Group comprising four regular MMF attendees with considerable experience within the Marine Measurement sector, is charged with guiding the fortunes of the MMF series.

Attendees: All who have an interest in the subject matter (specifically or generally) are welcome to attend.

Host Organiser: A volunteer host is appointed for each MMF. This host, supported whenever required by the Steering Group, will be responsible for compiling the programme for the day, advertising it to the MMF membership and promoting it to the appropriate market places. Hosts are appointed by the Steering Group. Detailed ‘Guidelines for MMF Hosts’ are provided by the Steering Group. If you wish to discuss hosting an MMF, please send an email to the Steering Group.

Presentations: A number (typically 12-15) of 15-20 minute presentations will normally form the bulk of the day’s proceedings. As noted above, it is the host’s responsibility to invite, select and schedule the speakers with the target being to provide a programme offering a balance between scientific research, instrumentation, survey projects, etc. It is preferred that overtly sales based presentations are avoided. The success of the MMF series is founded on the varied range of presentations and that, in turn, is a reflection of the volunteer speakers. The host will monitor the market place for new developments, projects etc to encourage speakers with novel tales to tell. Some hosts like to ‘theme’ either the whole event or individual sessions. Traditionally, the final programme is announced at least 2 weeks before the event date. A report on the day’s proceedings will subsequently be incorporated within this website and distributed via our normal media outlets.

Venue: The choice of venue lies with the host but is normally selected to be easily accessible to the majority of the attendees. A typical venue will be capable of accommodating between 50 – 100 attendees, offer ample parking, incorporate all normal audio/visual presentation facilities and be capable of providing refreshments, inc lunch.

Cost: The MMF is a non-profit making series. The target attendee price is £40-50 which normally includes the provision of light refreshments. The attendee charge is set by the Host who is responsible for all financial transactions relating to the event.

Web site: This MMF site (www.mmf-uk.org) hosts general and specific information regarding the MMF series. When known it will also provide a link to the web site of the next MMF host.

Announcements: Email is the core medium for circulating information about the MMF and a mailing list is maintained and used to distribute information regarding each event. Additions to the list can be made via the website. Regular MMF information is also distributed via International Ocean Systems journal and the electronic newsletters OceanBuzz, Challenger Wave and the e-Bulletin issued by the Hydrographic Society UK.

Future Marine Measurement Forum Events

The MMF Steering Group welcomes enquiries regarding the hosting of future MMFs. Presently we have hosts booked for events MMF64 through to MMF66 as scheduled below:

MMF64: Hydrographic Society UK/Plymouth MTE, TBC
MMF65: ecoSUB
MMF66: RS Aqua

This schedule will be updated with date, venue, registration and host contact information at regular intervals.

Farewell Astrid

MMF Steering Group bids fond farewell to Astrid Powell

Astrid Powell

At the 59th Marine Measurement Forum (MMF), attendees witnessed the retirement of longstanding Steering Group member Astrid Powell who was presented with a bouquet of flowers to mark the occasion. Astrid was one of the four founder members of the MMF Steering Group which was formed in 2005 to oversee and guide the fortunes of the series. Having retired recently from her role as publisher at Underwater World Publications Ltd (publications include International Ocean Systems and Underwater Contractor international), Astrid felt that the time was right for her to make way for new blood within the Steering Group.

The MMF Steering Group is delighted to announce that Astrid’s place has been taken by Helen Atkinson who is quaintly described as Operations and Publications Manager at The Hydrographic Society UK but is known and respected by members and non-members alike as the person who makes sure all the Society’s many activities run smoothly.

The other Steering Group members, Andy Smerdon, Aidan Thorn and Roger Scrivens, wish Astrid a well-earned, happy retirement and offer a hearty welcome to Helen.