Exceptional experiences at the 60th Marine Measurement Forum

Hosted by iXblue at Land Rover BAR’s striking headquarters in Portsmouth, the 60th Marine Measurement Forum (MMF) brought together more than 80 delegates from the ocean community for an all-day programme of presentations and networking opportunities.

The day began with welcome coffees and teas on the BAR Flight Deck and an opening address from David Cunningham, iXblue’s sales director Northern Europe. Keith Wallace of Blue Ocean Monitoring then kicked off the morning’s first session of presentations with a talk on the use of autonomous underwater gliders in geochemical exploration surveys for the oil and gas industry. The topic of autonomous platforms was continued by SeeByte’s Pedro Patron, who discussed data management approaches for long-term deployments of underwater platforms, and then James Cowles of ASV Global, who explained the challenges involved in the use of ‘over-the-horizon’ autonomy.

After a short networking break, Michael King from Bibby HydroMap began the morning’s second session highlighting recent developments that have enabled Bibby HydroMap’s clients to reduce costs whilst increasing the validity of their datasets. James Titcomb from iXblue went on to present an introduction to sparse array and acoustic synthetic baseline positioning, followed by an analysis of results from field operations during a deepwater project in West Africa. Philip Bishop of Fugro EMU closed the session with a look at Fugro’s scour monitor systems for offshore and nearshore assets.

Refreshed from a lively and enjoyable networking lunch, the delegates sat down for the first afternoon session, which was opened by Roger Scrivens of the MMF Steering Group with news of the Group’s recent activities. John Fraser of Norbit UK then gave a presentation on the challenges of designing and operating modern sonar equipment, and explained why “tiny technology is now big in bathymetry”. In the next presentation, Torstein Pedersen of Nortek explained how advances in electronics and the ability to get Doppler and inertial sensors to operate in greater unison have helped Nortek to improve its DVL design. Jenny Boyd of Geomatrix Earth Science led into a networking coffee break with an overview of a project at a Mexican cruise ship terminal where a combination of acoustic current meters, Aid to Navigation transceivers and Automatic Identification System communications has been providing incoming vessels with accurate real-time current information to assist in the safe approach to the terminal.

The day’s final session was opened by Will Bakewell of Land Rover BAR. Drawing on the experience of Land Rover BAR’s participation in the 2017 America’s Cup, he treated the audience to an introduction to technical aspects of the competition, and a detailed look at how measurements of the marine environment were used during the event. Lt Cdr Marc Taylor of the Royal Navy was next up to give an insight into the infrastructure development and operational aspects of bringing the Royal Navy’s largest warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, safely into her home port of Portsmouth for the first time. Also from the Royal Navy, Lt Cdr Mark Raeburn then gave a presentation on a new fleet of modular, multipurpose workboats being developed for the Navy by Atlas Elektronik UK. The last talk of the day was delivered by Dr Alex Beaton from the National Oceanography Centre who showcased a new family of miniaturised lab-on-chip (LOC) chemical sensors for autonomous ocean science; having been tested in several diverse environments, the sensors are now at the commercialisation stage.

An informative and successful MMF was brought to a close with a tour of Land Rover BAR’s award-winning, state-of-the-art facilities.