Past Events

This section contains details of past events.  You can also view Roger Scrivens’s presentation on the first 50 Marine Measurement Forums here.

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.

62nd Marine Measurement Forum, hosted by Fugro

Fugro hosted the 62nd Marine Measurement Forum on Wednesday 17th October at their Wallingford HQ. The event was held in the main atrium with impressive stage and exhibition facilities provided by OW Exhibitions. With approx. 60 delegates, Anthony Gaffney, Global Metocean Service Line Director, welcomed attendees to Fugro House, whilst master of ceremonies Alastair Stagg introduced the programme of 11 presentations.

The first talk of the day was given by Thomas Dhoop from Channel Coastal Observatory (CCO) who presented a coastal wave atlas for England based on the CCO programme’s wave buoy network. Thomas shared information on the project within which Fugro has ongoing support involvement with maintenance of the buoy network. The next presentation was delivered by new additions to the ABPmer team, Robin Stephens and Paul Clement, who focussed on monitoring and modelling the hydrodynamics of Southampton Water. Rounding up the first session saw Mark Burnett and Guilermo Jiminez from Seiche, discussing the company’s range of sound field characterisation services. Mark and Guilermo fielded an array of questions on the application of the technology and data usage.

The forum then broke for networking, cake and coffee.

After the break Ketil Horn, from Nortek, discussed “Combined measurements of physical oceanography and biology using ADCP’s”. Ketil showcased some exciting new features found within ADCP data sets and invited the audience to identify ways in which the newly unveiled features could be applied to research and monitoring programmes. Finishing off this small sub section on current monitoring, Elizabeth Paull from Sonardyne presented a talk on current measurements acquired via PIES (Pressure Inverted Echo Sounder). Faced with the challenge of staving off a hungry audience before lunch, Terry Sloane delivered an lively presentation, sharing Planet Ocean and EcoSUBS’s visions for the future of AUV Technology.

Lunch offered the opportunity for more in-depth networking, supplemented by an optional tour of the Geohazard core logging facility. Delegates were also invited to guess how many pieces of Lego were contained in a jar for the chance of winning a Lego Fugro vessel.

After lunch Roger Scrivens, speaking on behalf of the MMF Steering Group, updated the audience on plans for MMF 63 through to 65 in 2019 and 2020. Then, Matt Geen, travelling in from his office on Lake Annecy, for ITER Systems, discussed Interferometric Sonar. With images of his fantastic office location matching interest in his presentation, Matt answered many questions from a very attentive, bathymetric focussed, audience. New member of the L3 ASV team Jordan Thomas then presented the ‘Innovate UK ARISE Project’, in a very lively manner, with musical accompaniment. The audience raised a host of post presentation questions for Jordan, on technology developments, payload and deployment procedures. Laurent Jaunet then gave the only ‘in-house’ presentation on behalf of Fugro, partnered with the displayed model Geowing. Laurent discussed developments in sub-seabed object detection and application for UXO surveys.

After another quick coffee break Chris Almond, from BibbyHydroMap, continued the autonomy theme delivering a presentation discussing the role of “Autonomy in the future of the survey industry”. It was then left to Paul Ellis of Kongsberg to deliver the closing presentation of the day providing an update and overview of the Geopulse Compact, sparking interest from many delegates.

The forum was then closed by Alistair Stagg, who thanked the committee, presenters and members of the organising team. The winner of the Fugro lego vessel competition was announced as Tony Youell (Aquatec). Attendees were then invited to join a tour of Fugro’s world class Geotechnical labs and Metocean facility.

To conclude the day, delegates broke for a well-deserved final networking opportunity at the Old Post Office in Wallingford.

61st Marine Measurement Forum at the National Physical Laboratory

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) located in Teddington, United Kingdom, hosted the 61st edition of the Marine Measurement Forum (MMF) which bought together a strong turnout of 67 delegates from industry, academia and professional bodies from across the UK, as well as many international attendees from countries such as Poland, Norway and Canada.

Thirteen attendees presented to the forum, with the presentations grouped into three sessions, each session chosen by related topic. This provided a fantastic opportunity for a number of the presenters to refer back to other presentations, indicating how relevant and beneficial this meeting has been for bringing marine measurement professionals together. Presentations included topics such as: hydrophones (both deployment methods and characteristics), surveying in the oceans and coastal regions, the use of satellite data and the importance of accuracy, and even unexploded ordinance and the importance of using the correct techniques to search for these in proposed renewable development sites. The day was finished with a tour of NPL’s open water calibration tanks and the Acoustic Pressure Vessel before the day came to a close.

Nick Crawford, a Research scientist in NPL’s Ultrasound and Underwater Acoustics group, chaired the meeting and said ‘The MMF is such a fantastic opportunity to bring so many people from the field of marine measurement together and I’m very grateful to all those who have attended, presented, and helped in the organisation and delivery of such a great day. Feedback from delegates has been very positive with the presenters, attendees, and exhibitors all relishing the opportunity to connect with fellow industry professionals and visit NPL open water calibration tanks and the Acoustic pressure vessel, the whole day was a great success.’

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.

Full House at MMF59

Our 59th meeting took place on Friday 7th July at the BP Upstream Learning Centre in Sunbury-on-Thames and was hosted by The Hydrographic Society UK (THS UK).

Amongst the eleven presentations topics included Crowdsourced Bathymetry, Safe Fishing in UK Waters, the use of Marine Mammals as Observation Platforms and a look at a completely new Biofouling Technique for the Marine Environment. A full report on the day’s proceedings along with presentation downloads (as available) will be published here in due course and announced via the normal media outlets.

All present agreed that the sell-out event was a great success combining a diverse programme of presentations with an excellent venue. Congratulations are offered to the organisers, The Hydrographic Society UK.

58th Marine Measurement Forum – September 2016


Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) hosted the 58th Marine Measurement Forum (MMF) over a two day period in mid-September when delegates were afforded the opportunity to visit the wide range of marine science facilities that Plymouth has to offer ahead of the seminar itself. On 14th September attendees were invited to join the PML hosts at the Plymouth University Marine Station for tours of the station’s facilities and the research vessels of PML, Plymouth University, the Marine Biological Association and Sonardyne Ltd.  This provided a great opportunity to showcase the wealth of local collaborative resources that the area offers to both marine science and industry.  As is usually the case the sun was shining in Plymouth and a well-attended evening BBQ, hosted by PML, concluded an enjoyable day allowing great networking opportunities.


The main MMF event was held the next day in PML’s modern conference facility.  With approximately 70 delegates present Professor Stephen de Mora, PML’s Chief Executive, welcomed attendees and introduced the impressive programme of thirteen presentations.  The first talk of the day was given by Elizabeth Paull from Aquatec Group who discussed applications for underwater optical communication devices.  Following Elizabeth was Robert Camp from SAHFOS, who presented on the use of a Flow Cam Macro for rapid quantification and identification of zooplankton captured on their suite of Continuous Plankton Recorders (CPRs).  To round up the first session Carlos Campos from Cefas presented a satellite based approach to monitoring harmful algal blooms and water quality for shellfish farming.  After the first of the day’s productive networking breaks the second session commenced, focusing on autonomous systems for data collection. Sam Forbes, RS Aqua, showcased integrated sensors for fisheries’ applications using a Liquid Robotics autonomous Wave Glider.  Continuing the theme of unmanned surface vessels Mike Poole from AutoNaut and Phil Johnston from Seiche presented their collaborative work on autonomous passive acoustic monitoring.  They were followed by Jim Gardner from Valeport   who reported on interesting local applications for the RapidCast system which enables underway acquisition of high resolution speed of sound measurements.  The concluding talk of this session was given by George Graham from SAHFOS, who discussed his work in integrating additional autonomous sensors to the laboratory’s fleet of aforementioned CPRs.

After lunch Roger Scrivens, speaking on behalf of the MMF Steering Group, updated the audience on plans for MMF 59 through to MMF 61 in 2017 and 2018.  Lucy Maclennan, Fugro EMU, then presented work that the company had completed on a Poole Bay nearshore replenishment trial followed by Stuart Slade, Sonardyne, who provided an update on the company’s capabilities in seabed geodesy.  To round up this session, Martin Bishop from Emeritus Solutions reviewed his work on thermionic valves and underwater acoustics.  After another boisterous networking break Stephen Taylor from Geomatrix opened the final session by presenting on a Heuristic Tidal Advisor which turned out to be a novel method for tidal prediction. Then Jim Gardner, Valeport, returned to the stage for his second presentation of the day when he reviewed a recent local tidal surge, which caused the sinking of several small boats in a Plymouth marina.  Jim’s detective work led him to conclude that the likely source of this surge was a series of large thunderstorms moving up the English Channel.  The day’s final talk was given by Tim Smyth from PML who presented some recent work on autonomous monitoring of ship’s emissions.

The programme was closed by PML’s James Fishwick who had headed up the organising team. He thanked all the speakers for what had been a very interesting and informative series of presentations.  Attendees were then granted the opportunity to tour PML’s many areas of interest including the new state-of-the-art single cell genomics facility (a joint project with the University of Exeter); the mesocosm facility; the seawater hall, highlighting some of PML’s plankton research; and a high level overview of the work of PML’s world-class remote sensing group.

MMF57 – a great success in Wallingford

On Thursday March 3rd, more than 70 marine industry professionals assembled at HR Wallingford’s offices in Oxfordshire for the 57th Marine Measurement Forum. The day encompassed 15 technical presentations, multiple networking opportunities, enticing warm muffins and a tour of the on-site test & trial facilities.

Following a warm welcome from HR Wallingford’s Chief Executive, Dr Bruce Tomlinson, the first session, chaired by Dr David Todd of HR Wallingford, was opened by Dr Chris Minto of Optasense. His presentation outlined a new method for measuring wave height and tidal flow from seabed-mounted fibre optic cables using Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS). Tom van der Vlugt, Radac B.V. continued with the wave theme, explaining how FMCW radar can be used to measure wave heights, periods, directions and more. Professor Paul Taylor from the University of Oxford followed with a talk on advances in measuring the shape of waves in both deep and shallow water.

After a coffee break and some fresh pastries, Dr José M. Alsina from Imperial College London opened the second session by examining how modern physical modelling laboratories are making measurements of coastal sedimentary processes and exploring the advances and limitations in instrumentation for measuring sediment transport. HR Wallingford’s Dr Jon Taylor then presented on the procedure for measuring dissolved oxygen (DO) and the reasons why DO should be an important consideration when planning and executing dredging works. Charline D’Hoekers, IMDC nv, presented on a time series of field observations of scour made using a frame attached to a jacket foundation, before Louis-Robert Cool, dotOcean nv, rounded off the discussion on sediments by looking at a new technique to determine the thickness and strength of underwater sediment layers.

After a well-received buffet and some lively lunchtime discussion, Dr James Sutherland opened the afternoon session, chaired by Dr Jon Taylor, with a short introduction to the new EU-funded Hydralab+ project. This was followed by Dr Sean Gaffney, NOC Liverpool, who provided an introduction to the Marine Environmental Data Information Work (MEDIN) project which promotes the smart storage and sharing of oceanographic datasets. James Cowles, ASV, explored the potential for autonomous surface vehicles (ASV’s) to be used as passive acoustic monitoring stations in cetacean research and was followed by Peter Dobbins from Ultra Electronics Sonar Systems, who presented on turbulence and the positives and negatives of shadowgraphs, including their ability to (sometimes) see great distances. The first afternoon session was rounded off by Martin Stemp from RS Aqua who discussed his company’s new acoustic release and passive acoustic recorder units.

Following afternoon refreshments and more networking opportunities, the final session of the day commenced with Tom Hill, Titan Environmental Surveys, who spoke about the challenges and triumphs in charting and surveying a reservoir in Tajikistan. This was followed by a talk from Valeport’s Jim Gardiner who showed some excellent results obtained in Plymouth Sound using an autonomous winch to deploy a CTD for salinity and sound velocity mapping. The concluding presentation was provided by Ted Read, Ohmex Ltd., who introduced the HyDrone Remote Controlled Vessel (RCV) which aids in conducting bathymetric surveys. At the end of the day, all attendees were invited to take a tour of the HR Wallingford physical modelling hall and UK Ship Simulation Centre, with a chance to see the world-class Fast Flow Facility up close!

Dr David Todd, chair of the event, closed the day by thanking all of the speakers, adding “it is great to have so many interesting topics and candidates from such diverse fields of expertise all in one place.” Delegates expressed great satisfaction with the day’s proceedings and thoughts turned immediately to MMF58 which will be hosted by Plymouth Marine Laboratory on 14-15 September 2016.


Presenter Presentation
Dr Jose M Alsina Laboratory measurements of coastal sedimentary processes
James Cowles Using autonomous surface vehicles for passive acoustic monitoring
Charline D’Hoekers Scour measurements around jacket foundations C-Power
Peter Dobbins & Mark Spivack An acoustic shadowgraph to sense underwater turbulence
Sean Gaffney Improving data sharing amongst the UK marine community
Titan Environmental Surveys The challenge of hydrographic surveyingand charting in Tajikistan
Ted Read HyDrone RCV remotely controlled vehicl
Martin Stemp Repurposing products
James Sutherland HYDRALAB+
Jon Taylor et al The monitoring and interpretation of dissolved oxygen data for dredging applications
Paul Taylor et al The average shape of large waves in shallow water, and what do buoys actually record?
Tom van der Vlugt Observing the ocean by FMCW radar