NOAA's Office of Coast Survey produces nautical chars and
services to move commerce and to protect life and property at sea. The
NOAA hydrographic fleet has four survey ships and six small boat teams
dedicated to ocean mapping. These survey vessels use a variety of
mapping technologies, including sidescan sonars, multibeam sonars, phase
differencing bathymetric sonars, LIDAR, and AUVs. In addition,
satellite altimetry is used to acquire ocean basin bathymetry.
Understanding the strengths and limitations of each ocean mapping
technology is important for acquiring data that is both pertinent and
useful for multiple applications.
LT Abigail Higgins received a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia in 2003 and a M.S. in Hydrographic Science from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2012. She is the Chief of NOAA's Atlantic Hydrographic Branch in Norfolk, Virginia and has previously served on NOAA's hydrographic and oceanographic research vessels.
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