When the Center was established in 1999, four primary research directions were identified:
- Innovative sensor design—understanding capabilities and limitations
- New approaches to multibeam and sidescan sonar data processing
- New approaches to data visualization, fusion, and presentation
- Tools and approaches for seafloor characterization
Within each of these themes, projects were chosen with long-range research goals designed to make fundamental contributions to the fields of hydrography and ocean and coastal mapping, and with short-term objectives designed to address immediate concerns of the hydrographic community in the United States. Over the years, in response to the needs of NOAA and others, several new research themes have been added:
- Electronic Chart of the Future
- Water-column mapping
- Capabilities and limitations of lidar for bathymetry, seafloor characterization and shoreline mapping
- Coastal process studies—very shallow water mapping
- Understanding the capabilities and limitations of AUVs as hydrographic tools
As the research progressed and evolved, clear boundaries between these themes became more diffuse. This natural evolution slowly changed the nature of the programs and the thrust of the Center's efforts. Now, moving forward under the new cooperative agreement with NOAA, the Center's thematic headings are defined as:
Improving the sensors used for hydrographic, ocean and coastal mapping (sonar, lidar, AUVs, etc.). with emphasis on increasing accuracy, resolution, and efficiency especially in shallow water;
Improving and developing new approaches to hydrographic, ocean and coastal mapping data processing with emphasis on increasing efficiency while understanding, quantifying, and reducing uncertainty;
Developing tools and approaches for the adaptation of hydrographic, coastal and ocean mapping technologies for the mapping of benthic habitat and exploring the broad potential of mapping features in the water-column;
Developing tools, protocols, non-standard products, and approaches that support the concept of “map once – use many times,” i.e., integrated coastal and ocean mapping;
Developing new and innovative approaches for the 3D and 4D visualization of hydrographic and ocean mapping data sets, including better representation of uncertainty, and complex time- and space-varying oceanographic, biological and geological phenomena;
Developing innovative approaches and concepts for the electronic chart of the future and e-navigation, and;
- Being national leaders in the planning, acquisition, processing, analysis and interpretation of bathymetric data collected in support of a potential submission by the U.S. for an extended continental shelf under Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
These new thematic headings do not represent a significant departure from our research endeavors but in future progress reports our work will be described under these thematic headings to be consistent with the new cooperative agreement.
Please click on the Research Area images on the left to learn more about the Center's research.