Ensuring Safety of Navigation: A Three-Tiered Approach

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Stacy Dean Johnson, Matthew Thompson and David Brazier, Naval Oceanographic Office, Stennis Space Center, MS, United States
The primary responsibility of the Hydrographic Department at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) is to support US Navy surface and sub-surface Safety of Navigation (SoN) requirements. These requirements are interpreted, surveys are conducted, and accurate products are compiled and archived for future exploitation. For a number of years NAVOCEANO has employed a two-tiered data-basing structure to support SoN. The first tier (Data Warehouse, or DWH) provides access to the full-resolution sonar and lidar data. DWH preserves the original data such that any scale product can be built. The second tier (Digital Bathymetric Database – Variable resolution, or DBDB-V) served as the final archive for SoN chart scale, gridded products compiled from source bathymetry. DBDB-V has been incorporated into numerous DoD tactical decision aids and serves as the foundation bathymetry for ocean modeling. With the evolution of higher density survey systems and the addition of high-resolution gridded bathymetry product requirements, a two-tiered model did not provide an efficient solution for SoN. The two-tiered approach required scientists to exploit full-resolution data in order to build any higher resolution product. A new perspective on the archival and exploitation of source data was required. This new perspective has taken the form of a third tier, the Navigation Surface Database (NSDB). NSDB is an SQLite relational database populated with International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), S-102 compliant Bathymetric Attributed Grids (BAGs). BAGs archived within NSDB are developed at the highest resolution that the collection sensor system can support and contain nodal estimates for depth, uncertainty, separation values and metadata. Gridded surface analysis efforts culminate in the generation of the source resolution BAG files and their storage within NSDB. Exploitation of these resources eliminates the time and effort needed to re-grid and re-analyze native source file formats.