Gulf of Mexico Nautical Charting, NOAA

eTrac has performed a number of charting task orders for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Coast Survey (NOAA/OCS). The task orders are in support of NOAA’s congressional mandate to maintain and publish accurate and up-to-date nautical charting products, with the primary goal being navigational safety. As a prime contractor on a current 5 year IDIQ contract, eTrac has helped to achieve the goals of NOAA/OCS through cooperation and expertise in hydrographic survey services.

Over five years, eTrac completed nine charting task orders under its current contract with NOAA/OCS. Each survey consisted of multiple detailed project phases including pre project planning, field acquisition, data processing, and final reporting. Each project included a detailed analysis of Tidal Zoning models established by NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). After applying preliminary tidal zoning models, eTrac will make recommendations on improvements or changes to be made to the zoning if necessary. eTrac has a history of performing hydrographic surveying in complex tidal zones. Establishing and maintaining tidal control throughout a hydrographic survey project is critical to the success of the final product.

Each task order employed a variety of sensors including, inertially-aided positioning systems, MBES and SBES echosounders, sidescan sonars, physical bottom sampling equipment, and sound velocity measuring equipment to name a few. eTrac, Inc. employs a staff with versatile skill sets and is able to easily operate multiple sensors on multiple vessels for extended periods of time. During the field acquisition portion of the projects, eTrac routinely staffs multiple vessels simultaneously, adding a force multiplier to data collection efforts with each vessel. A shore-side field office is mobilized for each project to process the hydrographic data collected on each vessel the previous day. By processing the data through the detailed processing pipeline complete with daily QA/QC checks, the processing staff is able to verify that NOAA charting specifications have been met. Collaboration between the field and office entities has proven to eliminate any data deficiencies immediately and maintain an extremely high level of data quality which routinely exceeds specifications.