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OS11 - The Third Offshore Survey Conference

With more than 100 registered delegates already signed up before the start of the third
bi-annual Offshore Survey Conference, it was clear that there was something for everyone in the extensive Conference programme. OS11 was held at the National Oceanographic Centre in conjunction with the Ocean Business event in Southampton, on April 6-7, 2011, and yet again the weather was perfect for the onshore exhibition and workshops and the offshore practical demonstrations which took place in Southampton’s harbour.

Ocean Business is the major international event focussed on technology and services in the ocean and marine community. This year the event covered over 4,000 sq-m of exhibition space which hosted 311 exhibiting companies from 24 countries, and welcomed a record 3176 visitors from 52 countries.  The concurrent Ocean Careers sessions featured professionals from the industry giving prospective entrants to the industry ten-minute presentations on their company’s activities, and all the speakers were available for one-to-one talks by interested students. This three-day event was aimed at students wishing to find out more about the Ocean Industry and is part of a continuing initiative started by the Offshore Survey Conference in 2007 to attract more personnel to the industry.

The Offshore Survey Conference took place over two days and the extensive programme offered technical papers from 20 distinguished international speakers, who addressed a wide range of technical and business issues in the offshore survey industry. Conference Chairman Alastair MacDonald of TMS International welcomed delegates and the proceedings commenced with a hushed audience in the packed auditorium listening intently to Energy Industry expert John Westwood who delivered a very positive Key Note Address on prospects for the global ocean industry business. He noted in particular the growing influence of China, which is outbidding Western companies for limited oil supplies, and which will drive oil prices higher. He illustrated how the industry is investing significantly in exploration and infrastructure to capture new supplies of natural gas. This, and the multi-billion dollar investment in offshore energy renewables sector will lead to good growth for the subsea ocean business, whilst more than 7000 platforms also require updating and IRM services.

Among the two-day programme were papers from: Mark Carter of Sonardyne, global leaders in subsea acoustics, who described the latest advances with inertial aided navigation for subsea positioning. Keith Vickery of U.S inertial experts Zupt then demonstrated the significant operational advantages of integrating inertial systems into the overall survey spread. Exciting new technologies were announced, including a paper from Moya Cahill of Pan-Geo Subsea who introduced a game-changing system of its unique acoustic corer with sub-bottom imagery. Mark Wood of Instrument Concepts described its passive acoustic system for detection of pipeline leakages.

Dr John Goold, Director of Marine for the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee examined how the industry needs to work closely in marine biodiversity surveillance and monitoring, especially with regard to the Marine Conservation Zones being established over the next few years.

There were a number of operational project reports which illustrated well the innovative advances being made in field operations and data management techniques. Hayley Santer of Coastline Surveys delivered a very informative presentation on geotechnical site investigation in the intertidal zone, and John Morse of Gardline Renewables described surveying issues on sites for offshore wind turbines. Andy McMurtrie of NCS Survey illustrated how NCS Survey’s use of AUVs is producing significantly improved data collection results and project efficiencies.

Rob Kok for Shell Europe gave a thought provoking paper on the need to innovate in performing surveys in order to meet technical and business objectives. Fergal McGrath of the Marine Institute of Ireland presented a humorous and informative update on the strategic marine survey conducted by the Institute in mapping the country’s marine territory and boundaries. Chris Eynon of GeoVS described GeoVS ‘s unique and innovative 3-D visualisation software for instantly transforming 2-D data into 3-D and illustrated the operational and safety and management benefits which result.
Once again the presence of live equipment demonstrations offshore within Southampton harbour added great value to the technical papers and all sailings were fully subscribed.

And of course, there was the much-enjoyed social programme for which the event is renowned and which rounded off a really successful, enjoyable and informative three-day occasion.

The Offshore Survey Conference is just one of a range of specialist technical conferences organised by TMS International with Intelligent Exhibitions.

See also www.lidarmap.org and www.intelligentexhibitions.com

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