FEMME is a prestigious conference hosted by Kongsberg Maritime User Forum focussing on seabed mapping. It provides an international platform for Hydrographic professionals to meet, exchange experiences and ideas, provide inspiration and contribute to improved system performance and the future of underwater mapping technologies. High profile attendees include Secretary General of the International Hydrographic organization (IHO), Chief Hydrographers from the Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM) and Seabed 2030 leaders. The extensive work carried out jointly by Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland through the INFOMAR programme, received substantial exposure and recognition throughout the proceedings.
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment funded INFOMAR programme overview was provided by Dr. Fabio Sacchetti, who updated the audience on future plans as well as recent achievements of the Irish national seabed mapping initiative. He highlighted ten case studies featuring multiple applications of multibeam technologies in support of sectors including coastal engineering, marine conservation and marine heritage and tourism.
In addition, recent high profile collaboration between INFOMAR and various US and Canadian research institutes was presented by international research partners in attendance.
INFOMAR featured prominently in a fantastic talk by Professor John Hughes Clarke (CCOM / University of New Hampshire) when describing research into the impact of Internal Wave activity on multibeam bathymetry in an Irish/Celtic Sea context, based on work conducted onboard the RV Celtic Explorer. Professor Clarke has been collaborating with INFOMAR since 2015, and he is particularly focused on using hydrographic & fisheries sonar systems combined with oceanographic data, to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics and complexities of the Celtic Sea.
Jose Cordero, of Instituto Hidrografico dela Marina (Spain), demonstrated how improved sound speed control through remotely detecting thermocline undulations can be achieved. The study was the result of a collaboration carried out in 2017 onboard the RV Celtic Explorer during a routine INFOMAR survey.
Finally Anand D. Hiroji, HSRC/University of Southern Mississippi, showed how unambiguous Radiation Pattern Extraction Methods can improve data derived from Multisector Multibeam Sonars. Once again, this study was carried out using data acquired by INFOMAR onboard the RV Celtic Explorer.
As Ireland continues toward completion of its seabed mapping programme in 2026, it is widely acknowledged internationally that our best practice approach towards open and integrated data acquisition, integration, and exploitation is a valued model, and one which gives Irish researchers and technology developers a global audience, and market.