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Sentinel coastal charting worldwide



The advent, with Sentinel-2, of a satellite constellation offering High Resolution (HR), high revisit time and free images has raised encouraging hopes amongst Coastal States and the Maritime community of Users who, in 2018, still suffer from the persistence of inaccurate nautical charts.

These expectations however did not materialise because the Government agencies in charge of producing official charts still consider they do not have a reliable tool to take advantage of satellite imagery.

Thirty years after it was first introduced in its national chart series with immense caveat by the French Hydrographic Office (Shom), Satellite Derived Bathymetry (SDB) is still the object of a global rejection by the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO)’s Member States and professional users primarily concerned by Safety of navigation and the catastrophic consequences of ship groundings.

Many of the contributing factors to this are well known.

To address the concerns from the perspective of the hydrographic community this project is providing a structured assessment of the use of EO as a strictly hydrographic tool (ie not just an estimation of water depth). This will require a clarification of the relationship between rigorous radiation transfer equations and practical charting methods, completing radiative transfer theory to address priority gaps from the perspective of the national Hydrographic offices and adapting satellite derived bathymetry methodologies to the stringent requirements of Safety of Navigation and IHO Cartographic standards.


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