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Coast Survey Development Laboratory
 This graphic shows a cylinder over water pouring out a bathymetric/topographic chart of the world.  The Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL) explores, plans, and manages the development and improvement of charting, hydrographic, and oceanographic technologies and techniques used by the Office of Coast Survey (OCS) and NOAA to provide products and services for the coastal marine community, especially in support of safe and efficient navigation and sustainable healthy coasts.  Specific CSDL activities in support of the mission follow:

• Applies advanced techniques and technology to surveying, charting, and ocean and estuary modeling requirements and initiates development programs necessary to meet those needs. 
• Continually reviews, evaluates, and interacts with ongoing research and development programs in private industry, universities, and government, both nationally and internationally. 
• Represents NOAA/OCS at scientific and technology conferences and presents papers describing research and development activities. 

• Based on its awareness of state-of-the-art technical developments, recommends and develops future methods and systems to enhance productivity and the quality and usefulness of its products. 
• Responds to the technical and developmental needs of NOAA in the charting, hydrographic, and oceanographic arena.

CSDL is composed of three branches.  Each branch contains from 12-15 people with varied backgrounds.  There are PhD oceanographic modelers, hydrographers, programmers, computer specialists, cartographers, physical scientists, technicians, and NOAA Corps Officers.  The Laboratory has opportunities for visiting scientists and new graduates, and employs an outstanding team of contract personnel. 

 Graphic of triangle showing 3 sides: Cartographic & Spatial Technology Programs; Hydrographic Systems & Technology Programs; Marine Modeling & Analysis Programs

A description of each Branch follows:

The Cartographic and Geospatial Technology Programs (CGTP) Branch identifies, develops, and implements emerging technologies in digital cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), geospatial data processing and Web distribution, and for the acquisition, storage, compilation, quality assurance, analysis, display, and/or transmission of data in support of nautical charting and other NOAA requirements.  Specific CGTP activities in support of the mission follow: 

  •  Offers direct technical assistance to production cartographers as well as research and development for other NOAA geospatial projects through the office’s applied research, development, test, and evaluation program.  
  •  Participates in short/long-term studies or teams working on supporting OCS programs.
  •  Serves as the OCS focal point for developing public Web access to OCS data outside of the navigational product portfolio.
  •  Participates in national and international dialogue concerning spatial standards for OCS programs and projects.  
  • Maintains a high degree of competence in cartographic techniques, geospatial technology, and computer science and stays current on state-of-the-art developments. 
  • Applies technology to meet automated charting requirements, performs feasibility studies for various alternatives, and develops system design and upgrade specifications. 
  • Performs all phases of computer systems software development and develops and/or improves systems for the more efficient production of nautical charting products.
This is a Bathymetric/Topographic color coded map of Tampa Bay.   It is made by combining bathymetric depths with topographic elevations. 

The Hydrographic Systems and Technology Programs (HSTP) Branch researches, designs, develops, and implements hydrographic systems; transitions hydrographic systems into operational use by NOAA; and provides system support throughout the life cycle of each system to increase data quality, and surveying and processing efficiency.  Specific HSTP activities in support of the mission follow:   

  • Performs investigations and analyses of scientific issues related to hydrography and emerging technologies.
  •  Coordinates closely with and supports the NOAA marine operations centers, ships, and hydrographic field parties on issues such as system technical support, problem resolution, system training, and system replacements or upgrades. 
  • Works to improve the efficiencies of hydrographic data acquisition and processing methods and to develop data quality assurance procedures and standard operating practices with associated clear concise documentation and user training.  
  •  Maintains a high degree of competence in hydrographic surveying techniques, automation and sensor technology, and computer science, and stays current on state-of-the-art developments in positioning and sounding systems. 
  • Performs all phases of computer program development, software documentation, and implementation of computer-assisted techniques unique to systems for hydrographic surveying. 
  • Disseminates the results of its research and development activities through conferences, papers, and other publications to the worldwide hydrographic community.
 3-D of survey ship on water surface ensonifying rocky bottom with swath of multibeam sonar.

  The Marine Modeling and Analysis Programs (MMAP) Branch researches, designs, develops, implements, and transitions to operational use numerical model and analysis systems in support of safe and efficient navigation and sustainable healthy coasts.   

  • Specific MMAP activities in support of the mission follow:Develops regional and coastal nowcast/forecast model systems for accurately predicting water levels, currents, salinity, temperature, other oceanographic and meteorological parameters, as well as water quality and ecological parameters. 
  •  Applies hydrodynamic and other models to research problems aimed at better understanding the physical, chemical, biological, and geological phenomena affecting coastal and estuarine waters. 
  • Applies hydrodynamic models to problems of geospatial variation of marine phenomena, in particular for determining tidal datum fields for VDatum. 
 A graph showing tidal observations and predictions for Kiptopeke Beach, VA.  The graph shows observations for tide height for one day with highs and lows ranging from about 3 ft above MLLW to several tenths of a foot below MLLW.  The graph also shows predictions for one day in the future.
  • Develops or improves computer-assisted systems for the acquisition, storage, compilation, quality assurance, analysis, display, and/or transmission of coastal oceanographic data and the generation of predictions and products from these data.

  • Develops and/or adapts techniques for time series and statistical analysis and data assimilation to oceanographic problems.

  • Maintains a high degree of competence in modeling techniques, data analysis, physical oceanography, meteorology, tidal theory, automation technology, and computer science, and it stays current on the state-of-the-art developments. 

  • Performs all phases of computer product development, computer systems software development, and documentation for quality control and training of oceanographic personnel in the operation of computer-assisted oceanographic systems.  

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