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Cmdr. Shepard Smith is New Chief of the Marine Chart Division
Cmdr. Shepard Smith
Chief, Marine Chart Division

On March 11, Commander Shepard "Shep" Smith officially assumed his new position as chief of Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division. He comes to Coast Survey from his most recent assignment as senior advisor to Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Deputy Administrator (and now Acting Administrator).

In his new assignment, Cmdr. Smith will manage Coast Survey’s nautical chart production. The division is responsible for the maintenance and publication of NOAA’s suite of nearly 2000 paper and electronic charts.

Smith replaces Capt. Doug Baird, who will be the new deputy director at NOAA’s Marine Operations Center in Newport, Oregon.

With 19 years of service in NOAA, Cmdr. Smith brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Marine Chart Division. Smith received his commission in the NOAA Corps – one of the seven uniformed services of the United States ‒ in 1993. He spent nine years at sea as a field hydrographer, including command of the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson. He has also served aboard NOAA Ship Rainier, and NOAA R/V Bay Hydrographer.

He has also served ashore integrating new technology to improve the efficiency of NOAA's seafloor mapping efforts. Smith led multiple major technology changes in NOAA’s hydrographic community: the transition of the hydrographic vessel fleet to a PC-based GIS system; changing from selected sounding-based to model-based hydrography; and streamlining survey review and cartography using semi-automated cartography and S-57 feature attribution. He is the former chief of Coast Survey’s Atlantic Hydrographic Branch in Norfolk, Virginia.

Smith earned a Master’s of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire Ocean Engineering (Mapping) Program in 2003, and received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 1993.

March 12, 2013

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