My interest in hydrography started during my first degree
I am currently the officer in charge of the Hydrographic Surveying Unit and a lecturer at Ghana School of Surveying and Mapping (GSSM), established by the Lands Commission. I hold an MPhil in Geographic Information System and a BSc Geomatic Engineering from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. I also hold a Technologist Diploma in Geoinformatics from University of Twente, Netherlands, and a Teacher’s Certificate “A” from St. Francis Teacher Training College, Hohoe, Ghana.
My interest in hydrography started during my first degree when we were introduced to the branches of geomatic engineering. I had the opportunity to do my internship with a hydrographic surveying firm and I became fascinated with hydrography.
My interest increased when I watched the exploration and mapping of the deep ocean in search of Malaysian flight MH370 by Geoscience Australia.
The Lands Commission Act 767, 2008 is the authorised institution for the regulation and supervision of all surveying and mapping activities including hydrographic surveying in Ghana. In recent years, the Commission has been saddled with inadequate human resources in critical areas of its mandate implementation, especially hydrographic surveying. This has led to inefficiencies and shortfall in service delivery. There is currently no trained hydrographer in the Commission to direct and supervise hydrographic surveying.
To mitigate these effects and the evident challenge it poses, the Commission has selected me to be trained in hydrography based on my keen interest in hydrography and some related activities I have undertaken.
I am convinced that the University possesses the quality of education and diversity in student body that can best help me fulfil my goals. The programme content and structure have all the necessary elements for effective and efficient development of the relevant expertise in hydrographic surveying.
The programme content motivated me to study at the University
The practical work centred on a bathymetric survey. Lectures on key topics such as electromagnetic waves and acoustic waves, measurement techniques, computational processes, and reference frames were supported by work with survey software to develop an understanding of methods employed and practical limitations in all aspects of positioning for hydrographic surveying.
The proximity of the University’s campus to the waterfront gave me the assurance of effective and efficient practical works. A virtual tour of the campus made me understand that the University has all the facilities necessary for teaching and learning.
MAR520 Hydrography was my favourite module in the first semester. This module established the foundations of hydrography for me in terms of fundamental concepts related to positioning, surveying, surveying in the marine environment, basic data processing and rigorous communication of information. My other favourite modules in the second semester were MAR522 Survey Project Management and MAR517 Coastal Erosion and Protection.
In MAR522 I learned how to manage (plan, prepare, undertake, process and document) a real-world multibeam survey project to a professional standard. During this module, I developed theoretical and technical skills in multibeam hydrographic survey and had the opportunity to gain professional competencies that will be highly relevant to my career development and progression as a hydrographic surveyor.
MAR517 introduced me to waves and coastal processes, as well as the hard and soft engineering methods used in coastal protection. Case studies were used throughout to understand good practice in managing coastal erosion and protection. The aim is not to produce coastal engineers but rather managers of coastal engineers with an understanding of their methods.
My research project and dissertation topic is "Ping DSP – Evaluation of shallow water bathymetry and object detection capability". This project seeks to evaluate the performance gains and losses of the Ping DSP compared to traditional industry-grade multibeam and side-scan systems for shallow water surveys.
Plymouth is a very serene city with very friendly people
It has all the facilities for student life with good student discounts in many shops and other services. In my home country and city, there is nothing like student discounts. Plymouth has leisure places like parks and gardens for relaxation and hiking which, in my country, are not easily available.
The first webinar held for us gave me good first-hand information on how to get to Plymouth and how to familiarise myself with the environment and settle into campus life. Our orientation sessions also provided a guide on how to adapt to life on campus.
During my course orientation, we were taken around some important places on campus and its environs. The Students’ Union also provided several welcome packages.
I have been able to attend the meetings and workshops of the South West Branch of The Hydrographic Society of UK & Ireland at the Marine Station (Plymouth), Totnes, and Taunton. I also had the opportunity to attend the Oceanology Conference in London in March 2022.
I am hoping to find some PhD opportunities in the UK to continue research work. I also plan to stay and work in the UK for at least one year to enable me to gain some industry experience before returning home.
There are several opportunities here in the UK to practice what I have learnt in the University, and I will be glad to explore such opportunities.
Hydrography is crucial to the sustainable management of marine environments. Yet there is an international shortage of hydrographic surveyors, data processors and analysts, during a period when technology is rapidly advancing.
Seize this opportunity to gain a thorough knowledge of the science and technology of hydrography, experiencing the practical application of modern methods and equipment involved in exploring and managing the seabed whilst preparing for a career in this growth area.