News from The Hydrographic Society of America
For those that are not too familiar with this organization, The Hydrographic Society of America Inc., also known as THSOA, is a non-profit professional membership organization, whose main focus is to provide support to its members in the Americas. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to promoting education in offshore survey, positioning and mapping, including hydrography and related earth sciences.
We human beings usually like to think in cycles or stages or chapters in life, and in our case we at THSOA consider the new year as an opportunity to start new things. No doubt that our profession is impacted by impressive technological advancements and that the pandemic situation finally shows some positive signs for hopes for coming back to some sort of normalcy in our lives and, as part of a new cycle, we have big plans to enhance our services and benefit our members. In our successful and for the first time virtual US Hydro 2021 Conference, I explained in our plenary session what we would be working on this year. In summary, we have four main objectives:
- To promote and facilitate more participation of the regional chapters in the activities of THSOA by creating specific committees to address more efficiently important aspects of our mission, such as scholarships, education, licensure and recognition of hydrographic surveyors, relationships, and US Hydro 2023 Conference planning;
- To build awareness between regional chapters and national on plans, accomplishments, finances and in general strengthening the cooperation between all of us;
- To bolster chapters participation in the US Hydro Conference planning and execution;
- To collaborate to build up THSOA membership, including new strategies to reach out more colleagues and professionals in the hydrographic and related fields.
A step towards the above objectives is the creation of the THSOA Council, formed with the leadership of each chapter which will take care of one committee and work with THSOA Board of Trustees functioning as liaison. This THSOA Council will meet every quarter with the president and board of trustees to work in identifying chapters’ needs, plans, and facilitate collaboration and support. The results of this coordinated work will be reflected in more benefits for our members.
This year also brings some challenges. We have some positions to fill, and the active participation of our membership is needed and very appreciated. Some chapters require the election of a new president, at central level we will open the position of THSOA secretary, treasurer, two members of the board of trustees and the president-elect. This last one was recently created with the goal of familiarizing him/her with the responsibilities of the president the prior year and receive the presidency with full knowledge, thus reducing the learning curve that could delay the work and efficiency of the society.
As part of the enhancements, we have plans to improve our website, adding many more resources for hydrographic professionals and a new members-only section where they will find technical papers, videos, and many more resources to support and enhance their professional knowledge. We will improve the process in which we select and provide scholarships and make the most out of it allowing the opportunity to obtain this benefit to a broader community.
We will also establish new relationships with other similar and related organizations, participating in their conferences and extending the influence of THSOA and at the same time, benefiting from their experience and body of knowledge, complementing ours.
The hydrographic community is growing and the need for professionals in this field increasing rapidly. With the development of new technologies, faster and more efficient software to collect and analyze data and better and more versatile multi-sensor platforms such as UUVs, AUVs, USVs, etc. the hydrographer of the future is no longer a “soundings gatherer” or a bathymetry explorer, and while the skills for those activities are very important and relevant to the profession, they are not the only ones needed. Today’s hydrographers need to know more and adapt to the challenges that present the hydrospatial environment in which we work, and THSOA is here to support in addressing those new challenges.
We look forward to a successful (and healthy) 2022!