PLA Survey Partnership with UK Hydrographic Office to Improve Safety on Thames

A new data sharing partnership between the Port of London Authority (PLA) team that surveys the bed of the Thames and the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is a UK first, which is set to improve the safety of ships visiting the UK’s second biggest port.


PLA Survey Boat. Source: PLA

The PLA’s Hydrographic team with its 17-strong staff is the busiest in the UK producing more than 300 surveys a year. Their survey work involves collecting data on Electronic Navigation Charts (ENCs) which contain vital, real-time information about changes to some 400 square miles of riverbed, essential information for planning a ship’s safe and efficient passage on the Thames.


Under the new agreement, the Hydrographic Office is making available the super detailed PLA survey data via the Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) that all ships carry. This sat nav-style technology is used by ships to plan their visit to London safely.


John Pinder, PLA port hydrographer, said: “By the end of the year, the majority of existing vessels will be required to carry ECDIS systems and it’s great news for us to be providing electronic navigation charts direct to the UKHO.”

Rory Shepherdson, UKHO ports relations manager commented: “We’re extremely proud to have worked with the PLA on this project.”

“These ENCs feature one-metre depth contours and increased sounding density, which will help users to navigate through shallow areas of water with greater confidence. This improved detail is hugely important to ships navigating the Thames and will support efficiency of maritime trade in London.”


External Sources

Port of London Authority website: PLA Survey partnership a First for UK Hydrographic Office