Within the context of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, Action 23 explicitly states the need for the INFOMAR programme to train Irish graduates in marine and seabed mapping technology to support national marine programmes, industry, societal challenges, science and knowledge sharing.
The recently established INFOMAR graduate training programme provides an applied approach to understanding the fundamentals of coastal and marine remote sensing, delivered through theoretical and practical training. The classroom learning covers a broad range of topics including ocean geography and evolution, sediment processes, fundamentals of oceanography, hydrographic surveying, coastal remote sensing, marine data science along with a number of focused topics such as multibeam and geophysical methods, geodesy and positioning. Interactive online teaching tools such as Mentimeter and Kahoot enhance student engagement and Moodle quizzes’ are designed to underpin the learning outcomes.
During the tutorials, participants focus on key topics, working with industry standard software such as QPS Qimera and Esri ArcGIS, to analyse and interpret a range of remote sensing datasets. Participants have the opportunity to interpret hydrographic data through multibeam echosounder data processing. High-resolution ship-wreck mapping and reporting is demonstrated and students go on to learn to evaluate multibeam echosounder settings to optimise data acquisition e.g. reducing swath width, increasing ping rate, reducing vessel speed etc. Additionally, students develop expertise in differentiating between various marine spatial data sets and derive seabed maps e.g. from the Sentinel-2 satellite sensor almost 800 km above the Earth’s surface. Furthermore, seabed mapping data are analysed in a GIS environment to delineate sediment type, an important application for seabed habitats and marine environmental management.
The ship-based training component is an immersive experience designed to deliver comprehensive best-practice training in seabed mapping on board a National Research Vessel. The multi-disciplinary training is delivered by INFOMAR staff in collaboration with the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research & Training partnership programme (SMART), designed to develop capacity for marine research, monitoring and resource management through the delivery of offshore training programmes to students, researchers and practitioners in marine science and technology. Students participate in a two-day course gaining practical and robust experience in all aspects of research vessel instrumentation, system integration, data acquisition, equipment deployment and seabed sampling. Teaching is interactive with a combination of demonstration and practical applied training where students develop expertise in directing, evaluating and completing a survey workflow through survey design and planning.
The training also gives the students an opportunity to chat with INFOMAR scientists about their own experience, training and career paths in a focused career development Q&A session.
Click here to learn more about INFOMAR’s graduate training programme