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Posted 11/14/2018

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By Jess Levenson
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District’s hydrographic data will soon be integrated with E-HYDRO software, allowing the district to catalog, organize and distribute navigation-related data efficiently and effectively.

“Using E-HYDRO will result in more available, easier-to-use data,” said Jessie Petit, Buffalo District Cartographic Technician. “E-HYDRO will also provide a central source for data supporting our navigation missions of project condition surveys, structure repair, maintenance dredging, and dredged material management.”

Material dredged from the 103 miles of Federal channels in the District’s boundaries amounts to between 1 and 1.8 million cubic yards annually at a cost between $10 and $18 million, according to 2014 estimates. 

“Corps of Engineers’ Headquarters uses navigation data to decide, and predict, how much money is required to dredge material from ports and harbors,” said Petit. “For example, Buffalo Harbor becomes shallow every year due to sediment build-up, and we may need to budget for 10,000 cubic yards of dredging. E-HYDRO will provide better budgetary predictions.”

The District’s navigation operations require extensive surveying and mapping data, and navigation channel condition information is also critical to users outside normal hydrographic survey functions.

“Corps of Engineers’ districts also routinely use hydrographic survey data to make products for outside navigation researchers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” said Petit. “NOAA uses this data to provide current navigation charts. However, the format, data content, frequency of availability and age of the data varies with each district, making it difficult to understand.”

“The software and user procedures are designed to easily fit in a district’s normal survey data processing workflow,” continued Petit. “This results in many benefits, including consistent, current data and appearance, reducing time and costs, and building better lines of communication between other agencies in the hydrographic community.”

“GIS software called “ArcGIS” drives the data processing,” said Petit. “And E-HYDRO is custom software created by John McKenzie from Portland District. It’s a modern, automated program, and there’s no human interaction to induce error.”

Integrating E-HYDRO has been a Corps-wide initiative since 2014, and it was originally developed in the Corps of Engineers, Portland District. Buffalo District and Detroit District are the final districts to complete the campaign. Buffalo District’s data will be made public at Navigation.usace.army.mil after the holiday season, according to Petit.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation mission provides safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation systems (channels, harbors, and waterways) for movement of commerce, national security needs, and recreation.

Buffalo District Corps of Engineers e-hydro GIS hydrograph navigation petit USACE