In our Oceanographic Meteorological Station we produce an exclusive weather forecast for the sea and coast, which is disseminated not only to professional users, such as port authorities and shipping professionals, but also to the general public.
Wind speed and direction are crucial for the safety of kitesurfers and windsurfers. This data is measured along our coast in Nieuwpoort, Oostende, Blankenberge and Zeebrugge.
In the Belgian part of the North Sea, there are many wrecks and obstacles. Wrecks are a particularly special attraction. For fishermen, these are often interesting areas where a good catch can be expected. For divers, wrecks provide a unique under water experience. 'Under water" archaeologists research the wrecks to gain a better idea of life and customs at the time on board these shipwrecks from the distant past.
Wrecks and obstacles may hinder shipping. The task of the Flemish Hydrography is to determine the correct location of these wrecks and to measure their exact depth above the seabed. By using specialised acoustic equipment, such as a side scan sonar or a multibeam, even the smallest part of the wrecks can be mapped. The bigger the difference in absorption of the acoustic signals between the object and its surroundings, the better the obtained image. This results in spectacular images.
Hydrographic soundings, also called surveys, are three-dimensional measurements (x, y, z) that allow the topography of the seabed and the bottom of rivers to be mapped. To execute these depth measurements, acoustic measuring systems such as "single beam" and "multibeam" devices are used. The measurements can then be processed into depth charts, difference maps, volume determinations, and cross sections. The method of survey and data processing that is used depends on the purpose of the measurement and the requirements of the end user. The depth charts and sea maps of Flemish Hydrography are used to ensure safe navigation, to calculate and control hydraulic infrastructure works, to control dredging, etc. These surveys are executed at sea, on the Scheldt, on the Flemish part of the channel Ghent-Terneuzen, and in the four coastal ports. The acquired data is converted into paper and electronic depth charts.
The Monitoring Network is named after the group of irregular sandbanks located in front of the western half of the Flemish coast. These sandbanks complicate navigation in that area. The Flemish Banks Monitoring Network consists of a monitoring network at sea, weather parks ashore, and a computer network in Oostende. The network at sea, consisting of measuring piles and wave measurement buoys, and the meteo parks ashore, are equipped with hydro-meteorological sensors. The central computer network gathers and processes the data and exchanges it with international monitoring networks, research institutes, universities etc.