In the belgian part of the North Sea, there are many wrecks and obstacles. Wrecks have a special and attractive force. 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" - archeologists research the wrecks to obtain a better view of life and practices of long ago on board of these shipwrecks.
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 specialized 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) which allow the topography of the seabed and of 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 used method of survey and data processing depends on the purpose of the measurement and the requirements of the end user. The depth charts and sea maps of the 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, meteo 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.