Satellites can clearly map the ocean surface, and acoustic sensors can map the ocean floor, but ocean scientists currently have a limited view of the water column between the ocean surface and the ocean floor. There is a critical need to study the internal structure of features in the water column such as plumes (hydrothermal vent plumes, oil well plumes as in the Gulf of Mexico spill) or schools of fish to obtain fish stocks dynamics, spawning grounds, seasonal habitats, and to discern the impact of the climate change on these vital resources. To exploit water column data, an efficient means of reading, processing, and analyzing the data is required.
To improve support for multidimensional data and analyses in the ArcGIS environment, Esri has been working closely with partner Quality Positioning Services (QPS). QPS is a maritime technology and services provider with headquarters in The Netherlands, with US-based operations in Portsmouth, NH and Houston, TX. They are a highly specialized company and are well known in the hydrographic, petroleum, and oceanography communities for their domain knowledge and excellent software. QPS recently acquired Esri partner IVS 3D, makers of the Fledermaus scientific visualization system, and are consolidating product lines.
Fledermaus is heavily used at the world-famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography Visualization Center and is a defacto scientific visualization standard throughout the marine geology and geophysics arm of the ocean science community, including the large international NSF-sponsored programs Ridge 2000, Margins, and the Ocean Observatories Initiative. It is also used at many national hydrographic and naval agencies.
Esri and QPS are now working together to integrate Fledermaus tools into the geoprocessing framework of ArcGIS for Maritime—Bathymetry at version 10.1.