CARIS successfully held its 15th international user group conference in Brest, France during the week of June 2-5, 2014. CARIS 2014, which brought together CARIS users from all over the world, was the largest user conference to-date with approximately 170 delegates from 25 different countries and over 75 organizations in attendance.
Delegates were engaged in boot camps and user group meetings during the first two days of the conference. Boot camps focused on the popular CARIS HIPS and SIPS, for hydrographic data processing, and the first S-100 boot camp, providing participants with a better understanding of existing and future opportunities for S-100 data. The user group meetings brought together a diverse group of HIPS and SIPS, Bathy DataBASE and HPD users, which allowed attendees to collaborate on similar issues and aid in the direction of the software.
This year's theme, Developing the Blue Economy, rang throughout the conference. CARIS was honoured to have three exceptional keynote speakers to address delegates on the importance of sustaining our oceans and the role hydrography will play.
Bruno Frachon, Director General of Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM), opened the main conference session. It was a fitting opening with SHOM being based in Brest and Brest being known as a city for ocean science. Frachon discussed the importance of hydrographic data in sustaining our oceans and highlighted that the industry continues to face new challenges. He stressed the need to "survey once ... and use in many different ways" in order to overcome some of these obstacles.
The following day Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary and Assistant Director General of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO), opened the main conference session with a view of the blue economy from an oceanographic perspective. She expressed the need for continued interaction between the IOC and the hydrographic community and that "bathymetry can and should be a critical part of all the science observations and services."
Throughout the main conference session delegates heard from fellow CARIS users on topics including data processing, bathymetry management, data production, Law of the Sea and the Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI). The quality of the presentations were outstanding providing the audience with real take home information. In addition, delegates heard from CARIS' Research and Development Project Manager, Bill Lamey, and Senior Development Manager, Mark Masry, on future developments of CARIS products.
It was with great pleasure that Gilles Bessero, a Director with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), rounded out the conference as the closing keynote speaker. He provided an IHO point of view on all of the topics covered throughout the conference and concluded that the "development of the blue economy is an essential element of a sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants."
An industry exhibition took place at CARIS 2014 giving delegates the chance to network with other ocean technology companies to hear about the latest advancements. CARIS is very thankful for their support.
The city of Brest provided a perfect backdrop for the conference with its marine history and location on the sea. Many delegates took advantage of the social events that took place throughout the week. Delegates enjoyed some Breton music down by the marina and a captivating evening among thousands of ocean species at the aquarium.
CARIS 2014 proved to be an ideal forum for CARIS users, new and existing, to congregate and discuss topics of interest and to share and receive information relevant to their daily roles. Thank you to all that attended.
The next CARIS conference will take place in Washington, D.C., United States in 2016.