News

Looking for the misplaced Sandy Island

You may have heard last week about the non-existence of Sandy Island, an island that has been on official charts from the British, Australian, German, French, Italian, Japanese, US and Russian hydrographic offices from the initial UKHO chart in 1774 to the present, as well as other maps such as Atlases and Google Maps . . . The area was visited by the survey vessel RV Southern Surveyor on 22nd November, and instead of finding a 15 mile long island all they found was 1400m depth of water.

British map, 1922. Sandy Island is a non-existent island near New Caledonia - Click image for a larger image

This island is shown to lie off the northern end of New Caledonia (at 19° 15' S 159° 55' E), between Australia and New Zealand, and was surveyed by Captain Cook in 1772. The island was then re-mapped by another vessel, the Velocity, in 1876, and the finding was reported in 1879 by the Australian Hydrographic Department (as it then was) in 1879.

It has taken hydrographic offices 238 years to correct this error. The question is, can crowd sourcing projects such as TeamSurv help correct charts quicker than this? TeamSurv can provide much more timely updates on changes in depth data in all areas where participants are logging and uploading data.

TeamSurv has shown its ability to provide accurate data through its initial work in the UK and France, but is now spreading further to areas where the available charts are less accurate. This includes Palau in the Pacific, where 3 boats will shortly begin logging data for the project – the official charts for the area date back to 1927, when the islands were owned by Japan, and are described as “horrifically inaccurate” by modern users.

Charts created by TeamSurv are available for download from www.teamsurv.eu, and those wanting to support the project can also sign in there to become a data logger and contribute their depth data. A data logger is supplied on free loan to connect to their depth sounder and GPS.

Charts of Sandy Island through the years: Available here. With thanks to the awesome David Rumsey Map Collection

G New
28 November 2012 23:26 GMT


Latest