New hydrographic office opened in Taunton

The Royal Navy’s new hydrographic and geospatial headquarters have been opened in Somerset to switch to a digital service.

The 11,00 square metre complex will gather hydrographic data from survey ships including HMS Protector in the Antarctic, HMS Scott largely in the Atlantic, HMS Echo and Enterprise all over the globe and new HMS Magpie in coastal waters. The headquarters were opened by the Princess Royal, who was given a tour of the work being done.

The information produced at the Taunton base has guided mariners for nearly 80 years. It’s taken 18 months to build the new headquarters for the 850 data analysers, hydrographers, cartographers, environmental experts and scientists in Somerset’s county town.

Rear Admiral Tim Lowe, Acting Chief Executive and National Hydrographer said: “[This is] the beginning of a new chapter in our long and proud history as a world-leading geospatial information agency and hydrographic office.”

“The United Nations have marked the 2020s as the decade of ocean science. The need for hydrographic science and data has never been greater.”

The new facility allows the service to switch from paper charts to a digital database. The new centre features a gym and restaurant for employees, with the move coming after the original buildings were deemed unfit to support a new modern digital headquarters.

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