Skip to content

IMCA publishes peripheral survey sensors guidelines

Published on 11 December 2013

The newly published ‘Guidelines for the management of peripheral survey sensors’ (IMCA S 021) has been developed under the direction of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Offshore Survey Division management committee.

Since the 1970s technology has been developed and applied in the offshore surveying industry to provide better and improved accuracy, quality, reliability and resolution of data and results. The current use and application of the various core technologies and the developments in related peripheral devices require users to maintain an understanding of good practice.

“The requirements for periodical calibrations and verification of offshore survey and navigation related sensors can sometimes be a sensitive issue, particularly when considering the overall expenditure and time required to undertake offshore survey and inspection activities,” explains IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler.

“Such requirements can be inconsistent and have a wide range of complexity often not well captured in tender and project documentation. Our new document provides guidance towards a more standardised approach to the timing of checks, verifications and calibrations, leading to more consistent maintenance practice and potentially better management of survey applications.”

As the extensive Executive Summary to the guidelines points out:”The frequency of checks, tests and calibrations is dependent on a number of issues, one being the stability of the equipment. If a sensor is located in a ‘harsh’ environment, it may not remain within specification. A verification or validation check is required to confirm whether it needs adjusting or replacing. Sensor measurement data helps make that decision; this will involve regular logging of test results, checks, inspections, repairs, resets etc, as well as any unusual performance or operation.”

In addition to the Executive Summary the new 24-page document includes a helpful glossary and details of terminology used and an introduction. There is a section devoted to general considerations highlighting five main areas – testing as a function of time, condition or risk; maintenance and testing strategies; the operational environment; record keeping; and risk management. A twelve page section on survey sensors follows; with the document then devoting two pages to general testing and checks while at sea, and concluding with references and details on further reading .

The guidance is available for downloading free of charge for members and non-members alike from the IMCA website at with additional printed copies available at £10.00 for members and £20.00 for non-members (zero VAT, plus 20% for delivery outside Europe) from [email protected].