Page 29: of Marine Technology Magazine (July 2022)

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From his nearly three- decade career at NOAA to hiking the Appalachian

Trail, Shepard “Shep”

Smith brings a broad base of experience and expertise to his new post as Chief

Technology Of? cer of

XOcean. We checked in with Smith for his insights on technical drivers in the ocean exploration space, as well as what to expect from XOcean in the

MARINE coming years.



By Greg Trauthwein

Watch the interview @

Shep, to start us off, please give an overview of your 28- rapher. Some of my most memorable times were the 10 years year career at NOAA. that I spent at sea, including four years as the commanding

I was with the Commissioned Of? cer Corp part of NOAA. of? cer of the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson. But through it

I started off in the hydrographic program assigned to the all, I was driving toward bringing new technology to improve

NOAA Ship Rainier up in Alaska, and we surveyed using the science and art of hydrography at sea.

survey launches and single beam echo sounders, as well as a ‘brand new’ technology – GPS – around the unexplored areas Before we dive into your new role at XOcean, I’d like to off the coast of Alaska. The next 10 to 15 years of my NOAA get a little background on the ocean exploration market, career was technology focused, working on integrating new as you see it. What technologies do you count as to have technology, bringing in GIS and multibeam and database- the single biggest in? uence on studying the oceans more based systems in through grided bathymetry to speed up our ef? ciently, more safely, and why?

work? ows. I also got into the charting side; and I was the chief I’m going to date myself, but GPS was not widely available of our charting division. I ? nished my career as the Director when I ? rst started. We take it for granted now that we can posi- of the Of? ce of Coast Survey and the U.S. National Hydrog- tion our sensors accurately. That used to be the biggest dif? cul- 29

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