The AusSeabed program is governed by a Steering Committee and an Executive Board. The AusSeabed Strategy and the 2025 Activities Roadmap are living documents developed by the Steering Committee outlining the direction of the program.
The Steering Committee has been established to provide an effective representative governing body of the AusSeabed program. It provides strategic direction and leadership in guiding AusSeabed to best achieve the vision for national seabed mapping data: 'collect once, use many times'. Membership consists of an equal and fair representation of the various sectors that participate in the AusSeabed initiative. The Steering Committee is composed of three standing members (Geoscience Australia, Australian Hydrographic Office and CSIRO Marine National Facility), up to nine other national members and one international member.
The structure of the Steering Committee and the framework under which the Committee operate are guided by the AusSeabed Steering Committee Terms of Reference. Positions on the Committee are elected for a term of two years and a staggered renewal process ensures continuity between committees. More information on this process can be found in the AusSeabed Election Process Standard Operating Procedure. A list of the current Steering Committee members can be found below.
The Executive Board provides an agile, high-level strategic governance function. It advises on the development of, and endorses, the AusSeabed strategic agenda as well as reviews and endorses the work programs put forward by the Steering Committee. The Executive Board actively champion AusSeabed and help the Steering Committee demonstrate and communicate the value of the initiative. The Executive Board is initially composed of Commonwealth Agencies with scope to diversify. The AusSeabed Executive Board Terms of Reference more fully describes its role.
Steering Committee Representatives
Commander Nigel Townsend
Australian Hydrographic Office
Steering Committee Chair
Nigel has been working in the Hydrographic Survey industry for over 30 years. This includes over 12 years with the Navy Hydrographic Force in Cairns, 12 years as a Survey Manager with Fugro working in the global commercial LiDAR sector, and 3 years running his own survey consultancy. In 2017, Nigel re-joined the Navy to take up a Quality Control role at the Australian Hydrographic Office where he reviewed MBES and LiDAR datasets submitted for charting. In late 2019, Nigel was promoted to Commander and took on the new role of Assistant Director National Hydrography Program (ADNHP) where he is responsible for implementing the operational aspects of the new HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP).
A passionate marine geoscientist, Kim has been with Geoscience Australia since 2012. Over her 20 year career, Kim has worked for three international geological surveys where she has occupied technical through to leadership roles and has sailed on over 30 multi-disciplinary expeditions around the globe. Her research focus is on seabed mapping techniques and understanding the processes that shape the seafloor across a wide range of marine environments. Kim has been the AusSeabed Steering Committee Chair since its inception in 2018, and is the deputy-chair of Australia's National Marine Science Committee. Kim works closely with the international community, through projects such as Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed2030 and GeoHab, to raise the profile of seabed mapping and marine geology globally.
Australian Hydrographic Office
Richard has over 25 years’ experience as a hydrographic surveyor and is the Managing Director of Hydrographic & Cadastral Survey—a company he founded in 2005. He is a strong advocate for building capacity and training in the seabed mapping community and has contributed to key community guidelines, including the Australian Multibeam Guidelines. Richard began nautical charting in 1996 conducting hydrographic surveys through the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). At RAN, he was the lead instructor and managed the RAN Hydrographic School, conducted Laser Airborne Depth Sounding operations from Cairns, and worked on hydrographic standards and quality assurance at the Australian Hydrographic Office. He left the RAN in 2014 to run his company full-time, conducting multidisciplinary surveys, training, and consultancy. He has previously served on the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP), has been registered as Certified Professional Hydrographic Surveyor (CPHS Level 1) since 2006, and is a former Chair of the Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) Hydrography Commission.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water
WA Department of Transport
Ralph is the Manager Cartographic Services at Department of Transport, Fremantle. With 40 years of experience in land and seabed mapping, Ralph has worked in defense, business, engineering, and Government departments. He has honed skills in land tenure, environment, geology, engineering sub-surface, design, aerial photography, photogrammetry, cartography and marine sub-sea mapping. Ralph's combined experience provides a well-rounded understanding of mapping and charting in Australia's land and marine environments.
Dr Mark Doubell
South Australian Research and Development Institute
Mark is an oceanographer with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) in Adelaide. Mark leads the SARDI Oceanography sub-program and the Integrated Marine Observing system (IMOS) Southern Australian Moorings sub-facility. He oversees a team of oceanographers, ocean modelers and technicians that collaborate across state government agencies, universities, and industry to deliver integrated scientific outcomes that support the sustainable use, development and optimisation of South Australia’s marine resources and blue economy. Mark’s teams rely on seafloor mapping data to develop ocean models which are used to provide a better understanding of the marine environment and its circulation.
NSW Department of Planning and Environment
Tom Doyle is a senior scientist (coastal and marine) within the Science, Economics and Insights Division of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), managing and co-leading the Climate Change Fund state-wide science program, which aims to collect high resolution coastal data (inc. nearshore waves, sediment dynamics, seabed bathymetry and habitat mapping) to underpin NSW coastal management (inc. Coastal Management Programs). With a background in coastal geomorphology, Tom has used a diverse set of remotely sensed datasets including hydroacoustic and airborne (i.e. Lidar) data alongside ground truthing methods, to map the bathymetry, geomorphology and ecological aspects of the NSW coastal environment. Tom’s professional experience also spans university, private and local government sectors. His research interests are focused on the geomorphology and eco-morphodynamics of the coastal zone and his research covers a range of topics from foredune morphology and ecology, dune evolution through time, coastal processes, human impacts of coastal systems, to the monitoring of various coastal environments using GIS and remote sensing techniques.
Iain is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) at Curtin University. Carrying out teaching and research in underwater acoustics and seafloor mapping for 17 years, Iain has been part of various projects, including mapping deep water habitats of Ningaloo Marine Park, seagrass meadows in the Swan River, and seabed biodiversity in the Kimberley Marine Park. Iain's other research has included marine bioacoustics, underwater sound propagation modelling and sonar detection of marine fauna. Iain has given lectures for various units at Curtin University, including Atmospheric and Oceanographic Sciences, Fisheries Acoustics, Hydrographic Surveying and Marine habitat mapping. Iain is also on the Federal Council of the Australian Acoustical Society (AAS) and is Chair of the Western Australia Division of the AAS.
Dr Mary Young
Mary is a Research Fellow at Deakin University working with the Deakin Marine Mapping Group. Her background is in seascape ecology, using seafloor data and oceanography to understand patterns and processes of species, communities, and ecosystems in the marine and coastal environment. Seafloor data, particularly multibeam data, has been a big part of her research. Prior to coming to Australia, she worked with the Seafloor Mapping Lab to collect, process, assess quality, and produce deliverables of multibeam data along the entire coast of California as part of the California Seafloor Mapping Program. Simultaneously, she was using these data to understand distributions of fish species, fish communities, and kelp forests along the California coast to inform her PhD dissertation. She has and continues to have experience working on both the acquisition and user side of seafloor mapping data and understands the importance of this type of information for advancing knowledge in the marine environment.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
Kevin is a Marine Geologist focused on the management of marine data including bathymetry, oceanography and marine biology. Since 1998, Kevin has worked on the collection, processing and management of bathymetric data and has been involved in more than 20 expeditions, ranging from the tropical Pacific to the Ross Sea in Antarctica. Over this time, he has authored 15 bathymetric charts and maps. Kevin is the New Zealand delegate for the International Oceanographic data and Information Exchange (IODE) Committee of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and is a member of the GEBCO Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN). In 2017, Kevin was presented with an Award of Merit for Scientific and Technical Achievement from the Australasian Hydrographic Society.
Ocean Infinity Pty Ltd
Vice Chair, Private Representative
Martin has over 15 years of experience as a hydrographic surveyor, commencing his career in the UK undertaking surveys in the North Sea and Irish Sea. Martin is currently the Chief Project Manager at Ocean Infinity Pty Ltd and has been involved in nautical charting surveys for Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and the HydroScheme Industry Partnership Programme (HIPP) along with Tidal Gauge verification surveys for AMSA. Prior to joining Ocean Infinity Martin spent five years at the Port Authority of New South Wales undertaking safety of navigation surveys within Port Jackson, Port Botany, Eden and Yamba. Martin is a Certified Professional Hydrographic Surveyor (CPHS Level 1) and is currently a member of the Geospatial Council of Australia (GCA) Hydrography Commission. Martin also holds a PgDip in Advanced Hydrography, an MSc in Environmental Coastal Engineering and a BSc in Oceanography with Marine Biology and is an AMSA Certified Coxswain.
Henry holds the position of Sales Manager for Kongsberg Discovery’s Ocean Technologies division, with a focus on underwater mapping products across Australian and New Zealand. Henry has 14 years’ industry experience, having started his career as a survey technician supporting installation, commissioning, servicing, calibration and customer support activities in the Asia Pacific Region. Henry has a broad understanding of marine geospatial technology employed in hydrography, oceanography, seismic, unmanned platforms, surface & subsea positioning, ROV and inspection. In addition to his role with Kongsberg, Henry is the chairman for the Australasian Hydrographic Society’s West Australian Chapter.
Emily is a Senior Project Scientist at EOMAP, managing Satellite-Derived Bathymetry (SDB), seafloor habitat mapping and water quality projects across Australia’s Maritime Jurisdictions and Oceania. Her diverse range of projects includes hydrographic mapping and charting, coastal change and hazard monitoring, coastal development assessments, jurisdictional management, Marine Park management, and the Seabed 2030 initiative, amongst others. With a background in marine geoscience, Emily has participated in several multidisciplinary surveys using hydroacoustic and airborne remote-sensing data alongside ground trothing methods to map the bathymetry, geomorphology, carbonate sedimentology and benthic assemblages of marine environments, with expeditions to the Carnarvon Shelf, Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth Gulf and in the Pacific. Emily’s professional journey also includes lecturing in carbonate sedimentology and habitat mapping units at Curtin University, as GIS specialist-cartographer for Fugro Airborne Surveys, and overseeing whale shark ecotours and research on the Ningaloo Reef as Director of Oceanwise Australia.
University of Wollongong
Early Career Ocean Professional
Alysha Johnson is a PhD student at the University of Wollongong. Alysha’s research explores the geomorphic evolution of oceanic volcanoes in the South-West Pacific. She is an end-user of AusSeabed and regularly downloads bathymetric data to complete morphometric and geomorphological analysis. Alysha’s interest in seafloor mapping evolved with her PhD, starting when she spent two months at sea collecting multibeam bathymetry data. Within her PhD, Alysha uses submarine bathymetry, subaerial lidar, GID and fieldwork to combine the fields of marine geomorphology, coastal geomorphology and geospatial analysis. Alysha holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Earth Science and Geography from the University of Auckland and is the 2021 recipient of the Australian Hydrographic Society’s Education Award.