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Water Technology Firm in Southampton participates in Research into World's Shallow Seas

Water Technology Firm in Southampton participates in Research into World's Shallow Seas

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A water technology company based in Hampshire is playing an international role in building a better understanding of our planet’s shallow seas.

The measurement of underwater terrain by DHI is part of an 18-month project in partnership with Digital Globe and Proteus GEO and funded by the European Space Agency.

Covering six per cent of the world’s seas, the new data will make use of satellite imagery to better inform this critical understanding by governments, scientists, maritime, energy and telecommunications companies and environmentalists.

Increased demand for DHI Water Environments UK’s consultancy services, including from offshore wind farm and tidal energy designers and developers, has meant expansion at the firm’s base at Ocean Village Innovation Centre (OVIC) in Southampton.

Led by Nick Elderfield, Managing Director, the business has grown from two people to eight, including analysts from Denmark, with a move on site from a two-person office to a larger one on the fourth floor.

Nick said: “Our collaboration with other project partners on the European Space Agency project is fascinating and exciting, resulting in expansion for the UK team here at OVIC. We have a wealth of new data to sift through as we look to build a better understanding of the world’s shallow seas.”

Satellite images can be used to build up a detailed picture of the sea-bed terrain and work best in clear waters at up to 30 metres depth.

Findings from the project will help support surface and sub-surface navigational information and also planning for major projects such as port development.

Most of the work by DHI Water Environments UK relates to marine environments and the business is a well-regarded specialist in numerical modelling as well as the new bathymetry technology.

Derived from a Greek word for deep and measure, bathymetry is the study of ocean floors.

DHI Water Environments UK is part of the global Danish-owned DHI Group, a water technology specialist which owns and licenses water modelling software called MIKE.

Its software, with a history extending back to the start of modern computational hydraulics, analyses, models and simulates any type of challenge in water environments and is used by the vast majority of sector consultants.

Rob Greenberg, Centre Manager, OVIC, said: “Nick and his team are an inspirational example of commercial innovation here at OVIC. Their data analysis of shallow oceans, based on digital satellite imagery from space, will help support everything from safer navigation for shipping and sub-sea vessels to environmental considerations and green power as our energy-hungry world looks to wean itself off fossil fuels.

“DHI Water Environments UK is also an excellent example of a firm flexing office space on site to suit growth. Furthermore, Nick has the opportunity to draw upon other occupiers at OVIC for support services, such as insurance and human resources.”

The firm is one of a number of tech companies to make OVIC its home.  Another is recent arrival Smarter Innovation Systems, which enables workers to remotely clock in and out through their smartphones or other internet-connected devices, ensuring time and attendance are accurately recorded.


OVIC has 70 serviced offices and is operated by UKSPA member Oxford Innovation, Britain’s leading operator of innovation centres for start-ups and early-stage firms. The centre has 85% occupancy, with just 40 workstations available. 

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