The need for high-bandwidth telecommunications, for both business and recreational purposes, has spread to previously isolated portions of the world. Satellite communications are not adequate, and many islands and remote communities in the Caribbean, around the Pacific, and around Africa, are being brought in to the worldwide submarine cable system. High bandwidth connectivity is considered essential to keep pace with the modern world.
In addition, the traditional large users of bandwidth in heavily populated developed countries have found that connectivity is so essential that more back-up systems are required. A recent earthquake triggered a huge submarine landslide in the Luzon Strait south of Taiwan. The slide caused eighteen breaks in six major cables, causing huge disruption of telecommunications traffic. It took many weeks to repair the cables, and resultant business losses have been estimated at more than US$50 billion. Consequently, more cables are being planned to protect against future loss of global and regional connectivity.
In May 2007 Fugro Seafloor Surveys mobilized a full set of sonar mapping equipment on board Fugro Gauss to undertake two months of surveys connecting cable landings in South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Tanzania. When the new cable system is installed, these areas will have direct high-bandwidth connectivity with the rest of the world for the first time.
Equipment presently installed and operated on board Fugro Gauss includes the Sys09 shallow-towed deep ocean swath bathymetric side-scan, shown below on its launch platform, and pictured left, the high frequency Sys100D that is towed near the seafloor to obtain high resolution swath bathymetry, side-scan imagery, and subbottom data to 2,000 metres water depth.
Fugro OSAE purchased the 69 metre research vessel Gauss from the German Hydrographic Office in Hamburg in February 2007. The ship was named after Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), the German mathematician and scientist. Gauss's work in the field of mathematics, particularly geometry, trigonometry and physics was essential for the field of survey which relies heavily upon points, angles and distances. His method of least squares continues to form the basis of survey adjustments and best fit analyses. Following vessel refit Bernd Jeuken, Managing Director of Fugro-OSAE, commented, "We have installed air conditioning and berths for a survey crew of up to eighteen, creating an excellent survey platform for use worldwide that continues to honour one of Germany's greatest contributors to mathematics, surveying and applied science"
In August, Fugro Gauss relocated to southeast Asia to survey deepwater portions of new trunkline cables providing more bandwidth and redundancy from Singapore, Vietnam and China to Japan and the USA. Upon completion, the vessel will return to the Arabian Sea and Red Sea for further cable route surveys that will keep the spread occupied for some months.
'Fugro Gauss' en route to South Africa