Hydrographer hall of fame

In 2012, the Board of Trustees of The Hydrographic Society of America instituted the Hydrographer Hall of Fame (HOF). The purpose of the HOF is to honor hydrographers who have made significant advances in the science of hydrographic surveying, who have had distinguished surveying careers, who have made contributions in the education of hydrographers and who have provided exemplary service to the society.


Richard Byrd served as President and General Manager of Odom Hydrographic Systems, a company specializing in single beam and multibeam echosounders for the hydrographic community.

He was instrumental in the development of Odom’s multibeam sonars and managed the transition of Odom Hydrographic Systems to Teledyne Odom Hydrographic.

Richard also served THSOA in numerous roles, including terms as President, Treasurer and multiple years as a member of the Board of Trustees. He is valued for his calm leadership in times of crisis and his honesty in business affairs.

Professor John Hughes Clarke currently works for the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM) at the University of New Hampshire.

Trained in geology and oceanography, he has a tremendous history of innovation in ocean mapping. He has published a multitude of technical papers with topics ranging from multibeam data processing, water column imaging, seafloor classification and seabed change detection.

Perhaps his greatest legacy are the many hydrographers he has trained and inspired during his tenure at the University of New Brunswick, CCOM and the private Multibeam Course.

Pat Sanders was the founder and past-President of HYPACK, a software company that was the first to offer a Windows-based hydrographic collection/processing package.

Trained as a hydrographer in the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, he founded HYPACK in 1985 and helped it grow into a major provider of hydrographic software and training.

In addition, Pat served as two terms as THSOA President. During his first term, he helped transition the management of the biennial THSOA Hydro Conference from NOAA to THSOA. He also helped establish the partnership with ACSM (now NSPS) to promote their Hydrographer Certification program. He conducted multiple training seminars around the world, focusing on both HYPACK and hydrographic surveying techniques.

Rear Admiral Richard T. Brennan, NOAA - Director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey

Rear Admiral Richard T. Brennan (Rick) graduated from the Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. After a brief stint as a bridge engineer, he was commissioned in the NOAA Corps in January 1992. Over his 26 years with NOAA, RDML Brennan served on nearly every hydrographic ship in the NOAA. While ashore, RDML Brennan pursued a Master of Science degree in Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. He specialized in ocean mapping, acoustics, and tidal error models. From there he led the Hydrographic Systems and Technology Program at NOAA.

He served as the Chief of the Hydrographic Surveys Division and managed three branches that oversaw all aspects of ocean mapping projects including planning, contract administration, data quality assurance and control, and cartographic compilation, and initiated the National Bathymetric Source project to produce nationwide bathymetric models.

Rick’s most recent assignment prior to promotion to Director of the Office of Coast Survey was as Chief of the OCS Hydrographic Surveys Division (HSD). At HSD, Rick led the Precision Navigation initiative at NOAA, operationalizing bathymetric and surface water currents products from NOAA’s coastal models to make them accessible in marine navigation systems.

In 2020, Rick was elected President of The Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA). He was promoted to Rear Admiral (lower half) and Director of the Office of Coast Survey on April 20, 2021. Although only serving as Director for a few weeks before his passing, his vision was clear.

One of Rick’s priorities as Director was to reimagine the partnership between NOAA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Rick inaugurated the new “Trident” on April 23, 2021, an initiative that is sure to live on as a strengthening of these key relationships. Rick’s leadership was also felt internationally in his role as the new U.S. National Hydrographer.

Admiral Brennan’s professionalism and passion shall be his enduring legacy. He will live on in the hydrographic and NOAA Commissioned Corps communities as his vision is carried forward with the same dedicated hard work and collaboration to bring the benefits of service and hydrography to those we serve and to all the world.

To view other Hall of Fame inductees, select the year below:

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