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Rear Admiral Tim Lowe, CBE visits the Lyell Centre

16/08/2019 By BGS Press
Rear Admiral

BGS was proud to welcome Rear Admiral Tim Lowe, CBE to the Lyell Centre in Edinburgh on 15 August 2019.

Rear Admiral Lowe was hosted by current BGS Chief Executive Prof John Ludden, CBE, and director of the Lyell Centre, Dr Tracy Shimmield. During the visit, the Rear Admiral also met with Martin Smith, MBE, BGS Director of Global Geoscience, as well as members from the BGS Marine Geoscience and Marine Operations teams and Lyell Centre marine scientists Dr Alex Poulton and Dr Andrew Sweetman.

Rear Admiral Lowe is the acting chief executive and the UK national hydrographer at the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO). A serving rear admiral in the Royal Navy, he is also a navigation and underwater warfare specialist and has commanded both ashore and afloat.

The Rear Admiral was keen to understand the marine research the BGS carries out and how data is collected and used. Rear Admiral Lowe was given a tour of the marine operations base and the wider facilities within the Lyell Centre.

The Lyell Centre is a strategic partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the BGS, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Scottish Funding Council and Heriot-Watt University. The partnership enables them to work together combining their expertise in geoscience. Exploring themes ranging from geology and geophysics to marine ecosystems, the centre’s combination of pure and applied expertise employs innovative methods and technologies to society’s most important environmental science and energy challenges.

The BGS and the UKHO are partner bodies of the Geospatial Commission, an expert committee that aims to maximise the value of geospatial data. The UKHO will be
providing an evidence base to help the commission in the development of the National Geospatial Strategy and will be instrumental in ensuring that the commission is aware of all relevant marine data for the UK.

Rear Admiral Lowe exploring the BGS marine operations with head of department Oliver Peppe.
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Rear Admiral Lowe exploring BGS Marine Operations with head of department Oliver Peppe. BGS © UKRI.

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It has been a pleasure to welcome the rear admiral to the Lyell Centre and discuss some of the important marine work the Lyell Centre is involved in. We discussed how this research is being used to help us all understand our marine environment, provide data to help develop policy and make informed decisions on how we use and protect our oceans.

Dr Tracy Shimmield, Director of the Lyell Centre.

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It’s been fascinating visiting the Lyell Centre, meeting so many talented staff from the British Geological Survey and getting a better understanding of what they do and how we can work together even more closely.

Marine geospatial data is critical to helping us make the best use of our oceans and the vital research carried out by this organisation is helping to improve our understanding of the UK’s marine environment. This is important work and by collaborating with partners like the BGS, we believe that together we can unlock the full value of marine geospatial data to support the safe and sustainable use of our oceans into the future.

Rear Admiral Tim Lowe.

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The need to characterise the nature of the seabed globally, as well as map it, is critical in our quest for new energy and mineral systems and sub-seabed uses. We intend to work closely with the UKHO on these issues.

Prof John Ludden, BGS Chief Executive.

BGS, Lyell Centre and Heriot Watt

The Lyell Centre

The Lyell Centre is a strategic partnership between the British Geological Survey and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which builds on our individual and combined interdisciplinary expertise in land and marine conservation, geology and geoscience. Based at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh campus, the Lyell Centre strives to be one of Europe’s leading centres for research and expertise in the earth and marine sciences.

The British Geological Survey

The British Geological Survey (BGS), a component body of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is the nation’s principal supplier of objective, impartial and up-to-date geological expertise and information for decision making for governmental, commercial and individual users. The BGS maintains and develops the nation’s understanding of its geology to improve policy making, enhance national wealth and reduce risk. It also collaborates with the national and international scientific community in carrying out research in strategic areas, including energy and natural resources, our vulnerability to environmental change and hazards, and our general knowledge of the Earth system. More about the BGS can be found at

Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt is a specialist, pioneering University, with a global presence, world renowned, innovative research and highly employable graduates.

UK Hydrographic Office

The UK Hydrographic Office is a world-leading centre for hydrography, specialising in marine geospatial data that helps others to unlock a deeper understanding of the world’s oceans. Working with a wide range of partners, they source, process and provide access to this data, ranging from seabed to surface. This is key to helping others make the best use of our oceans in safer, more secure and more sustainable ways. This data is shared with governments, defence users and academia, as well as made available through their portfolio of ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions. This includes a world-leading range of navigational charts, publications and data sets which can be found on board over 90 per cent of ships trading internationally.

For further details please contact:

Sarah Nice, British Geological Survey Press Office, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG

Office: +44 (0)115 936 3605 Mobile: +44 (0)7989 115 657

E-mail: Twitter: @Sarahnice1

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