Senior Data Processor Jason Davies relishes challenges | HEROES

After 24 years with the Royal Navy where he visited nearly 90 countries as a hydrographic surveyor, Jason Davies joined the Atlas Professionals team in 2015. Although he has experience as both an offline and online surveyor he is now largely deployed on projects worldwide as a Senior Data Processor. 

Jason admits that coming from Shrewsbury – a British town nowhere near the coast - may well be the very reason he was drawn to an oceangoing career. Despite very much enjoying his time with the Navy, Jason decided to embark on a new challenge in 2012 and he took a position with an Aberdeen-based survey company for three years. 

He then joined Atlas Professionals and has no regrets about his decision to become a freelance surveyor. Jason is attached to the Atlas office in Newquay, Cornwall and has close contact with the team there. “I know all the staff very well and phone in regularly to see what’s coming up. There are always new opportunities.”

Wind farms in the North Sea to pipelines in Egypt

During his time with Atlas, Jason has worked on several interesting projects. One particular highlight was a project for the Swedish marine surveying company MMT in Gothenburg, which had a great working environment. This was one of the rare occasions when Jason was more office based as most of his work is usually offshore. Here he was responsible for the data processing for the 3D surveys of  the inter-array/export cables for several wind farms in the German sector of the North Sea. Data, collected using Kongsberg SIS, was sent from the vessel to the MMT office. “Then I processed, cleaned and performed the quality control on the data using CARIS and created all the final deliverables in EIVA NaviModel.”

Jason then went to Egypt on behalf of Subsea7 in 2017, where he was carrying out cable touchdown monitoring with an Automated Surface Vehicle. He recently returned to Egypt for another client, this time performing data processing for a gas pipeline in the West Nile Delta. 

In 2018, Jason worked as a Data Processor in the Baltic Sea for Next Geosolutions. This was largely surveying to perform UXO clearance of World War 2 ordnance in a 30-metre corridor in the Swedish sector. This project took place in three phases. “The first phase was a gradiometer survey of the proposed route. My role was create the survey grid and to process the online navigation data using QINSy.  The second phase was to conduct a visual inspection on any potential targets. My role was to replay all the data using VisualEdit and correlate it into a shared system. The last phase was to use multibeam sonar, TSS Pipetracker and visual inspections to carry out the pipeline crossing survey. I cleaned and edited the multibeam data using QINSy.”

In the first quarter of this year his data processing work has taken him to yet another corner of the globe. Jason was deployed to perform pre-installation surveys for the Liza oil pipeline project between Guyana and Trinidad by Atlas’s client, DOF Subsea. “This involved preparatory work in AutoCAD/AutoChart. An MBES pre-lay survey was carried out on all the routes.” He returned to the project in July for the next phase. “I am definitely happy working for DOF and it was nice to see that they wanted me back for the next phase of the project. We have a very experienced, multinational team on the Skandi Neptune and a great crew.”

Jason is also relishing the challenging environment. “We have actually had some pretty heavy weather. There is a considerable current sweep in the area, which means there are quite some changes in the salinity levels.  Being a coastal area, where currents meet with a lot of fresh water runouts and the rapid changes in the weather conditions mean it is a very interesting job.”

Career opportunities

Jason has enrolled on the Atlas Competence Programme (ACP) and believes it is beneficial for boosting his career opportunities.  “The Atlas Competence Programme is a great way of putting all my competences, qualifications and experience in one place, making it very easy for the client to access this information. They can immediately see if I have the exact skills for their project and which systems I am familiar with. They have everything in front of them.” 

Although Jason’s role was impacted by the slump in oil prices as projects started to dry up in 2015, he is confident that the industry seems to have turned a corner. “There are opportunities coming along in both oil & gas and renewables. I am happy being a freelance and wouldn’t be keen to work full-time for a company again. Atlas offers very competitive packages and it is nice to be able to pick and choose which projects I want to work on. Usually I have one contract lasting most of the year but also some short-term projects too.”

Jason is always keen to learn new skills and develop his career. For some of the most recent projects, he was asked to carry out the charting work, which is not typically part of his responsibilities. “I really enjoyed this and it is another skill to add to my CV.” Additionally, Jason aims to broaden his experience with autonomous underwater vehicles, which he finds fascinating. “That is where the future is!”

Atlas Competence Programme

“The Atlas Competence Programme makes it much easier for clients to see my competence, qualifications and experience in a central place,” says longstanding Atlas professional Jason Davies.

Atlas Professionals are asked to outline their core competences such as leadership, supervisory roles, managerial skills, what type of equipment they have used, what sort of projects they have been involved in, what (client) specific software they have used, how many times, and if they can  train other people etc. Further to the online technical self-assessments, which Atlas introduced in Survey a few years ago, the company has added function-specific self-assessment tools. These match the IMCA framework guidelines where applicable (Survey, ROV, Marine). This is in addition to interviews, appraisals, and supporting work evidence such as operational days, ROV logging hours, DP awareness etc.

For more information or to enroll in the Atlas Competence Programme, please reach out to competence@atlasprofessionals.com