New agreement between TAMU-CC’s Conrad Blucher Institute and T. Baker Smith fosters innovation, real-world experiences for students

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science (CBI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has signed a Master Research Agreement (MRA) with T. Baker Smith (TBS), a full-service consulting firm providing engineering, surveying, environmental, and innovative integrated solutions along the Gulf Coast.

“This agreement is unique, as we’ve traditionally performed research through grants or contracts with public entities such as the National Science Foundation, Texas Department of Transportation, and Nueces County,” said Dr. Rick Smith, CBI Executive Director. “The MRA with TBS allows CBI to provide its scientific expertise to help innovate industry and gives our students the opportunity to work on real-world problems.”

The agreement with TBS, which began Feb. 1, allows CBI to assist in the buildout and implementation of features in TBS’ award-winning GIS dashboard, iBlueHarbor, used by ports for managing navigation and safety issues.

The dashboard was originally developed by TBS to help communicate depth and sediment accumulations created by increased vessel traffic in the Port of Corpus Christi. With other ports and private facilities now using the system, CBI will help develop features that allow iBlueHarbor’s capabilities to serve other markets.

“Investing in the next generation of surveyors is part of T. Baker Smith’s core values,” said Jim Naismith, Senior Solutions Lead at TBS’ Corpus Christi office and CBI Chair of Excellence in Hydrographic and Coastal Surveying. “Knowing the institute’s capabilities and history in spatial software development, we’re confident this agreement will help us to continue to provide efficient, innovative solutions for managing port and industry operations.”

The MRA is just one of several initiatives planned following Naismith’s recent appointment as CBI Chair of Excellence in Hydrographic and Coastal Surveying. Other plans include the creation of a hydrographic surveying certification, as well as hosting workshops and training to address surveying needs affecting deep-water ports, coastal resiliency, and offshore wind.

“As our new Chair of Excellence, Jim is not only sharing his expertise with future surveyors and geospatial scientists, but also contributing to research in the surveying field,” said Smith. “We’re excited to see this agreement come to fruition and are looking forward to future collaborations.”

To learn more about the Conrad Blucher Institute, visit