Multibeam Error Management: New Data Processing Trends in Hydrography


The hydrographic community has tumbled headlong into a data boom. Hundreds of single-beam soundings are now replaced by millions of high-resolution multi-beam swath soundings. This boom is not free from the problems inherent in how data is to be handled by ever-shrinking staff and ever-increasing demands for ways to store, process and archive gargantuan datasets. Luckily, modern computer hardware and processors can handle the load. However, there is still the issue of affording resources for traditional data processing, where each sounding is scrutinised. What new software approaches are being developed to automate processing? This article describes one new and innovative approach for preparing data for products the accuracy of which is known with a high degree of confidence and archived with the data. This can then be passed on to the user, whose application could very well depend on knowing the data uncertainty.

High-resolution multi-beam surveys carry with them the most advantageous tool for quality assurance-redundancy. Redundancy in beams, pings and swaths, along with specific knowledge of the sounding errors, allows a new approach to resolving the best estimation of depth at a given location and attributing each depth with realistic uncertainties.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Hydro International





Publisher Place

Lemmers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Geomares Publishing

Document Type

Journal Article