Evaluation of Arctic Multibeam Sonar Data Using Nadir Crossover Error Analysis and Compilation of a Full-Resolution Data Product


We document a new high-resolution multibeam bathymetry compilation for the Canada Basin and Chukchi Borderland in the Arctic Ocean – United States Arctic Multibeam Compilation (USAMBC Version 1.0). The compilation preserves the highest native resolution of the bathymetric data, allowing for more detailed interpretation of seafloor morphology than has been previously possible. The compilation was created from multibeam bathymetry data available through openly accessible government and academic repositories. Much of the new data was collected during dedicated mapping cruises in support of the United States effort to map extended continental shelf regions beyond the 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone. Data quality was evaluated using nadir-beam crossover-error statistics, making it possible to assess the precision of multibeam depth soundings collected from a wide range of vessels and sonar systems. Data were compiled into a single high-resolution grid through a vertical stacking method, preserving the highest quality data source in any specific grid cell. The crossover-error analysis and method of data compilation can be applied to other multi-source multibeam data sets, and is particularly useful for government agencies targeting extended continental shelf regions but with limited hydrographic capabilities. Both the gridded compilation and an easily distributed geospatial PDF map are freely available through the University of New Hampshire׳s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (ccom.unh.edu/theme/law-sea). The geospatial pdf is a full resolution, small file-size product that supports interpretation of Arctic seafloor morphology without the need for specialized gridding/visualization software.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Computers and Geosciences







Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article