A new Kongsberg-Simrad EM120 multibeam echo-sounder has been installed aboard Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Research Vessel Roger Revelle in January 2001. This system can map reliably a 20 km swath of seafloor in 4000 m water depth with 191 soundings per ping. Such a wide swath width demands highly accurate (<0.05' RMS) roll information from a motion sensor, and makes estimating sounding accuracy across the swath an interesting challenge. It is shown that good accuracy estimates can be obtained by collecting data on station under control of the GPS-aided dynamic positioning system usually available on most modern long-range oceanographic vessels. A number of motion sensors, with RMS roll accuracy specifications ranging from 0.05' to 0.01' ,were tested with the EM120 sonar on station in 3800 m to 4000 m water depths. Unexpectedly, they yielded roughly the same depth uncertainty as a function of receive beam angle. This result might be explained by synchronization errors between the attitude data and the sonar data leading to beam pointing errors, other types of beam pointing errors, a range of roll accuracy narrower than specified for the motion sensors, or a combination of these factors

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

IEEE Oceans





Conference Date

Nov 5 - Nov 8, 2001

Publisher Place

Honolulu, HI, USA



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding