Dealing with increasing data volumes and decreasing resources


The inclusion of high-resolution multibeam and digital side scan sonar systems, along with state-of-the-art positioning and attitude sensors and other ancillary sensors on ships and Hydrographic Survey Launches (HSLs) has provided the US Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) with the finest-equipped survey fleet in the world. Along with this tremendous increase in bottom-mapping capability comes a corresponding increase in the amount of data that must be validated prior to inclusion into the various shallow- and deep- water hydrography, bathymetry, and imagery products that NAVOCEANO produces. With ships operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 10 months a year or more, NAVOCEANO will soon continually collect more data than anyone else in the world. If maximum data rates are used, we could face a potential of a 22-fold increase in the amount of bathymetric data to be processed-a maximum of over 2.75 terabytes per year versus the present level of 125 gigabytes per year. This figure rises to an overwhelming 2400 times the present data quantity (roughly 300 terabytes per year) if multibeam imagery and digital side scan sonar are included. Fig. 1 depicts the expected increase in future bathymetric/hydrographic data volumes and the amount that has been collected over the years that NAVOCEANO has been collecting multibeam data. Notice the prior 30 years of multibeam data barely registers on the graph!


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

IEEE Oceans





Conference Date

Oct 29 - Oct 31, 2002

Publisher Place

Biloxi, MS, USA



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding