Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake or ocean floors. Bathymetric surveys allow us to measure the depth of a water body as well as map the underwater features of a water body. Multiple methods can be used for bathymetric surveys including multi-beam and single-beam surveys, ADCPs, sub-bottom profilers, and the Ecomapper Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. We use bathymetric surveys for many different types of research including flood inundation, contour of streams, reservoirs and also for projects on water such as floating solar farm or offshore project such as wind farm power project.
A multi-beam echo sounder attached to a boat sends out a wide array of beams across a “swath” of the waterbody floor. As the beams are bounced back from the waterbody floor, the data is collected and processed. The processed data can be viewed in real time on the boat during the survey. Multi-beam surveying is generally done in larger water bodies.
Rather than sending out a wide set of beams, single-beam bathymetry measures the water depth directly under the boat. Single-beam surveys are generally used for smaller water bodies.