A Multibeam Echo Sounder (MBES) uses a type of sonar to thoroughly map the seabed. MBES systems emit sound waves in the shape of a fan below the water. Compared with conventional Single Beam Echo Sounders (SBES) this enables a swathe of soundings to be captured at a width of generally 6 times the depth of water.
Benefits of MBES include:
• 100% seabed coverage
• Scanning of underwater structures to generate a 3D point cloud or model
• Ability to detect features/hazards on the seabed
• Increased sounding resolution in comparison to SBES
• Faster data capture leading to reduced survey time
• “IHO Special Order” (the highest order of survey) can be completed where under keel clearance is critical
Single Beam vs Multibeam
Comparing the Results:
Single Beam Survey – Running 5m Survey Lines
Multibeam Survey – Full Seafloor Coverage
To help outline the benefits of MBES when compared with traditional SBES, the above images depict two different surveys across the same area with one completed using SBES and the other using MBES. The first image shows a high resolution SBES operating at 20 soundings per second with a 5m spacing between survey lines. The MBES data in the above image has been thinned to a 0.5m data set and shows the additional detail that is acquired. Total Hydrographic’s MBES system has the capability of acquiring over 200,000 soundings per second capturing huge amounts of information.