Since 2015, the French company Seaviews, specialized in coastal hydrography, has used a multibeam echosounder Sonic 2022 to extract environmental information of the seafloor and the water column. The small form factor of the Sonic 2022 makes it easy to deploy on small vessels, which is ideal for very shallow water surveys.
Specific algorithms were developed by Seaviews to determine the nature of the sea bottom and detect the echoes of the school of fish within the water column. Bathymetric data is analyzed utilizing a new rugosity index that sheds light on the unevenness of the seafloor, revealing the extensive Mediterranean meadows, rocks and artificial structures.
An automated system was also developed by Seaviews to compute each data type acquired by the Sonic 2022 (bathymetry, rugosity indices, backscatter imagery) through a pixel-based classification of the seafloor. This efficient mapping method of marine habitats provides high resolution 2D maps, which have been instrumental and critical in defining environmental initiatives by government agencies.
By merging the information of the water column and of the marine habitat, Seaviews generates a 3D view of the Mediterranean underwater environment, which provides valuable and unique insights into how the marine ecosystems work.