Assessment of reliability of multi-beam echo-sounder bathymetric uncertainty prediction models

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Nowadays Multi-Beam Echo-Sounder (MBES) systems are used for obtaining information of the sea/river bed bathymetry and sediment composition. For the latter, use is usually made of the backscatter strength and depth derivatives, such as depth residuals. However, the depth derivatives are affected by the uncertainties inherent to the MBES varying with the sensors used, survey configuration and operational environment. Although models are available for the vertical uncertainty prediction, the question is how well these models can capture the estimated uncertainties of real observations. The present contribution addresses this issue by comparing the measured with modelled depth uncertainty accounting for the most recent insights of the error contributors. Data was acquired in water depths of around 2m, 10m and 30m with pulse lengths of 27 μs, 54 μs and 134 μs in the Oosterschelde estuary, the Netherlands, enabling the assessment of depth and pulse length dependence of the uncertainties. In general, the predicted and measured uncertainties are in the same order of magnitude. With increasing depth the discrepancy between the modelled and measured uncertainties increases. The effect of changing pulse length is found to be captured by the model, except for the angles close to nadir. The most dominant contributors to the vertical uncertainty are those induced by the angle of impact and range measurements. These contributors thus require further investigation to obtain a more realistic estimate of the vertical uncertainties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of the 5th Underwater Acoustics Conference and exhibition 2019
Subtitle of host publicationUACE2019, Hersonissos, Crete, Greece, 30 June through 05 July 2019
EditorsJohn S. Papadakis
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event5th Underwater Acoustics Conference and Exhibition - Hersonissos, Greece
Duration: 30 Jun 20195 Jul 2019
Conference number: 5


Conference5th Underwater Acoustics Conference and Exhibition
Abbreviated titleUACE 2019
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Multibeam Echosounder Derived Depth
  • Bathymetric Uncertainty Prediction
  • Inherent MBES Uncertainty Sources


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