The Ultimate Guide to Bathymetric Data 2021
What is Bathymetric Data?
Also referred to as submarine topography, bathymetry is defined as the ocean’s depth with sea level. Bathymetric maps, therefore, illustrate three-dimensional physical ground features that lie underwater. Bathymetry forms the foundation of the science of hydrography that measures the physical attributes of a water body. Therefore, bathymetric data is information that is meant to paint a clear picture of the features of underground seawater.
How is Bathymetric Data collected?
Bathymetric data is measured and archived by the U.S National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
Collecting bathymetric data is an undertaking that involves the application of advanced technological systems. Some of these systems include:
- Single-beam surveying - This measures the water depth directly and exclusively beneath the boat.
- Multi-beam surveying - A group of beams is sent down the water body floor and data collected using an echo sounder attached at the bottom of the survey boat.
- Sub-bottom profilers - These are commonly used to observe the sheets of sediment and rocks beneath the water body floor.
- Ecomapper autonomous underwater vehicle - In places that are impossible to access by the use of human divers, ecomapper vehicles can amass detailed bathymetric data deep down to one-foot contours.
What are the attributes of Bathymetric Data?
Bathymetric data is often attributed to tidal vertical attributes. A geodetic datum is a coordinate system and a group of reference points that are applied in the process of locating geographical locations on earth. Bathymetric data is therefore applied in deep-sea bathymetry that assesses the core attribute of Mean Sea Level (MSL). For bathymetric data that is used for nautical charting, the attributes are referenced to Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) in the American surveys and Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT) for other countries.
What is Bathymetric Data used for?
Bathymetric data has a range of uses.
- Nautical charts design - Based on bathymetric data, these charts are designed to lead mariners just as road maps guide drivers. Precise information about the depth of the water and probable deep water hazards is a critical aspect of maritime transportation, particularly for large ships.
- Researching the shifts in coastline features - Scientists apply bathymetric data to carry out research on the influence of climate change and to observe beach erosion, fluctuations in sea level, and landslides.
- Designing hydrodynamic models - Bathymetric data is also applied in the designing of models that can accurately compute currents, tides, water, temperature, and salinity in a given coastal area. These models from bathymetric data are also crucial in forecasting tides and currents.
- Researching marine life - The research of aquatic life is accelerated when scientists have bathymetric data to help them map out the area of study.
How can a user assess the quality of Bathymetric Data?
Data quality of bathymetric data is of utmost importance especially for the safety of the mariner. This is because, through the assessment of this data, the option to merge the aspect of depth and quality can play a great role in the initial planning stages of a voyage and the actual decision process in the course of a voyage. The main data quality aspect gwhen it comes to bathymetric data is that it forms a seamless coverage of the area it identifies. In assessing the quality of bathymetric data, a user should also consider its accuracy and the element of spatial distribution.
How can I get Bathymetric Data?
You can get Bathymetric Data via a range of delivery methods - the right one for you depends on your use case. For example, historical Bathymetric Data is usually available to download in bulk and delivered using an S3 bucket. On the other hand, if your use case is time-critical, you can buy real-time Bathymetric Data APIs, feeds and streams to download the most up-to-date intelligence.