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Sounding and the methods employed in sounding.

The measurement of depth below the water surface is called sounding. This
corresponds to the ordinary spirit leveling in land surveying where depths are
measured below a horizontal line established by a level. Here, the horizontal line or
the datum is the surface of water, the level of which continuously goes on changing
with time.
The object of making soundings is thus to determine the configuration of the sub
aqueous source. As stated earlier, soundings are required for:
1. Making nautical charts for navigation;
2. Measurement of areas subject to scour or silting and to ascertain the
quantities of dredged material;
3. Making sub-aqueous investigations to secure information needed for the
construction, development and improvement of port facilities.

Sounding boat
A row-boat for sounding should be sufficiently roomy and stable. For quiet water, a
flat bottom boat is more suitable, but for rough water round-bottomed boat is more
suitable. For regular soundings, a row boat may be provided with a well through
which sounds are taken. A sounding platform should be built for use in smaller boat.
It should be extended far enough over the side to prevent the line from striking the
boat. If the currents are strong, a motor or stream launch may be used with advantage.

Sounding by Conning the Survey Vessel

In this method, conning means keeping the boat at known course. This method is
suitable for rivers, open sea up to 5 km off shore. The markers are fixed on the shore
called as ranges along which vessel or boat is run. This method is again sub divided
into two types as follows.

•Location by cross rope

•Location by range and time interval

Sounding by Observations with Theodolite or Sextant

Theodolite or sextant is used to measure angles in surveying. In this method, the
sounding is located by measuring angles. Here also, there are a lot of subdivided
methods are there to locate sounding. They are

•By range and one angle from the shore

•By range and one angle from the boat
•By two angles form the shore
•By two angles from the boat
•By one angle from the shore and one angle from boat
•By intersecting angles
•By tachometry

Sounding by Theodolite Angles and EDM Distances from Shore

In this method, EDM and Theodolite are placed on the shore in fixed positions. From
this set up, the reflector placed on the boat is targeted and point of sounding is

This method is more accurate when the water is still. This is one of the modern
methods of fixing sounding vessel.

Sounding by Microwave Systems

In this method, a device called Tellurometer is used which contains three units’
namely master unit, remote unit and master antenna. Master unit is fixed to the boat
and other two units are located on the shore at two shore stations.

The distances are measured from boat to the shore stations using micro waves
produced by tellurometer. Now from all these known distances the antenna produces
the two sets of range information. Tellurometer is useful for distances up to 100km
from the shore.