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DEPTH MEASUREMENT:

Depth determination is a fundamental task for a hydrographer, which requires specific knowledge of the medium, of underwater acoustics, of the plethora of devices available for depth measurement, of complementary sensors for attitude and heave measurement and proper procedures. Depths are normally measured using either single-beam (SBES) or multi-beam (MBES) echo sounders. Complete seabed personification for the purpose of small target detection can be achieved when these systems are used in conjunction with a towed or fixed side scan sonar system. It should be noted that SBES is still the most common tool used in port and harbor surveys and will continue to give valid results when used correctly in a well planned and executed survey. Multi-transducer, single beam (Sweep) systems are becoming less popular in favour of shallow water, wide swathe or dual head multi-beam sonar systems. However, until capital and operating costs reduce significantly, it is unlikely that, in the short term, MBES will replace SBES for routine surveys in the average port or harbor. MBES have become a valuable tool for depth determination when full seafloor ensonification is required. An increasing number of National Hydrographic Offices (NHO) has adopted multibeam technology as the methodology of choice for the collection of bathymetric data for new chart production. The acceptance of multibeam data for use in published nautical charts is a sign of growing confidence in the technology. Notwithstanding their impressive capabilities, it is vital that planners, operators and checkers have indepth knowledge of MBES operating principles, as well as practice in data interpretation and validation. Airborne laser sounding systems are being used by a few NHOs; these systems have, by far, the highest data acquisition rates and are particularly suited to near shore and shallow water areas. However, the high costs for the assets involved in data collection and their operation do not currently allow a more general use.

TIDAL MEASUREMENT:
Tidal height observations should be made throughout the course of a survey for the purpose of: a) Providing tidal reductions for soundings, and b) Providing data for tidal analysis and subsequent prediction, for which purposes the observations should extend over the longest possible period and not less than 29 days. Tidal heights should be observed so that the total measurement error at the tide gauge, including timing error, does not exceed +/- 5 cm at 95% for Special Order surveys. For other surveys +/- 10 cm should not be exceeded. In order for the bathymetric data to be fully exploited in the future using advanced satellite observation techniques, tidal observations should be related both to a low water datum (usually LAT) and also to a geocentric reference system, preferably the World Geodetic System 84 (WGS 84) ellipsoid. Sea level (tide) measurements of height and time are required to reduce collected soundings to Chart Datum, and they are subsequently used (as a continuous record over long periods) to define tidal reference levels (e.g. MHWS). Tidal observations are normally obtained via automatic recording gauges, which are permanently installed in many ports. Other methods used to obtain tidal information include: manual tide pole (or staff) readings, referenced to a recognized datum (normally Chart Datum); and RTK GPS with cent metric precision in the vertical (Z) dimension. This latter method provides a total height measurement, including tide height, but the genocidal separation must be accurately known, and the base station-rover range limitations clearly understood. If Kinematic GPS is used in this manner, it is considered good practice to regularly correlate the results against tidal observations obtained by traditional (e.g. tide gauge) methods. Regardless of the type and method used, the equipment must be capable of measuring the tide to the required accuracy. If the method of tidal reduction requires interpolation between individual observations, the interval between observations must be such as to provide an adequate representation of the tide curve. If automatic tide gauges are used, these must be regularly calibrated against a staff gauge to ensure their accuracy. The accuracy of the tide readings used to reduce soundings impacts directly on the overall accuracy of the survey.