Leo Koop and Mirjam Snellen from the DISCLOSE project contributed to a scientific article related to monitoring the seafloor on the Dutch continental shelf. It is a challenge to find ways to effectively monitor large parts of the sea floor. By monitoring we can determine if habitats are growing or shrinking and what condition they are in.
Much progress has been made toward mapping large areas of the seafloor using a specific type of sonar called a multi-beam echo-sounder. But a lingering problem of using these systems for monitoring has been that small changes in sensitivity in these complex sonars might make it seem like the seafloor has changed when in fact it’s something in the sonar that has changed. This created two problems in that it made monitoring the seafloor difficult, and it also made merging classification data from different vessels and different sonars unreliable.
Through our research we developed two processing methods that minimized the effects of sonar changes. For the first time we were able to have a robust seafloor classification from MBES data from different sonars and vessels. The methods are important for more accurate interpretation of multi-beam data and as such, this is valuable for future research of the seafloor.
The article can be found here.