Echo sounding

Echo sounding

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Echo sounding is the technique of using sound
Sound
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...

 pulses directed from the surface or from a submarine vertically down to measure the distance to the bottom by means of sound waves. This information is then typically used for navigation purposes or in order to obtain depths for charting purposes. Echo sounding can also refer to hydroacoustic "echo sounders" defined as active sound in water (sonar) used to study fish. Hydroacoustic assessments have traditionally employed mobile surveys from boats to evaluate fish biomass and spatial distributions. Conversely, fixed-location techniques use stationary transducers to monitor passing fish.

The word sounding
Sounding
Sounding generally refers to a mechanism of probing the environment by sending out some kind of stimulus. The term derives from the ancient practice of determining the depth of water by feeding out a line with a weight at the end....

is used for all types of depth measurements, including those that don't use sound
Sound
Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.-Propagation of...

, and is unrelated in origin to the word sound in the sense of noise or tones.

Technique



Distance is measured by multiplying half the time from the signal's outgoing pulse to its return by the speed of sound
Speed of sound
The speed of sound is the distance travelled during a unit of time by a sound wave propagating through an elastic medium. In dry air at , the speed of sound is . This is , or about one kilometer in three seconds or approximately one mile in five seconds....

 in the water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, which is approximately 1.5 kilometres per second. For precise applications of echosounding, such as Hydrography
Hydrography
Hydrography is the measurement of the depths, the tides and currents of a body of water and establishment of the sea, river or lake bed topography and morphology. Normally and historically for the purpose of charting a body of water for the safe navigation of shipping...

, the speed of sound must also be measured typically by deploying a Sound Velocity Probe
Sound Velocity Probe
Note: This page refers to the device used to measure the speed of sound in water for use in hydrographyA sound velocity probe is a device that is used for measuring the speed of sound, specifically in the water column, for oceanographic and hydrographic research purposes.- History :Early depth...

 into the water. Echo sounding is effectively a special purpose application of sonar
Sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

 used to locate the bottom.

Common use


As well as an aid to navigation (most larger vessels will have at least a simple depth sounder), echo sounding is commonly used for fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

. Variations in elevation often represent places where fish congregate. Schools of fish will also register.
Most charted ocean
Ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

 depths use an average or standard sound speed. Where greater accuracy is required average and even seasonal standards may be applied to ocean regions. For high accuracy depths, usually restricted to special purpose or scientific surveys, a sensor may be lowered to observe the factors (temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

, pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

 and salinity
Salinity
Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

) used to calculate sound speed and thus determine the actual sound speed in the local water column. This latter technique is regularly used by US Office of Coast Survey for navigational surveys of US coastal waters. See NOAA Field Procedures Manual, Office of Coast Survey website (http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/hsd/fpm/fpm.htm).

Use in Hydrography


In areas where detailed bathymetry
Bathymetry
Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake or ocean floors. In other words, bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to hypsometry. The name comes from Greek βαθύς , "deep", and μέτρον , "measure"...

 is required, a precise echo sounder may be used for the work of Hydrography
Hydrography
Hydrography is the measurement of the depths, the tides and currents of a body of water and establishment of the sea, river or lake bed topography and morphology. Normally and historically for the purpose of charting a body of water for the safe navigation of shipping...

. There are many considerations when evaluating such a system, not limited to the vertical accuracy, resolution, acoustic beamwidth of the transmit/receive beam and the acoustic frequency
Frequency
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency.The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency...

 of the transducer
Transducer
A transducer is a device that converts one type of energy to another. Energy types include electrical, mechanical, electromagnetic , chemical, acoustic or thermal energy. While the term transducer commonly implies the use of a sensor/detector, any device which converts energy can be considered a...

.
The majority of hydrographic echosounders are dual frequency, meaning that a low frequency pulse (typically around 24KHz) can be transmitted at the same time as a high frequency pulse (typically around 200KHz). As the two frequencies are discrete, the two return signals do not typically interfere with each other. There are many advantages of dual frequency echosounding, including the ability to identify a vegetation layer or a layer of soft mud on top of a layer of rock.
Most hydrographic operations use a 200kHz transducer, which is suitable for inshore work up to 100 metres in depth. Deeper water requires a lower frequency transducer as the acoustic signal of lower frequencies is less susceptible to attenuation in the water column. Commonly used frequencies for deep water sounding are 33kHz and 24kHz.

The beamwidth of the transducer is also a consideration for the hydrographer, as to obtain the best resolution of the data gathered a narrow beamwidth is preferable. This is especially important when sounding in deep water, as the resulting footprint of the acoustic pulse can be very large once it reaches a distant sea floor.

In addition to the single beam echo sounder, there are echo sounders that are capable of receiving many return "pings". These systems are detailed further in the section called multibeam echosounder.

Standards for Hydrographic Echo Sounding


The required precision and accuracy of the hydrographic echo sounder is defined by the requirements of the International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization is the inter-governmental organisation representing the hydrographic community. It enjoys observer status at the UN and is the recognised competent authority on hydrographic surveying and nautical charting...

 (IHO) for surveys that are to be undertaken to IHO standards. These values are contained within IHO publication S44.

In order to meet these standards, the surveyor must consider not only the vertical and horizontal accuracy of the echo sounder and transducer, but the survey system as a whole. A motion sensor may be used, specifically the heave component (in single beam echosounding) to reduce soundings for the motion of the vessel experienced on the water's surface. Once all of the uncertainties of each sensor are established, the hydrographer will create an uncertainty budget to determine whether the survey system meets the requirements laid down by IHO.

Different hydrographic organisations will have their own set of field procedures and manuals to guide their surveyors to meet the required standards. Two examples are the US Army Corps of Engineers publication EM110-2-1003, and the NOAA 'Field Procedures Manual'.

External Links



http://www.odomhydrographic.com/

See also

  • Acoustical oceanography
    Acoustical oceanography
    Acoustical oceanography is the use of underwater sound to study the sea, its boundaries and its contents.-History:The earliest and most widespread use of sound and sonar technology to study the properties of the sea is the use of an echo sounder to measure water depth...

  • AUV
  • Fisheries Acoustics
    Fisheries acoustics
    Fisheries acoustics includes a range of research and practical application topics using acoustical devices as sensors in aquatic environments. Acoustical techniques can be applied to sensing aquatic animals, zooplankton, and physical and biological habitat characteristics.-Basic Theory:Biomass...

  • Fishfinder
    Fishfinder
    A fishfinder is an instrument used to locate fish underwater by detecting reflected pulses of sound energy, as in SONAR. A modern fishfinder displays measurements of reflected sound on a graphical display, allowing an operator to interpret information to locate schools of fish, underwater debris,...

  • Hydroacoustics
    Hydroacoustics
    Hydroacoustics is a general term for the study and application of sound in water. The term comes from Greek υδρο, water, and ακουστική, acoustics...

  • Sonar
    Sonar
    Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

  • Sounding line
    Sounding line
    A sounding line or lead line is a length of thin rope with a plummet, generally of lead, at its end. Regardless of the actual composition of the plummet, it is still called a "lead."...

  • Soundings
  • Underwater acoustics
    Underwater acoustics
    Underwater acoustics is the study of the propagation of sound in water and the interaction of the mechanical waves that constitute sound with the water and its boundaries. The water may be in the ocean, a lake or a tank. Typical frequencies associated with underwater acoustics are between 10 Hz and...

  • Hydrographic survey
    Hydrographic survey
    Hydrographic survey is the science of measurement and description of features which affect maritime navigation, marine construction, dredging, offshore oil exploration/drilling and related disciplines. Strong emphasis is placed on soundings, shorelines, tides, currents, sea floor and submerged...