The Invention and Developing of Multibeam Echosounder Technology

Open access


When a man has mastered the ability to travel by sea, he began to wonder what is the depth clearance under the keel and how to measure the depth. Initially, only coastal shipping was practiced. Cargo ship sailing, fishery, underwater scientific research, recreational diving as well as resource exploration and operation of submarine cables and pipelines laying were developing dynamically in this part of the continental shelf. That is why accurate bathymetric information was of great importance to masters, scientists, fishermen, ship-owners and all seafarers.

Cartographic compilation of even a primitive nautical chart was a huge challenge. It was a painstaking process and required, first and foremost, a large amount of data, which was primarily obtained through not efficient measurements. As technology progresses, new techniques and methods of ocean exploration have developed. The technology, systems, devices and instruments of underwater exploration have gone through a long way of change, modernization and improvements, ultimately creating the potential for a bottom surface visualization as three-dimensional spatial models. A significant role has been played by multibeam echosounder which revolutionized the hydrographic surveys and proved to be efficient means of hydrographic and oceanographic surveys.

1. Vilming S., The Development of the Multibeam Echosounder: A Historical Account, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 103(5), January 1998 s. 1637;

2. M. Jacops, Analyses of high resolution bathymetric data in the Eltanin impact area, Master thesis, Bremerhaven, January 2002, s. 17, [on-line] (dostęp 25.10.2015);

3. Grządziel A., Pomiary batymetryczne – dawniej i dziś, Przegląd Morski nr 4, Gdynia 2004;

4. Grządziel A., Echosonda jednowiązkowa w pomiarach hydrograficznych, Przegląd Morski nr 4, DMW Gdynia, 2006.

5. NOAA’s Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Collection, NOAA Central Library, [on-line],, (dostęp 15.05.2017);

6. Littlehales G.W., How the Sea is Sounded, Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 44, January 1894, [on-line];

8. [on-line, dostęp 19.09.2016];

9. Cpt. Field A. M., Report on the Suitability and Capabilities of Palmyra and Fanning Islands as Submarine Cable Stations, Hydrographic Department, London: December 1897, [on-line],, (dostęp 14.12.2016);

10. Hartcup G., The war of invention: scientific developments, 1914-18. London: Brassey’s Defence Publishers, 1988;

11. Swerpel S., Mowa Oceanu, „Wiedza i Życie” 8 (968), sierpień 2015, s. 34-37;

12. Ranade G., Impact of bathymetric system advances on hydrography, National Institute of Oceanography, Impact of Technology in the Field of Hydrography and Maximising Returns for Maritime Safety and Nation Building, National Seminar 21-22 June 2007, Goa, 88-96p, [on-line] (dostęp: 27.10.2015);

13. Mayer L.A., Paton M., Gee L., Gardner S.V., Ware C., Interactive 3-D visualization: a tool for seafloor navigation, exploration and engineering, in OCEANS 2000 MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition, vol. 2, 2000, pp. 913-9192;

14. Moustier Ch.d., State of the art in swath bathymetry survey systems, International Hydrographic Review, Monaco, LXV(2), July 1988, pp. 25-54;

15. IMCA, Guidelines for the Multibeam Echosounders for Offshore Surveys, S 003 Rev. 2, July 2015;

16. Nair R.R., Chakraborty B., Study of multibeam techniques for bathymetry and seabottom backscatter applications, Journal of Marine and Atmospheric Research, Vol. 1, 1997, pp. 17-24;

17. Morris G.F., Introducing an Operational Multi-Beam Array Sonar, International Hydrographic Review 47 (1), Vol. XLVII, No. 1, Monaco, 1970, pp. 35-39;

18. Fahrentholz S., Systeme D’echographes Pour Leves De Chenaux, International Hydrographic Review, Vol. XL, No. 1, Monaco, 1963, pp. 28-27;

19. Engelmann I., Towed Echosounders for Parallel Sounding, International Hydrographic Review 44(2), Vol. XLIV, No. 2, Monaco, 1967, pp. 7-10;

20. Stenborg E., The Swedish Parallel Sounding Method State of the Art, International Hydrographic Review 64 (1), Vol. LXIV, No. 1, Monaco, 1987, pp. 7-14;

21. Burke R., Robson J., An Evaluation of the BO’SUN Multi-Beam Sonar System, International Hydrographic Review 52 (2), Vol. LII, No. 2, Monaco, 1975, pp. 53-69;

22. McCaffrey E.K., A Review of the Bathymetric Swath Survey System, International Hydrographic Review 58 (1), Vol. LVIII, No. 1, Monaco, 1981, pp. 19-27;

23. Renard V., Allenou J.P., Sea Beam Multi-Beam Echo-Sounding in “Jean Charcot” - Description, Evaluation and First Results, International Hydrographic Review 56 (1), Vol. LVI, No. 1, Monaco, 1979, pp. 35-67;

24. Lurton X., Modelling of the sound field radiated by multibeam echosounders for acoustical impact assessment, Applied Acoustics, Volume 101, 1 January 2016, pp. 201-221, ISSN 0003-682X,

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 251 251 44
PDF Downloads 161 161 36