Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Monitoring Project

Multibeam bathymetry mapping of priority habitat areas with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Rikk Kvitek
    California State University, Monterey Bay


  • SIMoN
Start Date: September 30, 2003
End Date: December 31, 2006

In 2003, the CSUMB Seafloor Mapping Lab (SFML) received a three-year grant from the MBNMS Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) Program for habitat mapping. The goal was to provide high-resolution multibeam bathymetry and sonar-derived habitat GIS products for as many of the SIMoN priority mapping areas (shallow, rocky, kelp forest habitats) identified in MBNMS RFP-03-01 as could be covered in 50 days of fieldwork. This RFP was in response to a defined need for more comprehensive physical, geological, chemical, and biological mapping to effectively manage MBNMS marine resources.

The final bathymetric maps and associated habitat characterizations of the seafloor created by the SFML provide the basic foundation for the interpretation of other ecological data. Final GIS products include: xyz point data, ArcGIS-compatible grids, contour vector themes, geotiffs of DEMs (digitial elevation models) in shaded relief, sidescan sonar mosaics, along with the results from a variety of spatial data model habitat analyses, with spatial metadata compliant to Federal Geospatial Data Committee (FGDC) standards. These data are available on-line via the SFML Data Library (

Summary to Date

The Seafloor Mapping Lab at CSUMB has created several GIS products. Bathymetric data include:

1) Bathymetric Digital Elevation Model (DEM) surface at 2 m resolution in ArcGIS GRID format,
2) Slope analysis surface derived from bathymetric DEM,
3) Hilllshade analysis surface derived from bathymetric DEM,
4) Rugosity analysis surface derived from bathymetric DEM,
5) Topographic Position Index (TPI) analysis surface derived from bathymetric DEM,
6) Slope Position analyses based on standardized TPI output,
7) Habitat analysis derived from a combination of the above surface models,
8) Shaded-relief bathymetric image at 2 m resolution in grayscale (Geotiff),
9) Shaded-relief bathymetric image at 2 m resolution colored by depth (10-color GeoTiff), and
10) 3-d visualization bathymetric DEM in IVS Fledermaus format (compatible with free iView-3d viewer)

1) Contour lines at 10 m depth interval derived from 25 m bathy grid in ArcGIS polyline shapefile format,
2) Survey footprint in ArcGIS polygon shapefile format,
3) xyz point datasets at full (1-2 m depending on depth range) resolution (ASCII txt), and
4) xyz point datasets at reduced (100, 300, 500 m) resolutions (ArcGIS point shapefile formats)

Sidescan mosaic at 0.25 m resolution (GeoTiff)


A Collaborative Effort The California Seafloor Mapping Project (CSMP) is a collaborative, multi-institutional campaign creating the first comprehensive, high-resolution basemap of California's state waters (shoreline out to 3 nautical miles). Sponsored by the California Ocean Protection Council, State Coastal Conservancy, Department of Fish and Game, and several branches of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this statewide project is being conducted as a public/private partnership involving industry, resource management agencies and academia. The tiered mapping campaign involves the use of state-of-the-art sonar, LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and video mapping technologies; computer aided classification and visualization; expert geologic and habitat interpretations; and the creation of an online, publicly accessible data repository for the dissemination of CSMP products. Final products will include a folio series of multi-layer strip maps spanning California’s land/sea margin showing the seafloor and coastal geology rendered in unprecedented detail.

Study Parameters

  • Maps
  • Substrate characterization
  • junk

Study Methods

BATHYMETRIC AND BACKSCATTER (SIDESCAN) DATA WERE COLLECTED ABOARD THE R/V VENTRESCA USING A RESON 8101 MULTIBEAM ECHOSOUNDER. Prior to data collection a series of survey lines were created using Hypack Max GOLD from Hypack, Inc. An Applanix POS/MV was used to position the vessel during data collection and accounted for vessel motion such as heave, pitch, and roll (position accuracy ± 2m, pitch, roll and heading accuracy ±0.02°, heave accuracy ± 5% or 5cm). CNAV data were used to account for tide cycle fluctuations and sound velocity profiles were collected with an Applied Microsystems SVPlus sound velocimeter. MULTIBEAM BATHYMETRY data were post processed using Caris Hips and Sips hydrographic software. Soundings were corrected for vessel motion using Applanix POS/MV data, variations in water column sound velocity using AML SV+ data, and adjusted for variations in water height (tides) using vertical position data from a NavCom 2050 GPS receiver (CNAV). Final x,y,z soundings, surface models, and derived products are relative to the NAVD88 vertical datum. Cleaning of false data points or 'noise" was completed in Caris Hips and Sips. Shaded-relief geotiffs were exported from a Bathymetry Associated with Statistical Error (BASE) Surface with 2m resolution in sunshaded grayscale and 10-color imagery. All x,y,z files, DEMs, shaded relief images, and other products were generated in the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system, Zone 10N, WGS1984 datum. All data available via the SFML Data Library include FGDC-compliant metadata.