Nearshore Hydroacoustic Seafloor Mapping In The German Bight (North Sea): Hydroacoustic Interpretation With And Without Classification

Christian.Hass [ at ]


Nearshore habitats are in constant dynamic change. They need regular assessment and appropriate monitoring of areas of special interest. To accomplish this, hydroacoustic seabed characterization tools are applied to allow for cost-effective and efficient mapping of the seafloor. In this context single beam echosounders (SBES) systems provide a comprehensive view by analyzing the hardness and roughness characteristics of the seafloor. Interpolation between transect lines becomes necessary when gapless maps are needed. This study presents a simple method to process and visualize data recorded with RoxAnn (Sonavision, Edinburgh, UK) and similar SBES. Both, hardness and roughness data are merged to one combined parameter that receives a color code (RGB) according to the acoustic properties of the seafloor. This color information is then interpolated to obtain an area-wide map that provides unclassified and thus unbiased seabed information. The RGB color data can subsequently be used for classification and modeling purposes. Four surveys are shown from a morphologically complex nearshore area west of the island of Helgoland (SE North Sea). The area has complex textural and dynamic characteristics reaching from outcropping bedrock via sandy to muddy areas with mostly gradual transitions. RoxAnn data allow to discriminate all seafloor types that were suggested by ground-truth information (seafloor samples, video). The area appears to be fluctuating within certain limits. Sediment import (sand and fluid mud) paths can be reconstructed. Manually, six RoxAnn zones (RZ) were identified and left without hard boundaries to better match the seafloor types of the study site. The k-means fuzzy cluster analysis employed yields best results with 3 classes. We show that interpretations on the basis of largely non-classified, color-coded and interpolated data provide the best gain of information in the highest possible resolution. Classification with hard boundaries is necessary for stakeholders but may cause reduction of information important to science. It becomes apparent that the type of classification addressing stakeholder issues is not always compatible with scientific objectives.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Primary Topic
Peer revision
Publication Status
Event Details
AGU Fall Meeting, 01 Dec 2016 - 01 Dec 2016.
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Cite as
Hass, H. C. , Mielck, F. and Papenmeier, S. (2016): Nearshore Hydroacoustic Seafloor Mapping In The German Bight (North Sea): Hydroacoustic Interpretation With And Without Classification , AGU Fall Meeting, December 2016 - December 2016 .


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