EOMAP delivers satellite derived bathymetry for European waters

Shallow water bathymetric and topographic grid for Greek islands, Aegean Sea (courtesy of EOMAP) Shallow water bathymetric and topographic grid for Greek islands, Aegean Sea (courtesy of EOMAP)

EOMAP, headquartered in Castle Seefeld, near Munich, Germany, recently supplied Satellite-Derived Bathymetry (SDB) to the European EMODnet Bathymetry portal. The data details shallow water regions of the Spanish Mediterranean coast, the Greek Aegean Sea and parts of Libya.

Up-to-date, high-resolution bathymetric data is increasingly important for many applications including safety of navigation, reconnaissance, coastal zone management, hydrodynamic modelling, sediment transport, cable routeing, resource exploration and military/defence operations. However, it can be particularly challenging to obtain in areas where conventional survey coverage is poor or non-existent.

Acoustic or LiDAR survey campaigns typically involve long lead times and physical site surveys in order to gather water depth data, in addition to the associated high costs and potential environmental impacts. SDB uses the intensity and spectral composition of sunlight reflected from the seafloor, together with sophisticated processing algorithms, to derive water depth. It overcomes many of the traditional obstacles to generating fit-for-purpose grid resolutions within a limited budget and offers extended coverage within a short timeframe, as well as enabling remote mapping of shallow water zones.

Under the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) umbrella, the bathymetry portal enables a harmonised Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of European sea areas to be viewed and downloaded. The DTM is based on an increasing number of high-resolution bathymetric and meta data sets generated by EMODnet's 41 consortium partners from European hydrographic offices and oceanographic institutions, research centres and commercial data providers. EMODnet Bathymetry utilises SeaDataNet, the leading pan-European infrastructure for managing, indexing and providing access to ocean and marine data sets and products.

In February, EOMAP was also awarded a contract to supply Satellite-Derived Bathymetry for seven atolls of Tuvalu, as part of a project to improve safety of navigation in the region. This venture is being overseen by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) on behalf of the Tuvalu Government. It is being funded under the UK Government's Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme which assists Commonwealth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to grow and sustain their marine economies and ensure their marine resources are better understood and managed. EOMAP previously provided the UKHO with SDB data on Southern Antigua in 2015. This was subsequently incorporated into the relevant Admiralty chart.

By Helen Atkinson

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