Minimum depth, mean depth or something in between?

T. H. Mohammadloo, M. Snellen, D. G. Simons, B. Dierikx, S. Bicknese (The Netherlands).


Reliable information about the seafloor and river-bed bathymetry is
of high interest for a large number of applications. A Multi-Beam echo sounder (MBES)
system is able to produce high-resolution bathymetry data at relatively small cost. These
measurements, providing a depth for each beam and every ping, are processed to obtain a
more ordered structure, such as a grid. Most approaches for assigning a depth to the
centre of a cell (in a grid) use the shallowest or the mean depth in each cell. However,
while the grid derived from the mean depth might be too deep compared to the shallowest
depth, using the shallowest depth approach can result in an artificially shallow grid,
affected by outliers. This paper introduces a number of alternatives to the current
methods by combining the mean depth with statistical properties derived from the point
cloud of the MBES data. In addition, the possibility of assigning a depth based on the
regression coefficients of each cell is considered. The methods introduced have been
tested on data acquired in different survey areas. The resulting grids have been compared
to their shallowest and mean counterparts to obtain a better understanding of their
advantages and limitations.

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