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U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 757

Data Collection

The data included in this report are single-beam bathymetry datasets collected by USGS-CMGP scientists during field operations spanning the years 1969 to 2000. This publication contains data from 44 cruises located offshore the continental United States, Hawaii Alaska, and the central and south Pacific Ocean (see fig. 1).

Data collected by the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, (InfoBank group) assigns a unique identifier (cruise ID) to each cruise or field activity. Appendix 1 provides a detailed description of the method used to assign the cruise ID.

If the specific navigation or bathymetry system(s) used for collection are known then detailed information are provided in table 1 and also within the MGD77T header record for each cruise.

Table 1. Cruise identifiers, chief scientists, and navigation and bathymetry equipment used to collect the single-beam bathymetry in this archive. Information about cruise identifier naming conventions are provided in appendix 1.

[DGPS, Differential Global Positioning System; GPS, Global Positioning System; kHz, kilohertz; Loran, long range aids to navigation; RHO-RHO, range-range; SINS, shipboard integrated navigation system]

Cruise identifier Chief scientist(s) Navigation instrumentation Bathymetry instrumentation
A100SC Chris Gutmacher, Stephanie Ross, Brian Edwards DGPS Knudsen 12 kHz 320B/R echosounder
A193YB Paul Carlson, Ellen Cowan, Ross Powell GPS 12 kHz echosounder
A194GB Paul Carlson, Rob Kayen, Ellen Cowan, Ross Powell GPS 12 kHz echosounder
A194YB Paul Carlson, Rob Kayen GPS 12 kHz echosounder
A298SC Homa Lee, Brian Edwards GPS ODEC 3.5 kHz echosounder
C179NC John Dingler Miniranger -----
D179EG Bruce Molnia, Mark Wheeler SINS 3.5 kHz
F389SC Mike Field, Jim Gardner Loran-C RHO-RHO, GPS 10 kHz, 3.5 kHz
F392SC Herman Karl, Monty Hampton GPS 10 kHz, 3.5 kHz
F690SC Jim Gardner, Doug Masson Loran-C RHO-RHO, GPS 12 kHz, 7 kHz, 3.5 kHz
F786HW Jim Hein, Bill Schwab SINS 3.5 kHz
F790NC Herman Karl, Dave Drake, Bill Schwab Loran-C RHO-RHO, GPS 10 kHz, 4.5 kHz, 3.5 kHz
F890NC Herman Karl, Dave Drake, Bill Schwab Loran-C RHO-RHO, GPS 12 kHz, 10 kHz, 3.5 kHz
F991CP Jim Gardner GPS 10 kHz, 3.5 kHz
G177EG Paul Carlson Dead reckoning 3.5 kHz
G295SF Terry Bruns, Paul Carlson, Dennis Mann GPS -----
J100SF John Chin GPS -----
J200SF Bruce Jaffe GPS -----
J281NC John Dingler Miniranger 12 kHz
J295MB Roberto Anima, Andy Stevenson, Steve Eittreim DGPS Lowrance fathometer
J299SF John Chin DGPS 200 kHz
J399SF John Chin DGPS 200 kHz
J483HB John Dingler Miniranger Raytheon 7 kHz
J695MB Roberto Anima, Andy Stevenson, Steve Eittreim DGPS Lowrance fathometer
K185AR Erk Reimnitz, Peter Barnes SINS -----
K190GB Paul Carlson SINS 7 kHz, 3.5 kHz
K191YB Paul Carlson, Ross Powell Radar and Magellan GPS 2000 Raytheon 7 kHz RTT 1000
K193HW Mike Torresan DGPS Raytheon 12 kHz
K194HW Mike Torresan, Monty Hampton DGPS Raytheon 12 kHz DSF-6000 fathometer
K195HW Mike Torresan DGPS ODEC 3.5 kHz echosounder
K291BG Paul Carlson Radar, GPS 7 kHz, 3.5 kHz
K293HW Monty Hampton GPS -----
K294HW Mike Torresan, Monty Hampton DGPS Raytheon 12 kHz DSF-6000 fathometer
L486NC Dave Cacchione, Dave Drake Loran-C RHO-RHO, GPS 12 kHz, 3.5 kHz
M197WO Pat McCrory, Dave Twichell Ashtech DGPS x11, Magnovox GPS mx 2000 pro 3.5 kHz
O100SC Brian Edwards, Homa Lee GPS -----
O199SC Bill Normark DGPS ODEC 12 kHz echosounder
O399MB Homa Lee, Charlie Paull GPS 3.5 kHz
P192MB Gary Greene SINS -----
P192SC Dave Piper Northstar GPS 8000X, Northstar 800 Loran-C Raytheon 12 kHz PTR echosounder, ORE 3.5 kHz echosounder
P194AR Art Grantz SINS -----
S196WO Mike Fisher, Ernest Flueh GPS -----
S378SC Bill Normark, Gordon Hess Loran-C, Radar 12 kHz, 3.5 kHz
T198GB Paul Carlson, Guy Cochrane Leica DGPS 3.5 kHz


Researchers within the USGS-CMGP collect bathymetry data using several types of instruments; this report provides only single-beam bathymetry data. In single-beam systems, an acoustic pulse is emitted from a transducer and propagated in a single, narrow cone of energy directed downward toward the sea floor. The transducer(s) then "listens" for the reflected energy from the sea floor. Water depth is calculated by measuring the amount of time the sound wave takes to travel from the transducer to the seafloor and back to the receiver, called two-way travel time. Two-way travel time is multiplied by the speed of sound in water and divided by two. The individual depth values can then be used to generate bathymetric maps (Duesser and others, 2002).

The speed (or velocity) of sound in water is a function of temperature, pressure and salinity (T-P-S). Rarely, these variables were measured directly by means of a bathythermograph (T-P) or more sophisticated sound velocity profiler (T-P-S). Some bathymetric systems employed the tables of sound velocity compiled by Matthews (1939) or Carter (1980). Most commonly, however, a simple constant velocity was used in the conversion, typically 1,500 meters per second (m/s). Particularly, in deep water, the speed of sound used in the depth conversion introduces considerable uncertainty in the depth calculation. Rarely was the speed of sound that was used documented. 

Bathymetry data in this report include digitally collected bathymetry and data that was hand digitized by researchers from analog records. The frequency of the single-beam bathymetry systems that the USGS-CMGP operated during these surveys ranged from 3.5 to 200 kilohertz (kHz).


Navigation is an important element for any acoustic marine survey. The navigation data in this archive were collected using a number of different instruments and methods that are described below.

Shipboard Integrated Navigation System (SINS) used transit satellite navigation and a number of subsystems that were used in dead reckoning between satellite fixes. These included doppler sonar, speed-of-sound velocimeter, water-temperature sensor, gyrocompass, electromagnetic speed log, radionavigation and other subsystems. SINS was highly variable and at best there was a 50-meter(m) accuracy (Brune, 1977).

Long range aids to navigation (Loran-C) was a federally provided radionavigation service managed by the U.S. Coast Guard. Low frequency radio signals transmitted by fixed land based radio beacons served the 48 continental states, their coastal areas, Hawaii, and parts of Alaska. The system provided better than 0.25 nautical mile accuracy for users. (U.S. Coast Guard, 1994). Loran-C could be utilized in different modes of operation; one of these was circular mode, also known as, range-range or RHO-RHO. It only needed a fix from two stations to establish a position and an accuracy of 20 to 40 m was achievable (Telford and others, 1991). The Loran-C signal was discontinued in 2012, although Loran-C had been replaced for most oceanographic research vessels decades prior to 2010.

The miniranger system is a range-range system that utilizes radar frequencies in the microwave band. The system is limited to line-of-sight operation between two or more fixed transponders, but an individual reading can be accurate to within 3 m (Brune, 1977).

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system maintained by the U.S. Government and is accessible using a GPS receiver. Most GPS manufacturers quote accuracy the of their receivers between about 15 and 17 m. GPS is based upon the earth-centered coordinate system called the World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS84) for horizontal and vertical positioning.

Differential GPS (DGPS) uses a network of fixed, ground-based reference stations to augment the information available from satellites. This method provides an improved overall positional accuracy of 10 m or better (U.S. Coast Guard, 2012).

The USGS-CMGP used a wide variety of GPS and DGPS receivers. The positional accuracy is based on the type of receiver. If the type of receiver is known, it is listed in the navigation instrumentation column of table 1.

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