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Multibeam Sonar Training Course

Paul Walline and Alex De Robertis attended the 32nd Shallow Water Multibeam Sonar Training Course held at the AFSC 1-6 December 2003. The intensive 36-lecture 6-day course provided an overview of “processing and visualization techniques designed to address the complexities of swath mapping,” and included shipboard demonstrations of multibeam sonar equipment. Although the course was designed primarily for hydrographic surveyors, the methods described are of increasing interest for NOAA scientists tasked with characterizing fisheries habitat and for MACE scientists interested in the use of multibeam systems in midwater to detect fish to the side of research vessels. Use of multibeam systems in midwater was not specifically addressed in the course, but the basic principles taught can be directly applied to the problem of using such systems for fisheries research. The new NOAA ship Oscar Dyson will be equipped with a Simrad SM2000 Multibeam Imaging Sonar operating at 90 kHz with a 90° field of view. Efforts are currently under way to develop methods for calibration and to develop software for displaying and analyzing SM2000 recordings.

By Paul Walline.

GIS Visualization of Acoustic Survey Data

Figure 3, see caption
Figure 3.  The GIS display includes both the total measured acoustic backscatter and that portion attributed to walleye pollock (A).  Primary biological data of interest includes overall catch composition (B) and walleye pollock length frequency (C).

During the summer 2003 Gulf of Alaska survey aboard the NOAA ship Miller Freeman, MACE scientists (with invaluable assistance from Steve Barbeaux of the REFM Division) developed a GIS application to visually incorporate basic biological and acoustical survey data in a single platform (Fig. 3 above). This application could be utilized to view and process data in real time during the survey and aid in analysis. The long-term goal is to incorporate this data visualization project into a web-based application that would feature a direct connection to the MACE database and allow access of acoustic-trawl survey results to non-GIS users, including the general public.

By Kresimir Williams.

Fisheries Scientific Computer System Users Conference

RACE scientists Mike Brown, Kresimir Williams, Robin Harrison, and Jason Conner attended the Fisheries Scientific Computer System (FSCS) Users Conference in Silver Spring, Maryland on 2-5 December. The conference was sponsored by the Office of Science and Technology in cooperation with NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations (NMAO). The FSCS is a paperless system for collecting trawl and biological data that was developed by NMAO and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center during spring 2001. Currently four of the fisheries science centers use the FSCS as one of their primary tools for collecting data during trawl surveys. The conference was convened to review each center’s experience with FSCS and to establish the requirements for its next major release. Representatives from all of the fisheries science centers were on hand for the meeting. Important discussion topics included new developments in wireless and fisheries technology; a common data model for collection of fisheries data during surveys; a new module for longline/trap surveys; support for adaptive sampling; a plan for national training, documentation and support; and a time line for the delivery of the next major release of FSCS.

By Mike Brown.


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