Water-column Variability Assessment for Underway Profilers to Improve Efficiency and Accuracy of Multibeam Surveys

Matthew Wilson
Directed Research Project


Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 3:30pm
Chase 130

With the advent of underway profilers, sampling the water-column to obtain sound speed corrections is no longer a detriment to hydrographic survey efficiency.  Instead, the challenge has become deciding how many casts are necessary to maintain a desired level of multibeam sounding accuracy, while not needlessly overworking the profiler. Ray tracing uncertainty analysis can determine in hindsight whether a particular sampling interval is adequate or not. Based on this methodology, an algorithm was developed to generate recommended sampling intervals based on successively acquired sound speed profiles, allowing the MVP to run in a “cruise-control” mode where the sampling interval is altered in response to changing oceanographic conditions. In collaboration with Rolls Royce, the algorithm was implemented in python and loosely couples with the MVP controller software such that the recommended sampling interval can be adjusted without operator intervention. Integration of the software with the MVP controller was successfully tested aboard the NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler in September of 2012. Initial results from field trials and from analysis of existing data sets will be presented.


Matt Wilson graduated from Ohio University in 2002 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, and shortly after was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy following completion of Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida. As a junior officer, Wilson completed tours with the U.S. Navy Fleet Survey Team in Stennis, Mississippi, and the Naval Oceanographic Anti-Submarine Warfare Command in Yokosuka, Japan.

Matt started his career with NOAA in 2008 at the Atlantic Hydrographic Branch, involved primarily in fleet support, survey review, and nautical chart compilation. Currently Matt is pursuing an M.S. in Earth Sciences Ocean Mapping.