How-to Raw Bathymetry and Imagery Data

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This article describes how to configure QINSy to ensure that raw sonar data received from multibeam systems is correctly recorded in database files (*.db) such that it can be properly:

  1. Processed in QPS products (using DB and QPD):
    1. FMGT 
    2. FMMidwater
    3. QINSy PM
  2. Processed in third party software by exporting to XTF and/or GSF.

It is vital to:

  1. Enable the output of required datagrams in the MBE system itself
  2. Select the correct QINSy drivers to decode the data packets and
  3. Enable storage in QINSy of all the required data packets

....... in order to avoid any surprises during the processing phase.

Settings to achieve this goal are found in the QINSy Database Setup program (DbSetup), in the Multibeam software and in the online QINSy Controller.

Recommended practice

It is highly recommended that you fully test your workflow from acquisition through processing prior to starting the survey itself.
Collect some data at dockside and test it in the downstream applications that you will use for processing (e.g. FMGT, FM Midwater, etc.) to ensure all options are correctly set.

HowTo Content

This article concentrates on identifying where you find raw data storage settings in QINSy.

A great deal of additional information is available in the Knowledge Base and Drivers Manual to guide the user through the interfacing, configuration and data recording issues associated with acquiring data crucial to processing multibeam and sidescan sonar data.

Raw Data: Required Datagrams and QINSy Configuration per MBE System

The storage of raw data is not available for every multibeam/sidescan system type/brand. Currently this is only possible for these multibeam systems:




Definition of 'Raw' Data

In the early days of multibeam use, backscatter was considered a relatively insignificant by-product of bathymetric surveys. Recent and ongoing evolutions in sonar acquisition and processing techniques have elevated the utility of backscatter data; Beam time-series, Amplitude time-series, and Amplitude/Angle time-series are routinely used to determine the physical properties of the seafloor (e.g. bottom hardness and roughness); water column data is used to identify suspended artifacts like gas seeps and oil spills. Advanced non-bathymetric processing in Fledermaus modules mandates that the raw packets are available with all their system specific meta data.

Raw data are the original packets as output by the multibeam system; for example a water column data (WCD) packet. For advanced non-bathymetry processing (e.g. Fledermaus FMGT, backscatter processing) and export of data to 3rd party software it is mandatory that the untouched raw packets are stored and available with all their system specific meta data.

Non-raw data references data the QINSy driver decodes and strips from the received datagrams, storing the decoded fields in a QINSy proprietary data container (*.db file). The original data packet is discarded. Certain meta data that was in the original packet will be lost because only a subset of essential data fields are decoded.

Raw Data Usage in QPS Products

Raw data can be used for various tasks* within QINSy or Fledermaus:

  • QINSy
    • Display water column data and beam time-series data in the Raw Multibeam Display
    • Online/Replay filling of sounding grid layer with snippet data
    • Online storage of XTF file
    • Export to XTF and GSF
  • Fledermaus
    • Geocoder processing (FMGT)
    • Water Column target detection (FM Midwater)

Raw data can currently only be recorded for Multibeam and Sidescan system types. The following observations are currently stored as raw data:

  • Multibeam Echosounder
    • Bathymetry
      • Although the multibeam bathymetry raw (original) data packet is stored in the database, the decoded non-raw multibeam data is also stored, thereby clearly increasing the size of the databases created.
    • Intensity Beam time-series     
    • Water Column

  • Sidescan Sonar Data (e.g. Truepix).
    • Database will contain raw original packets AND decoded non-raw sidescan data.

*)  Not all packets are supported yet for every task mentioned here, e.g. GSF exports currently only bathymetry results and SNP0/1 packets.

Raw data storage

Decoding and storage of Raw Bathymetry and Intensity Beam Time-series (sometimes called snippets) is enabled in the Database Setup (DbSetup) module.

Decoding of water column data (WCD) is enabled in DbSetup, thereby allowing display of the data during acquisition. However, due to the huge volumes of data (1Gb every few seconds), you must consciously enable storage of WCD data packets by checking a box in the QINSy Controller - Session Setup, before data acquisition begins.

If none of these three options is enabled, the driver will still decode the raw range/angle and average intensity per beam from the datagrams output by the multibeam system. Raw range and angle values, plus average intensity values per beam are parsed from the packets and stored as 'non-raw' data in the recorded *.db file. However vital information required by Fledermaus and other processing software will be missing.

Summary for all supported Multibeams

The following table lists the raw data packets available for each supported multibeam series and the QINSy driver needed to decode the data. For each system the data type that can be recorded in the database is shown.

Activation of raw data storage requires settings in both QINSy and the multibeam system software.

ManufacturerDescriptionExecutableBathymetry Packet TypesMeta Data Packet TypesSnippet/Seabed Image Packet TypesWater Column Packet Types
ResonReson Seabat 81xx/900x (Serial)DrvSeabatSerial.exe(tick)0x14-0x18(error)

Reson Seabat 81xx/900x (Network)DrvSeabatSocket.exe(tick)0x14-0x18(error)

Reson Seabat 7K (UDP/Network) DEPRECIATEDDrvSeabat7KUDP.exe(tick)7004/7006(tick)7000 (Ping Header)(tick)7008(error)

Reson Seabat 7K (TCP/Network)DrvSeabat7K.exe(tick)7004/7006 or 7027 (user selectable)(tick)7000 (Ping Header)(tick)7008 or 7028 (user selectable)(tick)7018
Kongsberg / SimradSimrad EM3002 (R-Theta Format)DrvSimradEM3000.exe 0(tick)f (Raw Range Angle)
R (Runtime Settings)
(tick)R (Runtime Settings)(tick)S (Seabed Image)(tick)k

Simrad EM3002D Head II (R-Theta Format)DrvSimradEM3000.exe 0 DII RAW(tick)f (Raw Range Angle)
R (Runtime Settings)
(tick)R (Runtime Settings)(tick)S (Seabed Image)(tick)k

Kongsberg EM2040/EM710/EM302/EM122DrvKongsbergEM.exe(tick)N (New Raw Range Angle)
R (Runtime Settings)
(tick)R (Runtime Settings)(tick)Y (New Seabed Image)(tick)k

Kongsberg EM2040 Head IIDrvKongsbergEM.exe(tick)N (New Raw Range Angle)
R (Runtime Settings)
(tick)R (Runtime Settings)(tick)Y (New Seabed Image)(tick)k
R2SonicR2Sonic 2000 Series (Network)DrvR2Sonic.exe(tick)BTH0(error)
(tick)SNI0 (Snippets)(tick)WCD0
(Sidescan)R2Sonic 202x-Series - Truepix(error)
(tick)TPX0 (truepix)(error)

It is possible to activate raw storage of Sonar Imagery (Beam time-series) and Bathymetry independently. For Fledermaus FMGT processing BOTH should be activated.

Older drivers

In previous QINSy versions the drivers that supported raw data recording had the suffix XTF in their driver descriptions. These older "XTF" drivers are depreciated, meaning you can no longer go online with them. If you have legacy template databases these should be changed to update the drivers. Select the appropriate driver and enable/disable the raw packet storage.

Raw data recording for additional system types will be added in the future.

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Related Documentation

(Only available when logged in to the QPS website.)

How-to XTF files - create and export

How-to Raw Data Usage XTF - GSF - Snippets - Watercolumn

How-to Watercolumn Data

How-to Export GSF

Drivers & Interfacing Manual

How-to Raw Bathymetry and Imagery Data (Summary) Not open to clients (Under construction)