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Kongsberg EM-Series - Required Raw Datagrams and Qinsy Setup

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Configuring Raw Datagram Output

The required datagrams must first be enabled for output in the manufacturer's system control software. The following tables list the datagrams needed.

Kongsberg EM-Series

EM122, EM302, EM710, EM2040 (single & dual head), EM2040C (single or dual head)


Raw Range & Angle

78 (N)

Seabed Imagery

89 (Y)

Runtime Settings


Water Column




FM Midwater(tick)N/A(tick)*(tick)
XTF Export(tick)(tick)(error)(error)

To activate data storage see Driver Specific Settings below.


  1. Please refer to the Kongsberg documentation for EM Datagram format descriptions identifying which parameters are stored in each data packet type.
  2. Please refer to the Drivers Manual - Kongsberg+EM2040-EM710-EM302-EM122 for system driver and  QINSy configuration details. (Link only available when logged in to the QPS website.)

Kongsberg EM3000 (F), EM120, 300, 1002, 2000, 3000, 3002 Dual Head II (f)


Raw Range & Angle

(F or f)

Seabed Imagery


Runtime Settings


Water Column




FM Midwater(tick)*N/A(tick)*(tick)
XTF Export(tick)(tick)(error)(error)

(*these are not strictly necessary, but will be eventually when QPS adds functionality to do sector normalization)


In the datagrams for EM 122, EM 302, EM 710, ME70 BO, EM 2040 and EM 2040C, both valid and invalid beams are included. This allows storage of seabed image data for beams missing a valid detection.

If Clock datagrams are not enabled for output the QINSy driver will not decode any data at all because the Clock datagram is used to identify the transducer head that is to be decoded, i.e. the Clock datagram contains the serial number of the main head which is always the first, port head. If the second head is to be decoded then the driver will decode the datagram with the serial number unequal to the main serial number.

The Driver will stop updating if no C (clock) datagrams are received for more than 30 seconds. This is done to prevent latency related errors. This limitation is activated as soon as the first clock datagram arrives. So for test purposes it is possible to use this driver without receiving the clock telegram but never use it like this operationally.

EM3002 Only: The clock datagram is used to identify the main transducer head's serial number and therefore the clock message must always be activated. If no clock messages are sent then the driver will not decode any bathymetric data. The clock message will only be sent when the Kongsberg PU (Processing unit) receives a ZDA string on its serial port. The clock offset derived from the C telegram is no longer applied in QINSy 8.

As of March 2013, Seabed Imagery is treated as part of the multibeam system, not as a separate side scan system as it used to be.

The Runtime messages are only decoded for the raw data storage and are not decoded any further.

To activate data storage see Driver Specific Settings below.


  1. Please refer to the Kongsberg documentation for EM Datagram format descriptions identifying which parameters are stored in each data packet type.
  2. Please refer to the Drivers Manual - Kongsberg EM 3000/3002 R-Theta Format for system driver and Qinsy configuration details.

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DbSetup Driver Specific Settings - MB System Wizard Page 2

The possible settings are:

SettingOption (bold=default)Description
Raw Bathymetry Storage*Disabled/EnabledWhen Enabled the Raw (original) Bathymetry packets (e.g. N) and the Runtime Settings (R) are stored in the database for usage in Fledermaus.
Raw Seabed Image Storage**Disabled/EnabledWhen Enabled the Seabed Image (Y) is  stored in the database for usage in Fledermaus.
Water Column UsageDisabled/EnabledWhen Enable the Water column data is decoded by the driver. The STORAGE of the water column is activated with a setting in the Controller Session Setup - Database page.

*)  By enabling Raw Bathymetry Storage, the raw data packets are stored in addition to the decoded raw multibeam data. Database file sizes will grow larger.

**) In earlier releases of QINSy Seabed Image data were stored as part of the side scan system data. This is now part of the multibeam data.

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Kongsberg EM-Series - EM Controller System

There are two options for controlling the Kongsberg EM multibeam system settings:

  1. Use Kongsberg's SIS software
  2. Use the QINSy EM Controller

Rather than use Kongsberg's SIS software, the EM2040/EM2040C/EM3002 can optionally be controlled from QINSy using the 'QINSy EM Control Driver'. With a real-time user interface this driver is employed to start / stop pinging, monitor the clock synchronization, set up operational parameters of the EM3002/EM2040(C) and execute the internal BIST Tests of the EM3002/EM2040(C).

Control commands are issued over the network. Preferably the EM2040/EM2040C/EM3002 is connected directly to the QINSy PC via a network crossover cable and NOT via a hub or switch. 

When to use SIS

Other Kongsberg systems (EM122/EM302/EM710)  should be controlled using the 'Kongsberg SIS Software'.

When using 'SIS' to control the echosounder ensure that the correct output data port and packets are selected in order that QINSy records the data required by FMGT and/or FM Midwater - see table above. The output port number as entered in SIS will have to be entered as the driver network port in setting up the multibeam system in QINSy.


Programs like Kongsberg's Datadistrib are no longer required.

System Wizard Page 1

Add a new system of type "Miscellaneous". Select one of the "Kongsberg EM Multibeam Controller" variants depending on the system you are using (single transducer/dual transducer/EM3002/EM2040/EM2040C).

Data ports

The data ports on which the PU sends out its bathymetry packets to QINSy are by default set to 2001, 2002, 2003.
Any Qinsy driver that decodes bathymetry or imagery data may use these port numbers.
The EM Controller driver uses port 2000 by default to communicate with the PU. Note that all the port numbers mentioned are user definable.
Reserved port number are 2012, 2022, 2032, 2042, 1999. Please do not use these since they are used by the PU.

System Wizard Page 2

No further settings are necessary as all other options are set online in the driver. If you want to you can add a Generic observation but it has no effect.

System Wizard Page 3

Just press the Finish button.

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Online Settings

Additional settings are required in the QINSy Online Controller to ensure the correct sonar data is recorded. These are found in the 'Settings' menu.

Qinsy EM Controller

When going Online it is quite possible the Qinsy EM Controller window will pop up.

Please click here for a description of the EM Controller.

Computation Setup

Make sure the Multibeam System(s) are enabled in the 'Computation Setup'.

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Session Setup - Storage

From the Controller Settings menu select Session Setup. In the left panel of the window that opens select 'Storage'. Data can be stored to various file formats.

Database File (*.db)

Click on 'Database'. At bottom right, sonar Storage Options are listed. Only those systems which were enabled in DbSetup while configuring the template database are shown here. If not shown, go back to DbSetup and check the Multibeam System definition.

Water Column Data

Even though decoding of water column data is enabled in the template database there is still a requirement to enable storage of this voluminous dataset in this window:

Hard disk strain

Storing all the raw data online will put a great strain on the hard disk especially when water column data is enabled. On older computers the hard disk may not even keep up with the amount of data offered to it.
This can lead to excessive buffering in the so-called 'DbOut' driver that writes the database; eventually a warning message in the Controller will be displayed and force a stop of the recording.

If in doubt about the hard disk performance, check the 'DrvDbout.exe' process in the MSWindows Task Manager and check that it is not using too much memory.
Typical memory usage should be around 30-100 MB. If it is increased way beyond hundreds of Mega bytes and continuously increasing, it is possible that the hard disk cannot keep up.
Stop recording and see if the amount of memory usage drops again. As a temporary work around you can stop using the sounding grid, or make the sounding grid cell size larger, or even stop the logging of the QPD file.

Real time export of XTF files

Storage Mode:

Select Enabled as the storage mode.

If there are multiple Multibeam or SSS systems defined in the Template database it is possible to create multiple XTF files. Please consult the online Help for more information.

When a single XTF file is used the file name is the same as the associated database (*.db) file except that the extension is 'xtf'.

If multiple XTF outputs are enabled the file name is the same as the associated database (*.db) file but the XTF file extension s are 'xtf1', 'xtf2', 'xtf3', 'xtf4' .

Settings for XTF

Select the XTF Sonar Type. This information will only be written in the header of the XTF file, it doesn't influence the data itself. So when the system is not in the list, choose '00 - Default'.

Select all the Systems to be stored in the XTF file. For Multibeam System (and Secondary Head if applicable) select the type of record to store.

[Qps Record] System stored in Qps Multibeam record 28. This 'non-raw' data is drawn from decoded fields placed in a proprietary data container (*.db).
[Raw Record] System stored as raw. Data drawn from 'raw' data packets.

As a reminder of the difference between 'raw' data and 'non-raw' data refer to How-to Raw Bathymetry and Imagery Data

The format contains some generic record types for which the internal QINSy database records can be translated directly to XTF records. For these records the storage of raw data blocks is not required.
For example: Position (XTF_HEADER_POSITION 100), Attitude (XTF_HEADER_ATTITUDE), QPS SBE(26), QPS MTX(27), QPS MBE(28), Sidescan Sonar (0).

However, most record types as specified in XTF are the original raw records being transmitted by a multibeam echosounder, e.g. raw Kongsberg bathymetry packets, Kongsberg Snippet packets etc.


Position and attititude / heading are stored in record type XTF_POSITION and XTF_header_attitude respectively.
The other sensors are stored in various fields (XTF_PING_HEADER).

The XTF files are stored in the \Database sub-folder of your current Project folder.

Real-time Sounding Grid

For real-time visualization of bathymetry and sonar imagery, or to produce a gridded dataset on-the-fly as end DTM product, ensure that the different data types are enabled and stored to separate layers in the sounding grid.

DTM File

DTM data is motion and heading corrected geo-referenced footprint data from an echosounder (multibeam, multi-transducer or singlebeam) or laser scanner system.
Various storage formats are available for output, ready for import into processing software (Validator, QLOUD, Fledermaus), or other third party programs (Terramodel, CARIS, Cyclone, etc).


Select one of the supported formats from the pull-down menu:
*.qpd - QINSY Processing - This is the recommended format, a proprietary format which can be imported into the Validator, Qimera or Fledermaus for further processing, analyzing and/or publishing.
Note - data that did not pass the online filters is flagged, and not deleted. During processing the flagged data is easily restored if needed.

*.qpd - QINSY Processing (Reduced) - The same file format as above, except that data lagged by the online filters is omitted. Smaller file sizes are the main benefit of these qpd files.
However, if you need to restore flagged data you need to replay the database and recreate a qpd file with different online filter settings.

*.pts - ASCII Grid (East North Depth)
*.pts - ASCII Grid (Extended Format)
*.pts - ASCII GEO (Lat, Lon, Depth)
*.pts - ASCII Grid (East North Height Intensity Quality) - Typically used for storing laser scanning data because this format provides access to the raw intensity value as reported by the laser scanner. Note that a qpd file only contains the quality value, which is a normalized intensity.

*.pro - QINSy Mapping - Terramodel format.

*.fau - Binary FAU - A special format for clients mostly working in Scandinavia.

*.mbes - Binary WSV - A special format for clients working in Germany.

ModeThe mode determines the name of the storage file:
Use Storage name - The DTM file will have the same storage name as the raw data file.
User-defined name - User is able to enter a different file name.
FilenameA preview of how the file name will look.

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Qinsy EM Controller

Typically when starting the Online Controller, the Qinsy EM Controller window is found minimized in the bottom bar. However, on occasion the window is maximized on start up indicating something is wrong with, for example, system timing or when an error is detected.
If these conditions occur during acquisition the window will automatically maximize to highlight the problem, switching the applicable text box background color from green to red. 


Note there is an option to activate 'Start pinging when Qinsy Starts'.

For the EM system to operate correctly review the 'Settings' and choose the driver options carefully. Some of these settings affect the storage of raw data packets and quality of the data.

EM Controller configuration file

When the Qinsy Controller closes then all the selected options are stored in an *.xml file (Ks_EmCtrl_Options.xml), located in the MSWindows user application data local folder.
When the Qinsy Controller is restarted then the settings will be restored from this *.xml file. If the *.xml file is not found then default options will be used.

EM Controller Driver Settings

Please refer to Kongsberg documentation for a detailed description of all the EM settings and options available.

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Return to: How-to Raw Bathymetry and Imagery Data