An update to the BioBase sonar file reader released in Feb 2021 included an update that allows the user to select which sonar channel they’d like to process (Primary or Downscan) for vegetation. We call the broadband, traditional sonar channel “Primary” which includes the recommended frequency 200 khz. Most Lowrance transducers have this frequency. If the user selects the .sl2 or .sl3 file format and they have a Downscan-compatible transducer, the file will also include the Downscan channel. Downscan differs from the Primary channel in the size and orientation of the soundwave beam (Figure 1).
Is your dashboard getting overwhelming and you need a way to organize trips? Did you know BioBase has a built in feature to help you title and tag trips for better organization? Following the steps below you will be able to tag trips with keywords to help organize and find trips in your dashboard easier. In the example below we want to organize all our trips that contain Seagrass to find them easier in the dashboard.
In our latest edition of Professional Spotlight, we turn our attention to completewaters, a dynamic company led by Blake and Jess Spittle. With a focus on underwater exploration and services, completewaters has carved a niche for itself in the marine industry through their innovative use of BioBase technology. From ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) imaging to fish habitat projects, seachests & propeller imaging, and sonar-driven habitat mapping, completewaters has emerged as a trailblazer in underwater operations.
The genesis of completewaters can be traced back to a water conference where Blake and Jess were captivated by an underwater ROV. Inspired by this encounter, they embarked on their journey after relocating from New Zealand to Canada. Beginning with a single ROV to test the market, they have since expanded their fleet to include multiple ROVs and even a USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicle).
Unexpectedly, completewaters discovered their forte in the environmental sector, particularly in fish habitat installation and monitoring associated with marine construction projects. Their groundbreaking approach to inspecting intakes, rudders, and propellers using ROVs eliminates the need for human divers, allowing uninterrupted ship operations. This not only saves valuable time for the ships but also reduces downtime, leading to significant cost savings. Given the bustling ferry and cargo ship activity in Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes, completewaters found a sweet spot at the intersection of the shipping and environmental industries.
As ferry and cargo ship activity increased in Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes, so did the demand for marine construction projects, including terminal developments. These projects often include restoration work in non-impacted areas of the lake. The underwater photos and videos captured by completewaters throughout the construction process became an integral part of the aquatic biologists’ reports assessing the impact on fish habitats. The transformation from a barren sandy bottom to a thriving ecosystem teeming with fish was vividly showcased through high-definition visuals, impressing biologists and affirming the success of restoration efforts. The recent addition of the Side-Scan feature to their arsenal has added a new level of excitement to this type of monitoring.
When asked about their decision to adopt BioBase, completewaters cited the simplicity and accessibility of the technology. They found it to be an easy entry point into the industry, with the fish finder being straightforward to mount and collect data. Running this data through BioBase yielded remarkable accuracy and multiple output deliverables, all from a single trip. The ability to provide comprehensive data outputs with cost-effective efficiency greatly appeals to the environmental industry, especially for projects with tight budgets.
completewaters has leveraged BioBase compatibility to expand their reach beyond Lake Ontario. With over 444 municipalities in Ontario, most of which are rural areas, they can now employ their USV equipped with a BioBase-compatible depth finder to measure small inland waters. This innovative approach has gained popularity, primarily due to the enhanced health and safety measures it offers. By eliminating the need for personnel to manually check sediment levels and inspect water quality on small inland waters, completewaters has proven their commitment to safeguarding the well-being of their employees.
The impact of completewaters on their local community cannot be overstated. Fishermen in the area have approached Blake and Jess on numerous occasions, expressing their astonishment at the improved habitat conditions and the abundance of fish in areas that were previously barren. Over a span of three years, Blake and Jess witnessed firsthand the transformation from a lifeless sandy bottom to the establishment of man-made reefs and tree wads, culminating in a flourishing habitat teeming with fish.
In conclusion, completewaters exemplifies the power of innovation and the remarkable outcomes that can be achieved through the integration of BioBase technology in the underwater services industry. Their dedication to environmental preservation and commitment to excellence have not only yielded tangible benefits for their clients but have also left an indelible mark on their community. As they continue to pioneer new frontiers, we eagerly anticipate the future accomplishments of completewaters and their unwavering pursuit of underwater exploration and conservation.
For more information on completewaters visit their website here completewaters website. For more information about BioBase or other professionals using BioBase like Andrew Skibo, PhD CLM, Amaruq Environmental or Professional Spotlight – LakeTech – Eli Kersh visit our website at www.biobasemaps.com
BioBase is a powerful lake, pond, and coastal mapping cloud software tool. To get the best results with BioBase – EcoSound, it is important to use proper data collection and management procedures. This post contains links to the resources that will help you get started with BioBase and get you on your way to collecting quality data.
First, ensure you have a compatible sonar device to use BioBase. BioBase exclusively processes raw sonar files from Navico Group manufactured devices, specifically Lowrance and Simrad. BioBase is compatible with multiple generations of these brands and if it can hold an SD card, you can probably record a compatible .slg, .sl2, or .sl3 sonar log. However, if the unit is greater than 5 years old, it might be time to consider an upgrade. This blog will help you determine the best sonar for your application. Please note that the GPS antenna is embedded into the display so if you have a console-steer boat, you should consider acquiring an external GPS antenna like the Lowrance Point-1 GPS or Simrad GS25 that can be affixed to a position on the boat that is directly over the transducer.
THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT INSTALLATION DETAIL IS PROPER INSTALLATION OF YOUR TRANSDUCER. This is the most overlooked detail and means the difference between a very high quality output and a very poor one. If you are still uncomfortable installing your transducer after reading this blog on transducer installation, then we suggest taking your boat to a service center and having it professionally installed.
Our quality control team reviews every uploaded trip, creates or fixes shoreline boundaries according to the Bing aerial photo basemap, and looks for glaring issues like evidence of a slanted transducer, signal loss, and poor signal quality. They may email you if they notice any significant issues with your trip, and suggest ways to fix the issue or ways to improve data quality before logging again. Please allow one business day for quality control to review your trip and fix waterbody boundaries if needed. If there is a quality control section in the report’s header, then trip has been reviewed (note, the quality control team does not generally review merges). You can also see any comments that were not emailed to you on the report.
It is critically important to keep your Lowrance software updated. Software updates can be found here. Using hardware with outdated operating system software can result in a range of issues.
Our blog blog.biobasemaps.com and our Support Resources Page is full of good content for “How Tos,” case studies, feature descriptions, etc. Use the search tool within the blog to search any particular topic.
Our YouTube channel has many helpful videos, including field demos and data editing tutorials.
The EcoSound Support and Resources page has links to the EcoSound Full Operator’s Guide including a slick online manual with full keyword search functionality. There are several tutorials, including guides for using EcoSound data in QGIS. The EcoSound Quick Start Guide shows recommended settings to use on your Lowrance or Simrad while logging sonar. Please follow this quick start guide carefully.
Finally, we have a Facebook BioBase Tips and Tricks Group page that you may consider joining to ask questions of the user community.
If you ever need any assistance, contact the BioBase support team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Given the disdain for the word “weed,” it’s not surprising that seaweed gets such little respect in most developed human cultures. But, we are finding seaweed and its rooted cousin seagrass hold immeasurable value for the future of humankind. Time to get to work mapping it!
Seagrasses are considered vascular plants and have roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. According to a report from the United Nations in 2020, there are more than 70 species across the globe covering over 300,000 km2 (which is likely a vast underestimate) making them one of the most widespread coastal habitats.
C-MAP is excited to announce the launch a new map layer for Fisheries and Coastal researchers derived from side-scan sonar.
The ultrasound-like high definition imagery of new generation Lowrance side-scan transducers (e.g., Active Imaging 3in1 and Active Imaging HD) can now be processed in BioBase and viewed with other traditional habitat data layers (e.g., depth, vegetation density, and bottom hardness). The Side-scan channel is already included in .sl2 and .sl3 files if you have a compatible transducer* so one file gives you all four BioBase Layers! Side-scan mosaics from off-the-shelf sonar has long been a valuable tool for Fisheries researchers interested in identifying and protecting important habitats and has been the source of several professional research symposia and publications. The automated processing of BioBase has removed the labor-intensive need for manually mosaicking side-scan screenshots from Sonar units or complicated calibration of images in other software packages. BioBase automates this process and creates a high definition image with no user input to the processing. If you create a nice scan on the water, BioBase will reproduce it and make it available to you to analyze with other layers and identify important habitats.
In an earlier blog, we discussed how you could feed positions in from a 3rd party GPS or GNSS antenna into Lowrance HDS and thus into BioBase if you already had another higher end antennae or if the survey required a certain guaranteed level of accuracy. We recently connected with Geologist and BioBase super user Rob Baker CPG, PG from RMBAKER LLC and he shared with us his experiences networking positions via an older, yet more widespread protocol called NMEA0183. Mr. Baker shares some useful insights and justification for why networking a third pary antennae through NMEA0183 may be a good way to go for certain bathymetric survey projects.
Dr. Andrew Z Skibo, PhD CLM (Certified Lake Manager) of Amaruq Environmental Services sat down with the BioBase team to give us some insight on how BioBase’s EcoSound product has become a crucial tool for his work in the Rocky Mountain Region. Dr. Skibo is the president and founder of Amaruq Environmental Services which started in 2015 with two clients in Alaska. Looking for an Alaskan name he chose the Yu’Pik mythological king of wolves, the Amaruq. When a hunter went out alone at night and didn’t return it is said the Amaruq was the reason why, one of the reasons he chose the name was to stay humble and have a reminder “he would not get anywhere without a good network behind him.” After branching out to Colorado, Wyoming and Montana he became a major player in the environmental services industry throughout Alaska and the Rocky Mountain Region. As the president and founder, everything in the company is handled by Skibo from field work and sampling to surveying and contracts.
Blake Anderson is the harbormaster at the Santa Cruz Harbor in California. As harbormaster he oversees all the operations of the harbor, harbor patrol staff, which includes search and rescue, law enforcement and public safety. He also oversees administration of about 1000 boat slips and day to day operations of the harbor. 6 years ago, Blake was faced with the challenge of rapidly mapping the constant shifting sand shoals in the harbor and turned his attention to BioBase as a potentially rapid mapping system
What kind of sonar hardware should I buy for BioBase Mapping is the most common question we are asked. Admittedly, continual change in technology, products, and features can be intimidating and sometimes confusing. With this blog, we focus on what you need to know to get started with BioBase. We start with the Portable BioBase Kit – an off-the-shelf portable solution that has everything you need