Networking 3rd Party GPS/GNSS into Lowrance

Ray Valley

Aquatic Biologist and BioBase Product Expert

I frequently get inquiries from current and prospective BioBase users about the accuracy of consumer-grade Lowrance GPS and whether survey-grade 3rd party receivers capable of differential correction (DGPS) or receiving positions from multiple satellite constellations (Global Navigation Satellite System – GNSS) could be used with Lowrance and processed with BioBase.

The first question about accuracy prompted a test in March of 2013 with a Lowrance HDS tested side-by-side with a Trimble GeoXH.  I was pleased to find less than 1m deviation on average from post-processed Trimble DGPS positions.  One meter accuracy and precision is typically sufficient for most boat-based mapping applications. Still, prerequisites for some projects require DGPS, and there are a number of BioBase users who have and still would prefer to have DGPS generated positions to use when logging trips. Thus, I was interested in exploring the capabilities of networking positions from a third-party receiver into a Lowrance HDS.

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Mapping Hidden Channels with Genesis Live

River channel thalwegs (the line of lowest elevation within a valley or watercourse) are often dynamic, and sometimes hidden features of large river systems.  Especially low slope or impounded systems.  The thalweg is a critical geomorphological feature of river and reservoir systems and affects everything from sediment transport, to fisheries habitat, to algae or invasive plant control.

Thus a good bathymetric contour map is a necessary pre-requisite for effective river and reservoir management.  Here, we walk you through how to use new real time technologies (C-MAP’s Genesis Live) to produce smooth, precise, and accurate maps of hidden river thalwegs all within one trip to the site and with automated post-processing with BioBase’s EcoSound.  We’ll use an annotated image gallery to take you through this process.

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Utilization of a Web-Based Mapping Interface to Enhance Inland Fisheries Management Strategies in Texas

A. Adams, M. De Jesus, G. Cummings, and M. Farooqi

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Inland Fisheries

 

Abstract:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries (TPWD IF) biologists traditionally use “stand-alone” mapping interfaces to generate 2-dimensional (2-D) aerial outputs of fish habitat and benthic surveys of aquatic systems. Preliminary work has shown promise in the use of a different method, which generates interactive 3-dimensional (3-D) high-definition (HD) outputs. During field surveys, a Lowrance© Elite 9Ti GPS unit with TotalScan™ transducer was used to generate data points along boat transects on waterbodies of interest. A waterbody “Vegetation Analysis Report” and HD maps were then generated from these data using web-based mapping algorithms through BioBase©, and ArcMap 10.3© GIS software. Aquatic vegetation biovolume, bathymetric mapping, and benthic substrate composition outputs, produced by BioBase© aided biologists in selecting best management strategies, regarding aquatic vegetation management and angler access development at three central Texas impoundments. This tool can prove valuable to fisheries managers needing a higher resolution of survey results to fine-tune management strategies. At a cost of $2,5001 US for a yearlong subscription, cost-benefit would have to be assessed by individual users, based on their needs.

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Training EcoSat Vegetation Classifications: User tips

What is EcoSat?
EcoSat delivers a one-of-it’s-kind semi-automated cloud processing of very high resolution satellite imagery to map nearshore vegetation and coastal benthic habitats.  EcoSat uses the latest multi-spectral imagery from reputable providers such as Digital Globe (World View 2,3 and 4), Airbus Defence and Space (Pleiades), and ESA’s Sentinel program and industry standard image processing techniques.  Sophisticated Amazon Web Service cloud infrastructure rapidly processes imagery, creates reports and imagery tiles, and delivers detailed habitat maps to user’s BioBase dashboard where it can be analyzed and shared.  Average turnaround time from imagery tasking order to delivery of results is 90 days.  The rapid and standard processing methods are allowing entities like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to establish regular monitoring programs for emergent vegetation.  The extremely long and expensive one-off nature of conventional remote sensing mapping projects using non-repeatable tailored techniques has prevented natural resource entities from assessing the degree that habitats are changing as a result of environmental stressors such as invasive species invasions and climate change.

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NCSU Launches Aquatic Resources Mapping Forum!

“I want to map stormwater retention ponds for my municipality, how should I mount my Lowrance unit?” “Can you estimate aquatic plant biomass from BioBase outputs? If so, how?”  Questions like these from a growing global BioBase user base can now be answered by other experienced colleagues.  North Carolina State University’s Aquatic Weed Science Program has recently launched an Aquatic Resource Mapping Forum designed to support a user community of broad interests related to mapping Aquatic Habitats.  “…this forum is designed to foster a community of individuals who share a common interest (Aquatic Mapping and Monitoring) and to provide a forum for that community to discuss various aspects of the science and ask for help when needed,” noted Dr. Brett Hartis, NCSU Aquatic Extension and Research Associate and moderator of the forum.  We strongly encourage anyone with an interest in aquatic mapping to sign up for the forum and subscribe to email alerts for Topics that interest you.* BioBase experts from Navico will weigh in occasionally with posts that will support and benefit the broad community of users.

Go to http://aquaticmapping.prophpbb.com/  and sign up for a free account.  To subscribe to Topics, click on a Topic and scroll down to the footer.  Click “Subscribe Forum”.  The text will then switch to “Unsubscribe forum” which will indicate you are subscribed to get email alerts each time someone posts.


BioBase HMTL5 Adds Tablet Compatibility!

Use BioBase on your iPad in the field!

We’re excited to announce the release of a non-Silverlight, HTML5 viewer to BioBase users.  You can now use the new HTML5 view by clicking the recently added BETA View trip viewer.  BioBase output and maps can now be analyzed and reviewed on computers, mobile phones, and tablets.**


The upgrade will allow users to access BioBase map layers and data on tablets from their research boats.*  By enabling location services, BioBase users can lay their current location over the BioBase map. 

Silverlight view will still be available.  Significantly expanding access to BioBase, the service’s new HTML5 architecture creates new and convenient ways for fisheries biologists, aquatic researchers, pond managers, aquatic invasive species managers and others to access detailed reports and maps to track water depths, vegetation-abundance changes, bottom hardness and many other critical factors that help them manage water quality and habitats from the field.

*Mobile tablet use depends on availability of a wi-fi signal

**The GIS polygon management feature will still require a Silverlight viewer on a Mac or PC. More information here: [GIS Polygon Management Blog]

New Lowrance Elite Software Version

Navico, Inc has recently released a new software version for Lowrance Elite units that fixes many of the issues associated with BioBase mapping.  Lowrance Elite HDI units are compatible with BioBase for, among other things, aquatic vegetation abundance mapping, lake management, fisheries research, and water volume calculations.

The new version for your Elite HDI unit can be downloaded here:

Please contact us through ciBioBase.com with questions.

Innovations in Storm Pond Assessment and Tracking: Minnesota Demo

Be prepared for new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) rules with cost-effective solutions for inventorying the compliance of all of your stormwater basins.

When: Friday May 2nd, 2014

Where: A stormwater pond site in Roseville, MN (contact Ray Valley for details)

Attendees will learn about innovations to help them rapidly:

  • COLLECTPlatypus LLC will demonstrate bottom depth and composition data collection with Lowrance depth sounders and chartplotters on autonomous boats on a Roseville, MN Stormwater Basin.
  • PROCESS – Navico, Inc., makers of Lowrance and BioBase will demonstrate automated data processing and GIS map creation of collected bathymetric data.
  • TRACK – Flatrock Geographics, Makers of PondTrack (*new*) and MapFeeder will demonstrate cloud-based inventory and data management tools.

Reps from all companies will discuss individual and bundling pricing options. Please contact Ray Valley (651-303-5265 ray.valley@navico.com) to reserve a space. Registration is free but space is limited!

New BioBase Merge and Buffer Features

Are you making a list of things to be thankful for?  What about adding NEW FEATURES IN BIOBASE just in time for Thanksgiving?!?  We’re releasing new features today that include the ability to delete outdated merges from your account and the ability to change the buffer on single and merged trips!

(1) New “DELETE MERGE” Controls

 

After some testing and use case analysis we’ve just launched a new feature that will allow you to keep your merge list nice and clean or redo a merge.  This is great in scenarios where users would like to continuously add new data to a merge or would like to reprocess a merge without adding to the list of available merges in their account. 

biobase
New Delete Function for ciBioBase Merges

A merge is created based on the combined data sets of individual trips and if the data sets change, a new merge has to be deleted then reprocessed.   At times, our QC team helps make adjustments to your output for the best map or to shapefiles boundaries for the best interpolation and then communicates these changes to you.  They also show up in your reports for individual trips.  Now, an old merge can be deleted and you can kick off a new merge with the updates.  We think this will be a useful tool for better account management!


(2) New Interpolation Buffer Controls from 5-300 Meters

 

Many of you request different buffers for your trips to fill in gaps when our standard 25m buffer isn’t enough.  We’re happy to oblige but we wanted to help you do it faster!   Now you can change buffers in your account without us.

ciBioBase
New User Controls to Change the Buffer Size of Your Maps

We still always use a 1/5 rule meaning that the grid cell size will be adjusted to 1/5 of the buffer size (ex1: 100m buffer, 20m grids; ex2 50m buffer, 10m grid cell size).  If you need a different combination than the 1/5 rule (like a 1m grid and 10m buffer) let us know and we can do it for you and let you know the ramifications.   In the reprocessing tab you can send individual trips back for reprocessing with an increased buffer of up to 300 meters.  In the merge tab you can kick off a new merge with a pre-set buffer as part of this new merge feature (see the image above).  If you need to change the buffer in the merge you can make changes in the trip reprocessing tab when it’s complete.   It’s sounds complicated in writing but we’re confident that you’ll see the changes as soon as you play around with it!  Once you’ve uploaded and paid for processing on a per lake or unlimited subscription model, all edits and reprocesses are free!  As always, contact us with questions.

*Please keep in mind that an error coefficient of the interpolation is positively correlated with the increase in a buffer and you’ll want to communicate this with a customer or constituent.  As you increase your buffer, you’ll be estimating more between transects which could be affected by highly variable point data or aquatic systems.  Also, the buffer is always on both sides of the transect meaning that if you have 50 meters between your transects you only need a 25 meter buffer because 25 meters on both sides of the transect will complete the map.

New Pricing for 2014

 

We’re not ready to fully announce our new pricing for 2014 but we wanted to let you know that we’ve made some big changes and the results will be much cleaner.   The new subscription model will help smaller municipalities get started with BioBase.  We’ll also be announcing new stormwater monitoring options and pricing packages for municipalities that need to start keep an inventory of these assets or would like a more efficient way of process and warehousing the data.   Just a little teaser . . .but let us know if you have specific questions.

New ciBioBase Website and Mapping Dashboard

At Contour Innovations, ease of use, organization, and user experience are top priorities.  We recognized that our old site wasn’t the best it could be, so over the last few months the website and dashboard have been rebuilt from scratch.  We’ve listened to all the questions our customers had and attempted to incorporate all of these into the new dashboard.   The result is a sleek, user friendly dashboard with a great user experience.  It’s fast and has the features to sort, organize, and use the important data you upload to your account for automated processing.  Now you can maximize your BioBase experience!

New features include:

  • Tagging – You are now able to add descriptive tags to each of your trips for better sorting
  • Improved Search Capabilities – search all categories generally by user last name, lakes, and even tags
  • Collapsing Trip Organization by Lake – Trips are categorized by lake in the dashboard and only loaded when you want them
  • Trip Track Quick View – Each trip in the dashboard provides a snapshot of where your track is on the water body for quickly identifying a survey area
  • Sort by Date – Trips can be filtered by date range so you’re only looking at the trips you want to see
  • Advanced Searching – This feature will allow you to sort by a specific category like file name, tags or water bodies
  • Support Tab – Many of the methods that we blog about are now available as PDFs and step-by-step Powerpoint documents in your account
  • Trip Support Request – Quick boxes within each trip allow you to communicate your questions directly to QC experts for a specific file or merge
  • Overall cleaner look for a better user experience!

This dashboard should be much easier to use and was designed so the things you are looking for are right where they should be.  We’re always interested in hearing from you so please log into your account and check out!  Let us know what you think and if you have questions about any of the new, powerful features