Weeds and Grass: mysterious and underappreciated treasures of the sea

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.

Figure 1. Posidonia seagrass growing off the Mediterranean Coast of Spain. See us map it

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New EcoSound Feature: High Def Side-Scan Mosaics

C-MAP is excited to announce the launch a new map layer for Fisheries and Coastal researchers derived from side-scan sonar.

Example image of a shallow gravel reef in a Northern Minnesota lake generated by Lowrance HDS Live with an Active Imaging 3in1 transducer and processed with BioBase’s EcoSound. Contours and boat track are processed automatically and can be turned on or off by the user.  The side-looking sonar beams capture vivid images of rocks, gravel and smooth sand. These images can be used for inventories of fish habitat in lakes.

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.

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How to Connect an External GNSS to a Lowrance HDS via NMEA0183 and Why You Should Consider It

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.

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Professional Spotlight – Andrew Skibo, PhD CLM, Amaruq Environmental

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.

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Professional Spotlight: Santa Cruz Harbor Sediment Mapping

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

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What Sonar Do I Need for BioBase Mapping? – Updated

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

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Archiving Trips

Archiving trips is crucial to data management on the BioBase platform, it also allows users the ability to remove old trips from their dashboard and to free up storage. The archive feature is a powerful tool for users who manage many waterbodies and have multiple sets of trips on the same waterbody.

To archive trips, first open the waterbody you want to archive trips on and locate the trip you want to archive.

Archive Trip Button
Locate the archive trip button below the thumbnail of the trip.

Once you click archive trip, a dialog box will pop up making sure you understand all processed layers and information will be archived. You must click “OK” in order to proceed with the archive.

Archive Trip Dialog Box
Archive trip dialog box will pop up

Once you clicked “OK” to archive the trip, the trip should be removed from your dashboard. If that was the only trip or the last trip on the waterbody, the waterbody should also be removed from your dashboard.

To see your archived trips, click “Archived Trips”

The archived trips dashboard will look just like your normal dashboard but contains all your archived trips. To get back to your normal dashboard you just need to click dashboard in the upper right hand corner.

Archived trip dashboard
Archived Trip Dashboard


In order to restore archived trips back to your dashboard. Click the trip you want to unarchive and instead of “analyze/edit” the button should say “restore”. After clicking the restore button the trip will be reprocessed and appear on your dashboard shortly. For more information on Archiving trips click the “ask the experts” button or reach out to us by email.

Restore Button
Clicking the restore button will unarchive your trip.

For more Tips and Tricks see the Support Resources page on BioBasemaps.com  or click  – Support Resources

Or visit the blog – http://blog.biobasemaps.com

The automated mapping platform, BioBase (www.biobasemaps.com) is a central pillar of Navico’s Sustainability Mission Navico’s Sustainability Page and we offer it for free to Environmental, Government, and Research Agencies. For a free trial or if you think you may qualify for a free EcoSound Habitat Plus Subscription – BioBase Plans

Professional Spotlight – LakeTech – Eli Kersh

Professional Spotlight BioBase

Eli Kersh started a consulting firm, e-limnology, in 2016 and used it to provide services for customers as a side business where his current employer had gaps. He primarily provided mapping for customers and his business took off. Eventually he found a niche and e-limnology transformed into its current form Lake Tech. Lake Tech is on the forefront of new products and technologies for lake management. He is always trying to have a practical approach to lake management and rely heavily on new technologies that demonstrate value and ultimately simplifies lake management to make it more accessible to the public.

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Purchase or Renew Subscriptions Online

BioBase Tips and Tricks Logo

Did you know that you can Purchase or renew your BioBase subscription and purchase other features right from your account page online? Below you will see some step by step instructions on how to renew your EcoSound subscription, expand your storage totals, and even purchase GIS services. You may notice a new login page if you haven’t visited BioBase in awhile and you can read about the updates here.

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Hardware Purchasing Program

As part of Navico’s sustainability mission, select BioBase customer are eligible for up to 35% off select hardware. With a quick and easy application process you can gain access to the customer portal that includes tailored discounts on any Navico branded product.

Lowrance, Simard, B&G, C-Map, JL Audio
Navico’s Core Brands

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