BioBase is now Metric compatible!

Ok. It’s long overdue. But, better late than never! Much to the delight of non-US users, now you can choose whether BioBase EcoSound outputs are in metric or imperial units.

Click on “My Account” to select the desired units.
Metric output contoured in 0.5 m intervals. Contour detail is autodecluttered based on your zoom level in BioBase.

Wish to change units of an already processed map?

If you processed a trip with one unit setting and wish to recontour the map in a different unit, simply change the unit in our Account Profile and then go back to the trip of interest and reprocess

After selecting a new unit, reprocess the map to contour in the new units

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 60 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.

Continue reading “Training EcoSat Vegetation Classifications: User tips”

Getting Started With BioBase-EcoSound

BioBase is a powerful data collection tool for aquatic environments. 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 great data.

Our quality control team reviews every uploaded trip and looks for glaring issues with the trip like evidence of a slanted transducer, signal loss, 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. The quality control process may cause data edits and offsets to be lost and can “break” merges. Please allow one business day for quality control before applying these changes to your trips, or check the quality control review status by viewing a trip’s report. If there is a quality control reviewer’s name on the report, the trip has been reviewed. 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. Outdated software can result in inaccurate or lost data!

Our YouTube channel has many helpful videos, including data editing tutorials.

This post gives an overview on how EcoSound works along with some answers to frequently asked questions that many new users have.

The EcoSound Support and Resources page has links to the EcoSound Full Operator’s Guide as well as several tutorials, including guides for using EcoSound data in ArcMap. The EcoSound Quick Start Guide shows recommended settings to use on your Lowrance or Simrad while logging sonar.

If you ever need any assistance, contact the BioBase support team at

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.*


Go to  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.


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 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. 

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.

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 BioBase Website and Mapping Dashboard


At BioBase, 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

Contour Innovations’ New Office

We recently came to the realization that we had outgrown our original office so it was time for an upgrade! Many of you that have been following our progress have seen that Contour Innovations has been hiring and growing as ciBioBase continues to expand its subscriber base across the world.  We’re sad to leave the birth place of Contour Innovations but we’ve move into a great creative space in NE Minneapolis.  This move is an exciting event for CI!


Our new address:
Contour Innovations, LLC
1229 Tyler St. NE, #120   
Minneapolis, MN 55413

This is not a ping pong table, it’s a morale booster . . . okay, it’s a ping pong table:

If you have plans to be in the Minneapolis area, be sure to drop in and check out the new digs . . . and challenge us to a game!

About Contour Innovations, LLC:

Contour Innovations, LLC was founded in 2009 to develop a SaaS Platform for automated processing, interpreting, and centralizing a warehouse of industry specific GIS/spatial data.  We leverage this Platform to launch unique Systems that provide relevant information technology tools to different industries. Our initial systems are focused on acoustic processing of user collected sonar data.  Our first System launch with ciBioBase is already changing the world of aquatic habitat research!

About ciBioBase:

ciBioBase removes the time and labor required to create aquatic maps!  The System was engineered to provide automated cloud based bathymetric and aquatic vegetation mapping and historical trend tools for aquatic habitat analysis.  ciBioBase leverages log file formats recorded to SD cards using today’s Lowrance™ brand depth finders and chart plotters.  Data you collect while on the water is uploaded to an online account where it is processed by our servers automatically!   We rely on automation to make vegetation mapping cost effective by reducing the technical skills, staff, and hours to produce vegetation abundance maps from raw sonar collection.  With the human element gone, you get accurate and objective mapping at lightening speeds!   The result is a uniform and objective output all over the world!

Contact us for details about testing the System or checking us out in a demo account.  We also sell Lowrance HDS units to outfit your data collection boat!

Contour Innovations Welcomes Jesse Amo

Contour Innovations, LLC is proud to announce the addition of Jesse Amo to the position of Aquatic Biologist and Technical Sales.  Jesse will focus his efforts on sales, education and in-person demos for local government units and lake associations.  “Jesse’s enthusiasm, passion and wealth of knowledge in aquatic habitats make him a great steward for executing Contour Innovations vision of changing the way we assess aquatic environments using cloud computing and acoustics” commented Ray Valley, Contour Innovations’ Chief Aquatic Biologist.

Jesse brings a diverse mix of education and experience to the Contour Innovations team.  Jesse holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Zoology (fish and wildlife emphasis) from North Dakota State University with particular interest in aquatic ecosystems.   He is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Science and Cartography from the University of North Dakota’s online program.   He draws on experience gathered while working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Minnesota lake associations, Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation Districts and various academic research programs.  He is also active in the Minnesota Association of Conservation Professionals and the American Fisheries Society.

In addition to his work in aquatic biology, Jesse  served 6 years in the Army National Guard and quickly adapted to several military occupational specialties.  He is a combat veteran who served a 12 month tour of duty in Iraq in 2004-2005.  His personal interests include many outdoor endeavors such as canoeing, fishing, hiking, cycling, and research and observation of ecosystems.  Jesse is driven to find innovative ways in increase our understanding and management of aquatic ecosystems.

Jesse’s motivation and understanding of aquatic systems made him a great addition to our rapidly growing team.  We’re excited to have him on board!

You can contact Jesse at