Professional Spotlight – Dr. Chris Harrod and Chilean Kelp Mapping

Professional Spotlight

The Professional Spotlight series is a deep dive into the global BioBase community where we highlight the unique ways sonar driven mapping is assisting research, conservation and sustainability.

The BioBase team sat down with Dr. Chris Harrod for a look into how he uses BioBase. Chris (from the UK) is a full professor of Fish and Aquatic Ecology at the University of Antofagasta in Antofagasta, Chile. He does a mixture of research, teaching, and administration tasks but our interest with him was the applied research techniques for which he was using BioBase. His research is focused on a macroalgae called kelp (aka seaweed) and its importance as a source of food/energy to fish and invertebrates in the coastal zone. He is also interested in how kelp can function as habitat, food, an anchor of sediment and even slow the turbulent waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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BioBase EcoSound Vegetation and Bottom Hardness Algorithms Improved

Sonar technology continues to improve bringing anglers and aquatic managers better, more clear pictures of the underwater environment on which they are so intently focused. Launched in 2011, BioBase’s EcoSound technology was the first cloud aquatic mapping system designed to process sonar logs from off-the-shelf Lowrance® sonar and create maps of bathymetry, aquatic vegetation biovolume, and bottom hardness for aquatic resource professionals. Today, BioBase is the leading cloud software solution for automated lake and coastal seagrass mapping.

Between 2011 and 2014, the algorithm underwent five major revisions. The bottom hardness algorithm has undergone two major revisions, with the last one in 2014.  Thus, our code base was due for an overhaul in order to maintain performance and compatibility with newer generation Lowrance and Simrad sonar. This refactoring effort was also an opportunity for us to improve the vegetation and bottom hardness algorithms. Many of these improvements also carry over sister consumer technology C-MAP Genesis, which uses many of the same algorithms and backend processing architecture

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Export BioBase EcoSound Maps as Lowrance Charts

2020 has been a busy year for BioBase improvements and new feature releases. Previously exclusive to BioBase’s sister consumer mapping platform, C-MAP Genesis, BioBase users can now export their bathymetric, aquatic vegetation heatmap, or bottom hardness map in a file format (AT5) that is compatible with most newer generation Lowrance and Simrad chartplotters. This feature enables researchers and aquatic resource managers to return to surveyed areas of interest and precisely target follow-up surveys or management actions (e.g., strategic taking of water or aquatic plant samples, placement of fish habitat structures or aeration equipment, precision applications of aquatic herbicides, etc.)

SideBySideVegMaps

In the images and captions below, we’ll walk you through how to do this in your biobasemaps.com account.

  1. Register your Lowrance or Simrad Chartplotter in your BioBase Account
PlotterScreenshot
Assuming you have already recorded your sonar data and successfully uploaded to biobasemaps.com, log into your BioBase account. Click “Plotters”
AddDevice
Add unique details of your chartplotter. This feature is compatible with most newer (newer than 2014) Lowrance and Simrad GPS capable devices (e.g., Lowrance HDS, Elite Ti and Ti2, Simrad GO and Evo)
LowranceSystemAbout
Look in the “About” menu of your Chartplotter. Image above is from a Lowrance HDS Carbon.
SerialContentID
Look for the Serial Number and Content ID alphanumeric code. Enter these into the plotter form on biobasemaps.com

2. Export the GPS Chart file from the desired EcoSound Trip or Merge from BioBase.

ExportAT5
In the Export Data tool, select “GPS Chart Generation”
GPSChartGenerationModal
Export the desired layers

3. Unzip the downloaded file and save to a MicroSD card (<32 GB).

7-ZipAT5
The layer will export as .zip with a random GUID name. The zip file must be unzipped (7-Zip is a great freeware for unzipping files) and the entire contents of the extracted zip file should be copied to a MicroSD card. The contents in the folder are propriety, encrypted files (.AT5) that are specific to the device you registered in your account. The chart file will not work in other non-registered devices. You can register multiple devices. One card can hold multiple AT5 folders (charts) and recorded sonar logs. Cards cannot be larger than 32 GB however.

4. View and Use in your Lowrance or Simrad!

JosephineHeatMap
Insert the card with the saved AT5 chart files. Go to the Chart and select the appropriate Chart Source in Chart Options. Voilà!
JosephineCompositionAT5
Sample bottom hardness map from the same BioBase survey.
ChartCategories
If you want to view a blue- (or custom-) shaded contour map, simply uncheck the Vegetation/Composition categories in one of the Chart menus.
Screenshot_2020-05-18_14.11.44
Detailed, custom-made bathymetric chart. Note that prior to using for navigation, close attention by the user should be given to the quality of the sonar data recorded and resulting accuracy of the map.

 

Polygon Feature Tutorial – Updated

Updated 4/12/2022

The polygon tool is one of BioBase’s strongest features. The ability to calculate total water body, vegetation cover percentage, surface acreage, and more is crucial to environmental management. Reduce the amount of herbicide you need to apply by taking the guess work out of treatments. Pinpoint locations of beneficial vegetation plantings and monitor the success using the vegetation biovolume value created by the polygon tool. The polygon tool is one of the most versatile features and a use can be found in any area of interest. Below is a step by step walkthrough of how to use the polygon tool.

A few things to take into consideration when creating a polygon. First, polygon tool is a very data intensive feature and requires a lot of processing power. In order to limit the demand on server, we must limit simultaneous polygon requests system wide to two. After clicking save and the polygon tool begins the calculations you should see the following statement in the upper right hand corner “Generating statistics: please be patient. Response times depend on waterbody size and amount of data.”. You will also see a spinning circle indicating the tool is working this may take up to 3 minutes depending on the data and the polygon. If you receive a prompt to try again at a later time, the servers may be busy processing other polygons. Try waiting a few minutes then trying again.

Step 1. Select the “Polygon” tab

Select the Polygon Tab

Step 2. Click create polygon button

Click create polygon button

Step 3. Name the polygon

Name the polygon (required)

Step 4. Add a description to the polygon

Add a description to the polygon

Step 5. Draw the polygon by clicking points, double click to end the drawing

Draw the polygon by clicking points, double click to end the drawing

Step 6. Save the polygon

Save the polygon

Step 7. Data Table

Example of data table generated by the polygon tool

  The polygon management tool allows subscribers to create a polygon within their data for automated processing and assessment of specific boundaries within an upload.  After you gather Lowrance sonar data and upload it to your BioBase account to create a bathymetric, vegetation and hardness maps, you can determine water volumes, acres, max and average depths, vegetation average biovolume percentage, vegetation cover percentage and more.

More information on the polygon tool can be found on our support resources page –Support Resources Operators Guide

The days of estimating water volumes are over.  Even though we were already providing detailed water volume analysis of the area covered, BioBase will now allow you to create and manage your treatment zones and areas of concern in greater detail.  BioBase is taking lake management and habitat analysis to the next level and automating everything you need to take your collected data full circle. For more information on Navico’s sustainability initiative click Here

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