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TitleUsing AUV for sediment mapping - experiences from a MAREANO pilot project, Norway
DownloadDownload (whole publication)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorThorsnes, T; Bjarnadottír, L; Jakobsen, F; Bellec, V; Dloan, M; Lagstad, P; Olsen, K T
SourceProgram and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada; by Todd, B JORCID logo; Brown, C J; Lacharité, M; Gazzola, V; McCormack, E; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8295, 2017 p. 114, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksGeoHab 2017
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Meeting2017 GeoHab: Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping; Dartmouth, NS; CA; May 1-4, 2017
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Program and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
File formatpdf
AreaLofoten Islands; Norway
Lat/Long WENS 2.5000 18.0000 70.0000 67.0000
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; geophysics; mapping techniques; oceanography; marine environments; coastal studies; conservation; marine organisms; marine ecology; resource management; biological communities; environmental studies; ecosystems; biotopes; marine sediments; grain size distribution; continental margins; continental shelf; continental slope; geophysical surveys; acoustic surveys, marine; sonar surveys; side-scan sonar; photography; grab samples; bathymetry; seafloor topography; reefs; Corals; Biology
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
Released2017 09 26
AbstractSediment grain-size maps are an important product in their own right and a key input for habitat and biotope maps. National and regional mapping programmes are tasked with mapping large areas, and survey efficiency, data quality, and resulting map confidence are important considerations when selecting the mapping strategy. Since 2005, c. 175,000 square kilometres of the Norwegian continental shelf and continental slope has been mapped with respect to sediments, habitats and biodiversity, and pollution under the MAREANO programme ( At present the sediment mapping is based on a combination of ship-borne multibeam bathymetry and backscatter, visual documentation using a towed video platform, and grab sampling.
We have now tested a new approach, using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) as the survey platform for the collection of acoustic data (Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS), EM2040 bathymetry and backscatter) and visual data (still images using a TFish colour photo system). This pilot project was conducted together the Norwegian Hydrographic Service, the Institute of Marine Research (biology observations) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (operation of ship and AUV).
The test site reported here is the Vesterdjupet area, offshore Lofoten, northern Norway. The water depth is between 170 and 300 metres, with sediments ranging from gravel, cobbles and boulders to sandy mud. A cold-water coral reef, associated with bioclastic sediments was also present in the study area.
The presentation will give an overview of the main findings and experiences gained from this pilot project with a focus on geological mapping and will also discuss the relevance of AUV-based mapping to large-area mapping programmes like MAREANO.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The sixteenth annual GeoHab Conference was held this year (2017) at the Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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