Hydrographic and Geophysical Survey

Bibby HydroMap specialise in the acquisition of high resolution multibeam echosounder, side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiler and magnetometer data


Bibby HydroMap’s core activities include the acquisition and presentation of high resolution multi-beam echo sounder data. The company’s systems are fully integrated and geo-referenced in real time, allowing accurate positioning and visualisation of seabed objects and man-made structures. The data is recorded digitally to ultra-high specification PC based computer platforms and reproduced at maximum resolution in a range of formats. The latest generation of multibeam sonar provides unparalleled resolution, density and quality of bathymetric measurements in the most challenging environments. We invest heavily to provide our clients with the latest enhancements and own a pool of high-specification systems designed for operation in various water depths from industry leading manufacturers including Teledyne Reson and Kongsberg.

An ultra-high specification PC with QPS navigation software is used for collection and processing of all multibeam data long with positioning, vessel motion compensation and sound velocity data sets. This information can be fed into basic filters that allow detailed real-time visualisation of usable data coverage, which can be removed if required. Through combining sonar technology with the latest high-performance inertial navigation systems and the latest integrated navigation and processing software from QPS, we are able to provide accurate, real-time visualisation of seabed topography, surface objects and man-made structures.

Bibby HydroMap have invested heavily in multi-beam technology and own various vessel and subsea based systems. Our fleet of five vessels are mobilised with the latest technology from industry-leading suppliers including Teledyne, Kongsberg, GeoAcoustics and Geometrics.

Side Scan Sonar

Used correctly, modern side scan sonar systems are able to provide a pseudo-image of the seabed that is so accurate and resolute that one could be forgiven for thinking that they were looking at an optically produced image. Such are the capabilities of some of the most advanced contemporary systems that clients are now specifying side scan sonars to identify and assess features in previously inconceivable detail. We are now able to resolve discreet features such as localised pipeline damage, small unexploded ordnance, cable exposure, submerged wreckage and even the minute biogenic reef structures built by marine worms of just a few millimetres in length.

Our capability in the field of side scan sonar is something that we as a company take a great deal of pride in.Side scan sonar surveys are versatile and provide detailed imagery for a number of applications, including habitat mapping, unexploded ordnance detection, offshore wind and rig site surveying, and aggregate resource assessment surveying. We provide high frequency and ultra-high frequency systems, capable of imaging the smallest of objects and own a range of side scan sonar units with the latest in chirp and multi-pulse capabilities. Many of our systems are based on new transducer designs along with specifically developed high resolution circuitry and multibeam focused technologies, which we find gives outstanding imaging with high-range performance. We are currently cooperating with one of the foremost developers of side scan sonar acquisition and interpretation software to continually advance our processing capability.

Sub-Bottom Profiling

The last 2.6 million years of the earth’s history have had a significant effect on the sub-surface conditions found around our shores. The quaternary geology of the marine environments of northern Europe has been heavily influenced by cyclic glacial activity and variations in sea level. The resultant shallow stratigraphic sequences found around our shores are some of the most complex found anywhere on earth. The role of a geophysicist working in such an environment is to interpret and report on these complex sequences using little more than reflected sound.

The rules of physics that govern sub-bottom profiling techniques present a very clear relationship between penetration and resolution. In order to penetrate deeper into the sub-surface you will need a larger sound source, however the larger the sound source the lower the resultant resolution. For this reason, despite technical advancements such as the introduction of chirp pulses and parametric systems, many of the challenges facing the industry revolve around the small number of skilled individuals capable of interpreting the complex geological conditions that they encounter. Bibby HydroMap is proud to operate a geophysical department with a broad range of experienced staff capable providing accurate and considered interpretations.

Whether it be laying a cable through a boulder rich Glacial Till or piling wind turbine foundations into an area of potential shallow gas accumulations, the need to accurately describe and map the conditions interpreted from sub-bottom profiler records is high.

We provide a range of single channel profiling solutions, from high frequency systems capable of identifying buried objects and resolving subtle changes in sub-surface conditions, to lower frequency systems such as boomers and sparkers allowing us to penetrate deeper. Bibby HydroMap also offers a range of multi-channel seismic services capable of achieving upwards of 100m penetration in complex geology, whilst maintaining a high vertical resolution. The company has established a record of achieving high resolution seismic data down to significant penetrations in difficult environments.