Benthic habitat mapping related sites and other useful links

Website links | publications | Core partners | Stakeholders

The links listed below are to web sites that provide a useful source of information and resource centre to the wealth of recent technical references and tools available on the internet for anyone wanting to undertake benthic habitat mapping.

Australian | International

Australian websites

Australian Air Targets
Commercial Airborne Remote Sensing services based in Australia and operating throughout the world.

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
AIMS is conducting work of importance to do with benthic communities as nursery areas and habitats for tropical species. They are involved in mapping critical habitats, analysis and management of spatial habitat data, habitat dynamics, assessment of impacts such as the effects of prawn trawling and dredging, and developing technology to facilitate habitat mapping.

Australian Coastal Atlas

The Australian Coastal Atlas is a national network of marine and coastal agencies all working together to provide information to the public over the WWW. The national node of the Coastal Atlas has now been integrated with the Australian Natural Resources Atlas.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology Weather
Australian weather forecasts warnings and observations, such as satellite imagery.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology Tides
Publish tidal information.

Australian Conservation Foundation, Review of Laws
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is committed to inspiring people to achieve a healthy environment for all Australians. There are hundreds of Commonwealth and State marine-related environmental laws, which apply to the conservation, fisheries, petroleum, shipping and tourism sectors.

Australian Dept of Defence, Navy
The Directorate of Oceanography & Meteorology is to acquire, manage, produce and distribute meteorological and oceanographic information, ADF developments and SQL tools.

Australian Hydrographic Office
The Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS) is part of the Royal Australian Navy. It is responsible for the conduct of hydrographic surveys, as well as providing Australia's national charting service under the terms of the UN Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and the Navigation Act.

Australian National Oceans Office Portal
The Australian National Oceans Office is the key organisation for implementing Australia's Oceans Policy. Australia's oceans hold 4,000 fish types of 22,000 known worldwide. They are home to the largest area of coral reefs and 30 of the world's 58 sea grass species. Australia also brings in $30 billion in income from ocean based tourism and recreation, oil and gas production, shipping, fishing and aqua culture.

Directorate of Oceanography & Meteorology
Defence Navy Metrology & Oceanography on line data services.

The Western Australian Government is committed to the conservation of WA's marine environment and the sustainable use of our natural resources, now and for the future.

CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (CMAR) manages the National Facility – Ocean Research Vessel Southern Surveyor. The division’s work encompasses the assessment of atmospheric and earth systems and the prediction of climate, weather and ocean processes; and research to integrate coastal management and ensure marine resources and industries are sustainable.CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research has access to data from three satellite reception antenna. CSIRO voyages of discovery mapping deep water marine habitats.

Curtin University of Technology, CMST
Centre for Marine Science & Technology has active research programs in Marine Acoustics , Marine Bio-Acoustics ,Hydrodynamics, Naval Architecture , Marine Technology, and Underwater Technology

Department for Environment & Heritage
The role of the Environment and Heritage is to look after the environment, especially those aspects that are matters of national environmental significance, and to see it is protected and conserved. The Department for Environment & Heritage ( DEH) responsible for environment policy, biodiversity conservation, heritage conservation, environmental sustainability and animal welfare, and is a custodian of information and knowledge about the State's environment. The Department also manages the State's public land - land held in the conservation reserve system and as Crown lands. The Interim Marine and Coastal Regionalisation for Australia (IMCRA) is an ecosystem-based classification for marine and coastal environments, and the Interim Marine and Coastal Regionalisation for Australia.

Dpi WA iMarine Coastal Data
The WA Coastal Data web site provides information on ocean conditions, live coastal images, nautical charts and access to the vast amount of maritime geographical data held by the Department for Planning and Infrastructure.

DSTO Defence Science & Technology Organisation
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is part of Australia's Department of Defence. DSTO's role is to ensure the expert, impartial and innovative application of science and technology to the defence of Australia and its national interests.

ESRI Australia, ArcIMS (Image Map Server)
ESRI Australia - Image Map Server. ESRI Australia is one of the leading providers of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) solutions in Australia. ArcIMS is the foundation for distributing and dissembling GIS data on the Internet. ArcIMS enables a common foundation for the exchange and sharing of resources by providing a collaborative environment for organisations to share information.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is the principal adviser to the Commonwealth Government on the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying & Mapping, ICSM
This new Geocentric Datum of Australia Technical Manual is principally designed to explain all facets of the new Geocentric Datum of Australia, and continues the tradition of providing complete formulae and worked examples - now in computer spreadsheets.

Tenex is a world leader in the supply of airborne laser bathymetry systems and services. Tenix LADS Corporation owns and operates the Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS), which is internationally recognised as the fastest, most cost-effective tool for accurate bathymetric survey in coastal waters to 70 metres deep. LADS is capable of surveying shallow, complex areas up to 20 times faster than survey ships and at 20% of the cost.

LINZ (IHO Manual)
The IHO released a new Manual of Hydrography (M13)in May 2005. It is available from the IHO web site in pdf format, but is quite hard to find. The Manual is considered to be a professional guide for hydrographic surveyors and a tool for teachers and students involved in hydrographic courses or programs. For convenience it can be downloaded from the LINZ site.

Map information of Tasmania such as aerial photography.

Marine Parks Authority NSW
The Marine Parks Authority is responsible for managing marine parks for conservation of marine bio diversity and to maintain ecological processes, and is a partner in the Coastal CRC.

Murdoch University
This Web page provides information on Western Australian seagrass research for other researchers, resource managers and the general public. The purpose in providing this information is to improve awareness of what seagrass research is underway in Western Australia, and to encourage an understanding of the important role these communities play in our coastal ecosystems

Natural Heritage Trust
National reviews into Australia's coastal and marine environments have consistently identified the need for improved availability and accessibility of relevant information for planning and management. The Commonwealth Coastal Policy, released in May 1995, included a commitment to establish a Coastal Monitoring Initiative to help address this need. More recently, the objectives of that Policy have been confirmed and expanded in the Government's Coasts and Clean Seas Initiative.This has a strategy developed to provide a substantial framework for the Coastal Monitoring Initiative.

New Zealand’s leading provider of atmospheric and aquatic science.

Marine and Coastal Community Network (MCCN)
The Marine and Coastal Community Network (MCCN) is a non-government project that builds community, industry and government support for the conservation of marine bio diversity and ecological processes, and the ecologically sustainable use of marine and coastal environments.

The Marine and Coastal Community Network (MCCN) has developed a 72-page guide, "Taking NRM Beyond the Shore - Integrating Marine and Coastal Issues into Natural Resource Management in Australia" to assist regional NRM practitioners and, importantly, encourage the allocation of necessary resources through regional investment strategy processes. The Guide provides a comprehensive national overview of marine and coastal issues and policy initiatives, and contains extensive checklists to help regional planners identify (or review) actions to be included in NRM plans. See article Taking NRM beyond the Shore, Integrating Marine and Coastal Issues into Natural Resource Management, written by Tony Flaherty and Kirsti Sampson edited by Michelle Grady and Tim Allen, published in April 2005 by the Marine and Coastal Community Network.

Queensland Environmental Protection Agency
"Marine habitats ~ Coast and oceans ~ "

SEAMAP Tasmania
Seamap Classification Table
Tasmanian Aqua culture and Fisheries Institute has been conducting a substantial benthic habitat mapping project called SEAMAP Tasmania that aims to improve the understanding of the marine environment and management of the marine resources throughout the State of Tasmania's coastal waters. Habitat Mapping Group - Mapping of the distribution of seabed habitat types in estuarine, coastal and marine waters of Tasmania is conducted through photographic, acoustic, biological and sediment sampling.

University of Queensland, Ecology Centre
MARXAN software tool to meet bio diversity targets: MARXAN is software that delivers decision support for reserve system design. MARXAN finds reasonably efficient solutions to the problem of selecting a system of spatially cohesive sites that meet a suite of bio diversity targets.

The School of Plant Biology has strength in research of plant functioning in both natural and managed ecosystems, and is an active member of the Coastal CRC.

UWA Benthic Habitat Mapping Report
Fish habitats of Recherche Archipelago: Report Contents

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International websites

American University School of Communication
The Journalists' Guide to Remote Sensing Resources on the Internet

California State University, Seafloor Mapping Lab
The Seafloor Mapping Lab (SFML), within the Division of Science and Environmental Policy at California State University Monterey Bay, specializes in high-resolution acoustic remote sensing for coastal habitats.

This has a Seafloor Mapping Lab Internet Map Server (IMS) page from which you can choose your desired Map Service from a list on the right to give downloadable (ArcGIS format) files. Complete data sets can be downloaded directly from the IMS live map(s) toolbar or via the download icon.

Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
Responsible for receiving, processing, and archiving Earth observation data; coordinating a national research programme, which develops and applies remote sensing technology to sustainable development and environmental protection; developing geospatial information applications; and providing electronic access to spatial databases.

Canada Geological Survey &SEAMAP
Canada, as an international leader in ocean and aquatic mapping, is moving forward with a new initiative, the Seabed Resource Mapping Program SeaMap. The initiative focus is sea and lakebed mapping of Canada's offshore, coastal and aquatic lands. Canada's leadership role has been demonstrated by our ability to develop cutting edge technology and apply these to address today's needs in industry and society. The applications have recently seen success and span a broad range, from telecommunications to offshore exploration; from national security to environmental assessment; and from fish habitat assessment to sustainable development. A team of specialists in marine and petroleum geology, geophysics, geochemistry and geotechnology providing a source of integrated knowledge and advice on marine geoscience, with specific concentration on Canada's coastal and offshore landmass

The Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aqua culture Science, UK

DigitalGlobe supplies QuickBird camera model information with each Basic Imagery product to permit you to perform sophisticated photogrammetric processing such as orthorectification and three dimensional feature extraction.

SeaMap Research Group, Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal Management, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. Contains their report on sub littoral mapping methodology of the BMAP project. Final report for the 3 year broad scale marine mapping project completed for the Crown Estate, English Nature, Countyside Council for Wales & Scottish Natural Heritage

Fisheries & Oceans Canada
The Emerging Role of Marine Geology in Benthic Ecology, Gordon B. J. Fader, R.A. Pickrill, Brian J. Todd, Robert C. Courtney and D. Russell Parrott

Fisheries Habitat Mapping
The goal of this site is to advance scientific knowledge via an Industrial Association between Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and Fugro Pelagos, and provide improved methods and standards for benthic habitat mapping in order that fisheries resources may be better managed.

GeoHab (Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping) was established in 2001 to bring together scientists from around the world working on the development of new thematic maps linking acoustic mapping and geological sampling to marine biology in a Geographical Information System environment to underpin sustainable ocean management.

Google Earth
Want to know more about a specific location? Dive right in - Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips.

GOMMI: Gulf of Maine Mapping InitiativeThe Gulf of Maine Mapping Initiative (GOMMI) is a U.S. - Canadian partnership of government and non government organizations to conduct comprehensive seafloor imaging, mapping, and biological and geological surveys.

GOMMI_James Marine Fisheries Service
Find a wealth of useful introductory and scientific information about benthic habitat mapping of the Gulf of Maine, which is bordered by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

GPS Overview
These materials were developed by Peter H. Dana, Department of Geography, University of Texas at Austin, 1994 to educate people about GPS.

Hydrographic Society
Technical publications of past journals. (restricted to members)

IHO Manual (International Hydrographic Organisation)
Surveying and charting the oceans to ensure safety of navigation, and to promote a better understanding of the maritime and oceanic environments.

IHO Brochure
There are a number of publications that are available  for download. The IHO survey specifications is the one of interest.

ICES International Council for Exploration of the Sea
(EUNIS - European Nature Information System )
ICES is the major organisation that coordinates and promotes marine research in the North Atlantic. From this site you can download the ICES Habitat Mapping Report, ICES WGMHM Report 2005 .

Find information about habitat types of interest for biodiversity and nature protection.

Exploration, exploitation of ocean floors and their biodiversity. The objective is to explore, with the most powerful tools, ocean floors more or less well known in order to understand geophysical, geochemical and biological processes and their interactions. This work must contribute to a better control of exploitation activities or the use of living, mineral and energy resources, and contribute to preserve unique ecosystems and of major interest facing human action.

Institute for Marine Acoustics
Sonar Primer, Measuring with Sound, by John P. Fish.

International Seabed Authority
The Authority is the organization through which States Parties to the Convention of the Law of the Sea shall, in accordance with the regime for the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (the Area) established in Part XI and the Agreement, organize and control activities in the Area, particularly with a view to administering the resources of the Area.

Irish National Seabed Survey
The Irish National Seabed Survey, INSS is primarily a multi beam sonar survey of an area of 525,000 sq. km in size. This acoustic technique is providing detailed bathymetry (water depth) data and knowledge of the nature of the seabed and its overlying sediment.

JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee)
Marine Monitoring Hand Book addresses the principles behind, and the procedures for, monitoring the habitats and species within marine SACs in UK waters to assess their condition. These assessments are intended to fulfil the requirements of the EC Habitats and Species Directive and the UK's common standards for monitoring. The marine habitat classification for Britain and Ireland provides a tool to aid the management and conservation of marine habitats. It is one of the most comprehensive marine benthic classification systems currently in use, and has been developed through the analysis of empirical data sets, the review of other classifications and scientific literature, and in collaboration with a wide range of marine scientists and conservation managers. It is fully compatible with and contributes to the European EUNIS habitat classification system.

Marine Sciences Portal for the North Atlantic & Mediterranean
The eSeFDee Marine Sciences Portal is the continuation of the former links pages of the Sea Fisheries Department (CLO-SFD, Oostende, Belgium). The portal site is offered as a free service to the marine scientific community, to managers and decision makers, and in general, to anyone interested in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Contains the ICES "working group on the effects of extraction of marine sediments on the marine ecosystem" (WGEXT) convened in 1999 and 2000 to review a wide-range of seabed mapping technologies for their effectiveness in discriminating benthic habitats (seabed attributes) at different spatial scales. See article and ICES WGEXT report of the working group on the effects of extraction of marine sediments on the marine ecosystem ices wgext report 2005.

Mapping European Seabed Habitats (MESH)
MESH is an international marine habitat mapping programme that started in spring 2004 and will last for 3 years. A consortium of 12 partners across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France gained financial support from the EU INTERREG IIIB fund for this international programme. The MESH partnership covers all five countries in the Interreg (IIIb) north-west Europe area, drawing together scientific and technical habitat mapping skills, expertise in data collation and its management, and proven practical experience in the use of seabed habitat maps for environmental management within national regulatory frameworks.
The output section of web site contains the area to download the pdf's -Review of standards and protocols for seabed habitat mapping and Establishing Protocols for acoustic survey for the Production of Habitat Maps using multi beam sonar.

Landsat 7 Science Data Users Handbook

NOAA and the collocated World Data Centre for Marine Geology & Geophysics, Boulder, compile, maintain, archive, and distribute data from extensive databases in both coastal and open ocean areas. Key data types include bathymetry and gridded relief, trackline geophysics (gravity, magnetics, seismic reflection), sediment thickness, data from ocean drilling and seafloor sediment and rock samples, digital coastlines, and data from the Great Lakes.NGDC also operates the International Hydrographic Organization Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry (IHO DCDB).

NOAA Coastal Services Centre for Benthic Habitat Mapping
A very comprehensive site which was developed to bring benthic habitat mapping information, spatial data, and assistance to the coastal management community. The NOAA Coastal Services Center works with resource managers and mapping professionals to promote the use of benthic habitat mapping to address coastal management issues.

NOAA National Geophysical Data Centre
NGDC is the US national archive for multi beam bathymetric data (see their interactive on line map) and presently holds over 1.6 million nautical miles of ship tracklines (660 surveys) received from sources worldwide.

NOAA / NOS Survey Specifications
Office of Coast Survey - the latest version of NOS Hydrographic Surveys Specifications and Deliverables.

NOAA CCMA, Centre for Coastal Monitoring & Assessment
CCMA's remote sensing efforts focus on the monitoring and forecasting of estuarine and coastal environmental problems. While emphasis is on standard sensors, particularly satellites, Centre scientists develop and use new techniques to investigate and monitor coastal water quality, track harmful algal blooms (HABs), and assess impacts related to climate variability.

NOAA Ocean Explorer
This section of the Ocean Explorer Web site highlights the technologies that make today's explorations possible. These include the numerous vessels, submersibles, diving technologies, and observation tools that transport us across ocean waters and into the depths, allowing us to examine, record, and analyze their mysteries. See Technology Observation Tools.

NOAA's Remote Sensing for Coastal Management Site
Remote sensing technologies are evolving and changing on a regular basis, and coastal managers are finding new ways to use this problem-solving technology. This Web site helps technicians and coastal managers understand options for selecting, obtaining, and using remote sensing data.

Seabed Mapping Overview
An overview of seabed mapping technologies in the context of marine habitat classification . A. J. Kenny , E. Andrulewicz, H. Bokuniewicz, S. E. Boyd, J. Breslin, C. Brown, I. Cato, J. Costelloe, M. Desprez, C. Dijkshoorn, G. Fader, R. Courtney, S. Freeman, B. de. Groot, L. Galtier, S. Helmig, H. Hillewaert, J. C. Krause, B. Lauwaert, H. Leuchs, G. Markwell, M. Mastowske, A. J. Murray, P. E. Nielsen, D. Ottesen, R. Pearson, M-J. Rendas, S. Rogers, R. Schuttenhelm, A. Stolk, J. Side, T. Simpson, S. Uscinowicz, and M. Zeiler.

Ocean Mapping Group, University of New Brunswick
An Introduction to the Ocean Mapping Group

Ocean Mapping Group, John E Hughes Clarke 1
Swath-Sonar Related Sites, available through the Ocean Mapping Group, UNB. John E. Hughes Clarke

Ocean Mapping Group, John E Hughes Clarke 2
Provisional Swath Sonar Survey Specifications John E. Hughes Clarke, Ocean Mapping Group, Dept. Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering University of New Brunswick, CANADA

Optech LIDAR
The SHOALS system combines a powerful, probing laser radar (lidar) and high-speed electronics on an airborne platform. Operating at altitudes of 200-400 metres, with laser spot spacing variable from 2x2 to 5x5 metres, SHOALS has a typical maximum depth penetration of 40-50 m in clear water, 20-40 m in coastal waters, and less than 20 m in more turbid inland waters

Satellite-Related World Wide Web Sites, Dundee UK
Satellite-Related World Wide Web Sites relating to satellite and aerial imaging. Links provided to high-resolution imagery.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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Examples of Sonar Imagery - Examples posted on web sites of equipment manufacturers

Sonar Images

Sonar Images

Klein Associates Inc. web site section "Sonar Operators Resource Site" - useful for the sonar operator, operation tips, graphs, graphics, and record interpretation examples.

Klein 2
Sonar Images

Multibeam Sonars - technical information

Sonar Images

Sonar Images

Sonar Images

Marine Sonic Technology
Sonar Images

C Max
Sonar Images

The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM)/ Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC)
Sonar Images

Sonar Images

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UNESCO - Bilko
Bilko software is a series of interactive tutorials each of which introduces remote sensing image analysis skills. Current lessons teach the application of remote sensing to oceanography and coastal management, but Bilko routines may be applied to the analysis of any image in an appropriate format, and include a wide range of standard image processing functions.

CSI Web-based Forum on Wise Coastal Practices. Contains the REMOTE SENSING Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management (extracts). 1. Methodologies for Defining Habitats. 2. A Glossary of terms and acronyms regarding satellite remote sensing. 3. URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) or ‘web addresses’ of a range of sites found particularly useful. REMOTE SENSING Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management (extracts). Coastal management sourcebooks. Mumby, P.J., Green, E., Edwards, A.J. and Clark, C., 1998. Cost-effectiveness of remote sensing for coastal management. In: A.J. Edwards (Editor), Remote Sensing Handbook for tropical coastal environments. UNESCO.

University of New Brunswick
Dept of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, ocean mapping and navigation. Provisional Swath Sonar Survey Specifications. John E. Hughes Clarke. Ocean Mapping Group, Dept. Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering. University of New Brunswick, CANADA. National Topographic and Hydrographic Authority,Land Information New Zealand, Technical Report #2, August 1999. Hughes Clarke J.E., 1997, A comparison of swath sonar systems demonstrated at the 1997 US/Canada Hydrographic Commission Coastal Multibeam Surveying Course and Hughes Clarke J.E., 1996, A comparison of swath sonar systems demonstrated at the 1996 US/Canada Hydrographic Commission Coastal Multibeam Surveying Course and Miller, J., Hughes Clarke, J.E. and Patterson, J., 1997, How Effectively Have You Covered Your Bottom: Hydrographic Journal, no.83, p.3-10. and see technical web page at:

UNH, Centre for Coastal & Oceanographic Mapping Joint Hydrographic Centre
The Centre for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (C-COM)/ Joint Hydrographic Centre (JHC). The Data Visualization Research Lab (DVRL) has the goal of carrying out research into advanced interactive visualization.

UN - Oceans Atlas
The Atlas is an information system designed for use by policy makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and by scientists, students and resource managers who need access to underlying data bases and approaches to sustainability.

US Coast Guard GPS
Navigation Centre. U.S. Policy Statement and General Information Regarding GPS Availability and the world PDOP assessment see General GPS Information, PDOP etc

US Geological Survey
USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program conducts multidisciplinary scientific research in the coastal and offshore areas of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and other US Pacific Islands; and in other waterways of the United States. See IMS; USGS, Pacific Seafloor Mapping Project; USGS, GIS IMS of Long Island; USGS, San Diego Margin Maps ;Moloka'i Benthic Habitat Mapping. By Susan A. Cochran-Marquez, USGS Pacific Science Center, Santa Cruz, CA

USGS Woodshole Interpretation of Sonar
Sea-floor Mapping Technology: Interpretation Notes on Interpretation of Side Scan and Seismic Sonar

USGS Woodshole Seafloor Mapping Data Acquisition
SEA-FLOOR MAPPING TECHNOLOGY: Data Acquisition of Side Scan and Seismic Sonar. This is part of four main components of the Sea-Floor Mapping Group at  the USGS Woods Hole Field Centre:

USGS East Coast Sediment Analysis: Procedures, Data Base, and Georeferenced displays
Grain-size Analysis of Marine Sediments: Methodology and Data Processing

US Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is a Civilian and Military group of engineers, scientists and other specialists working on engineering and environmental matters providing a diverse workforce of biologists, engineers, geologists, hydrologists, natural resource managers and other professionals.

Woodshole: Images of Geological Feature
Geological Studies of Benthic Habitats, thumbnails of images

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Other useful links

The GPS Resource Page

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