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Multibeam Bathymetry

NCEI is the U.S. national archive for multibeam bathymetric data and holds more than 9 million nautical miles of ship trackline data recorded from over 2400 cruises and received from sources worldwide. In addition to deepwater data, the Multibeam Bathymetry Database (MBBDB) includes hydrographic multibeam survey data from NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS).

Data Access

  • Bathymetric Data Viewer (geographic and text search)
    Map viewer for discovery of bathymetric data - including multibeam sonar data

  • Multibeam Survey Search (text search)
    Search for data using survey, vessel, source, chief scientist, instrument, port, or date

  • Custom Maps: AutoGrid
    Web application for creating grids and map images from multibeam bathymetric data

Associated NOS data products, including 3D images and grids: NOS Hydrographic Survey Data Map Service.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Why can't ESRI read the data I downloaded?
    Raw multibeam files cannot be read by ESRI. AutoGrid will create a NetCDF binary grid of the data in your area of interest which ESRI can read.

  2. What programs read raw multibeam data?
    Some of the products known to read raw multibeam data are: MB-System, CARIS, and Fledermaus. This list is provided for information only, as NCEI does not recommend or endorse external products.

Contribute Data:

NCEI accepts new multibeam bathymetric data. We prefer data in a format supported by the MB-System software package developed at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO).

When submitting data, you will be asked to enter metadata for each survey. Data should be organized by survey, tarred, and compressed for upload. Search the Bathymetric Data Viewer to determine whether your surveys are not already in the MBBDB. There is a 2 GB limit.

Sample Fliedermaus 3D image of NOS shallow water bathymetry