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By: Liz Bluesky
Water level recorder instruments for collecting Hydrographic Survey data include options for both shore based and offshore / seabed applications together with telemetry packages for secure data transfer.

The leading 3 essential hydrographic survey instruments are detailed below.

1. Echosounder

Bathymetry: the science of measuring water depth. No matter whether you are surveying, dredging or managing underwater operations, exact bathymetric information is critical, be it overall water depth or the site of particular equipment within the water column.

Electronic digital signal processing systems that use fuzzy logic are available to choose from. These echo sounders will pick out and lock onto the genuine echo, whilst automatic power and gain control means that false echoes are reduced and genuine readings can be produced in water depths as shallow as 30cm. Being a stand alone altimeter, this technology is ideally suited for integration into bathymetry equipment. Combining the technology with integral GPS receiver and on board information collection presents echosounders with the added benefits of optimum flexibility and minimal deployment time.

Echosounders, both single and multi-beam require speed of sound information to accurately produce water depth measurements. If simple, small boat echo sounding is needed with sole or dual frequency transducers and interface of external parameters with GPS reference then a single beam echosounder is suitable.

The MIDAS Surveyor has been formulated to offer a low price tag solution for modest scale hydrographic surveys. The system is supplied with a 210kHz transducer as standard, and uses innovative digital signal processing systems to guarantee high accuracy and trusted bottom tracking. With a built in SBAS enabled DGPS receiver, the MIDAS Surveyor will log position and water depth data for in excess of 30 hours, as well as undertaking on-line correction utilizing external heave and tide data inputs. Options include an added 33kHz transducer, or high accuracy 16 channel DGPS receiver.

2. Sound Velocity Profiler

Sound Velocity Profilers are at present available on the market that can deliver the following features

a. Genuine Accuracy of ±0.02m/s (Total Error Budget)

b. Precision (peak to peak noise) of ±0.002m/s

c. Operating range of 1375m/s to 1900m/s (covering all environments from fresh water to the Dead Sea and the Marianas Trench)

d. Data rates up to 60Hz (instrument dependent)

One particular profiler is the miniSVP, a new budget model, produced to generate the best SV readings in the world available to everyone. Featuring the distinct and acclaimed "time of flight" Sound velocity sensor, the miniSVP is available in either 500m rated acetal or 6000m rated titanium versions. A single C cell and large Flash storage enable hundreds of profiles to be recorded, and the pre-set profiling patterns enable it to be setup and put into service quickly and easily.

3. Tide gauge

Tide Gauges offer perhaps the most basic of all marine measurements - Accurate tidal data. This is critical for Port & Harbour Operations, Dredging, Surveying, equipment deployments, and a variety of other purposes.

Features include:-

a. logging of tidal data for historical purposes;

b. ability to provide real time information,

c. transmission of data over a variety of telemetry links,

d. network capabilities,

e. fixed displays or access through web or local intranet,

f. seabed fixing or in-line mooring.

The TideMaster is a small, cost effective Tidal gauge, particularly formulated for uses where the end user needs an accurate record of water height, but with the further possibility of meteorological data via an ultrasonic wind speed and direction sensor. Appropriate for deployment in fresh or salt water, the TideMaster can be put into service for as much as 1 year, dependant on the sampling rate, with instrument setup and data retrieval via an optional monitor panel or using the Computer application supplied. Alternatively, the system can be offered with radio modules for real time data transmission.

Established in 1969, Valeport designs and manufactures for the oceanographic, hydrographic and hydrometric communities, with a worldwide customer base that includes:environmental, defence, oil and gas, renewable energy, construction, dredging and civil engineering sectors.

To view a range of suitable for hydrographic surveys, look at Valeport at

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