Bathymetric Surveying Methods


Arek Surveying offers professional bathymetric surveying for people throughout the greater New York area. A bathymetric survey measures the depth of a body of water, as well as maps the underwater features of said body of water. To effectively measure a body of water, you need to be precise. So there are different methods available to us in order to achieve the best results.

For more information about our surveying capabilities, please reach out to us. Our office numbers are 516-792-6676 and 718-846-4624. When you call, we can provide you with a no-obligation consultation. Learn more about the importance of a bathymetric survey. We can discuss what exactly you need and the proper methods for it. Similar services and surveys we offer are erosion and sediment control plans and help with a FEMA flood elevation certificate. Get all of your survey needs with the pros at Arek Surveying.

Bathymetric Survey Research Options

Before we get to the methods we use for a bathymetric survey, let's look at the different types of research that utilizes this sort of survey.

  • flooding
  • contour of streams and reservoirs
  • biological and spill study
  • scour and stabilization
  • study of water quality
  • storage and fill in reservoirs and ponds
  • dam removal

Learn more about mapping and remote sensing by checking out the USGS website and how they utilize many effective surveying methods.

Various Methods For Bathymetric Surveys

As professionals in this field, we understand the need to utilize different methods for different tasks and applications when it comes bathymetric surveys. Here is a more in-depth look at these various methods and their utilization in the survey field.

Multi-Beam Surveying

This is a survey that is typically done in larger bodies of water as opposed to smaller ones. In this survey, the surveyors attach a multi-beam echo sounder to a boat. This sounder sends out a wide variety of beams across a large area of the floor of the water. How this works is that as the beams bounce back from the floor of the water, us surveyors collect and process the incoming data. We can view this data in real time during the survey. So the results come in pretty fast, which means the whole process speeds up since there is no lag time to find anything out.

Single-Beam Surveying

So this is essentially the same process as the multi-beam survey, but instead of sending out multiple beams it is just the one beam. Which means it is generally used for smaller bodies of water. During this bathymetric survey method, surveyors measure the water depth that is directly under the boat.


The Ecomapper is a self-driving underwater vehicle that collects crucial and accurate bathymetric data. So precise that it does it down to one-foot contours that are very difficult to reach with boats. How it does this is utilize a side-scan sonar and a Doppler velocity log.

Sub-Bottom Profiler

Surveyors commonly use a sub-bottom profiler to view the layers of sediment and rocks under the water body floor. How it works is that a transducer sends a sound wave to the water body floor and collects data. This sound wave can even penetrate the floor of the water. In the end, the sound waves send back data and in return can map out the layers beneath the water body flow.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler

An Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, or an ADCP, measures streamflow. How they work is that they measure the water velocity by transmitting sound waves which then reflect off sediment and other materials in the water. The collection of data at the end can be used for detailed bathymetric mapping.