Marine Geophysical Research

, Volume 39, Issue 1–2, pp 55–73 | Cite as

Backscatter calibration of high-frequency multibeam echosounder using a reference single-beam system, on natural seafloor

  • Dimitrios Eleftherakis
  • Laurent Berger
  • Naig Le Bouffant
  • Anne Pacault
  • Jean-Marie Augustin
  • Xavier Lurton
Original Research Paper


The calibration of multibeam echosounders for backscatter measurements can be conducted efficiently and accurately using data from surveys over a reference natural area, implying appropriate measurements of the local absolute values of backscatter. Such a shallow area (20-m mean depth) has been defined and qualified in the Bay of Brest (France), and chosen as a reference area for multibeam systems operating at 200 and 300 kHz. The absolute reflectivity over the area was measured using a calibrated single-beam fishery echosounder (Simrad EK60) tilted at incidence angles varying between 0° and 60° with a step of 3°. This reference backscatter level is then compared to the average backscatter values obtained by a multibeam echosounder (here a Kongsberg EM 2040-D) at a close frequency and measured as a function of angle; the difference gives the angular bias applicable to the multibeam system for recorded level calibration. The method is validated by checking the single- and multibeam data obtained on other areas with sediment types different from the reference area.


Calibration Seafloor backscatter Multibeam echosounder Single-beam echosounder 



The post-doc position of Dimitrios Eleftherakis at Ifremer was funded by SHOM (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine, France) under contract 14CR02. The study was conducted in the framework of the Ifremer R&D project R403-006 “Underwater Acoustics”. We especially thank SHOM for co-funding the various recent and on-going projects aimed at identifying reference areas close to Brest harbour and defining a methodology for MBES absolute calibration; more specifically we would like to thank Christophe Vrignaud and Sophie Loyer for their constant support and useful discussions along the project. We gratefully acknowledge our Ifremer/Dyneco colleagues Xavier Caisey and Jean-Dominique Gaffet for their help in collecting videos and grab samples, and the captain and crew of RV Thalia for their invaluable role in the success of the numerous survey cruises.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Underwater Acoustics Laboratory, DFO/NSE/ASTI, Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer), CS 10070PlouzanéFrance

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