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Habitat Mapping

Marine habitat mapping is all about creating a complete picture of the seafloor – the morphology, sedimentology, and biology – and interpreting the results to create thematic maps of distinct habitats that can guide marine policy, management, and resource utilization. It is by definition a multi-disciplinary undertaking. Geologists or hydrographic surveyors will use multibeam or interferometric sonar to generate a bathymetric map, showing the seafloor morphology; they may also collect multibeam backscatter or sidescan imagery, still photos and video, and grab or core samples to aid in the characterization of the seabed lithology or sedimentology. Airborne lidar surveys can also be contracted for coastal or clear shallow areas. Biologists will make observations of the living. They may utilize visual observation directly in very shallow areas or by diving or observing video feeds from sledges or ROVs in deep locations, supplementing these observations with cores or grabs sampling the sediments and infauna, and trawls or dredges to sample epifauna. Once data is collected, it will likely need some level of processing and then integration. Once the data is integrated, teams can interpret the results to create a thematic map showing distinct habitats on the seafloor.
Fledermaus is a fantastic tool for the multi-disciplinary teams involved in habitat mapping; it provides processing capability, top of the line visualization, easy data integration, impressive presentation, and integration to other tools in the habitat mapping toolbox.
If sonar or lidar data acquisition and processing is required for the project, Fledermaus allows for the quick loading, visualization, quality evaluation, and geospatial processing of a variety of sensor, software, and agency specific formats including XYZ, LAS, QINSy QPD, GSF, CARIS HIPS & SIPS HDCS, Hypack HS2, and Kongsberg ALL.CUBEThe CUBE algorithm was developed by Dr. Brian Calder at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshireand Area Based bathymetric processing methods are utilized to shorten processing time and quickly take your data from unrefined survey data to the best possible seabed surface model; for those collecting multibeam backscatter, the advanced backscatter processing techniques, 64-bit software,
multi-threaded processing, and plug-in architecture provide for quick, flexible mosaic creation and signal-based Angle Range Analysis(ARA)The FMGeocoder Toolbox (FMGT) product and ARA analysis originates from research by Dr. Luciano Fonseca at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshireseafloor characterization, creating a picture of the seabed make-up. Importing data in other formats and from other applications, including imagery, GMT GRD, NetCDF, Esri ArcMap grids and shapefiles, ETOPO, Surfer, and Floating Point GeoTIFF, is wizard based, making it easy to move supporting data into your scene; new ASCII parsing allows for flexible import of multi-column ASCII points, lines, ungridded, and gridded data. You can create slope and rugosity surfaces and easily drape backscatter, sidescan, video, and still imagery to aid in analysis. New interpretation tools allow you to create editable habitat boundaries with classification and total area attribution in 3D, using all of the available data to support your decisions. The integration of time in the Fledermaus software - the fourth dimension - allows for easy import and animation of time-attributed data. If water column data is part of your project, Fledermaus provides the most intuitive, user-friendly water column processing package available for detecting and visualizing features and targets such as seeps and fish schools. EsriArcGIS®ArcGIS® trademark provided under license from Esrisoftware has been a major tools in habitat mapping for at least a decade due to its powerful GIS queries, extensive algorithms, geodatabase storage, digitizing and attributing capabilities, and plug-in capability; Fledermaus provides a direct link to ArcGIS to facilitate two-way transfer of data between the software packages. Finally, one of the most important parts of research is presenting your results. 4D Fledermaus scenes can be distributed and viewed using the free downloadable viewer, iView4D. Using a mouse or 3D interaction device, you can create impressive fly-throughs to distribute as WMV or MPEG movie files; you can also export your data to KMZ for viewing in Google Earth. Fledermaus also provides image creation tools, allowing you to generate high-resolution perspective images, profile images, and sun-illuminated georeferenced images for posters, presentations, and publication.

For examples of Fledermaus being used in habitat mapping, see Deepreef Explorer.


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