A method for comparing bathymetric survey data to determine changes in sediment elevation

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For waterway maintenance, infrastructure development, environmental and habitat restoration projects, scientists and engineers frequently need to determine the changes in marine or river bottom surfaces that have occurred over time. Changes in sediment surface elevation for any given area may be estimated by several methods, including the comparison of bathymetric survey data that have been collected over a number of years. Comparison of survey datasets, however, requires consideration of the uncertainties inherent in the survey technology used, the level of survey precision (which is determined by the objective of the survey) and the method utilised to compare the data. Thorough consideration of these uncertainties informs which survey differences indicate real physical changes in bathymetry versus apparent variations stemming from the survey and comparison methodologies. This paper describes a standardised approach for comparing bathymetric survey datasets to allow appropriate interpretation of the comparison results. For this study, field data were used to evaluate both the inherent uncertainties of the individual surveys and the uncertainties introduced as part of the comparison process to determine the overall uncertainty of a given survey comparison. The bathymetric surveys used in this study were collected in the Passaic River, New Jersey.

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Hydrographic Journal



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