Single-beam Echosounders

by Ronald Koomans, contributing editor, Hydro International

Single-beam echosounders (SBES) are commonly used in navigation (most larger vessels have at least a simple echosounder on board) and in hydrographic surveys. Our SBES product surveys in 1998, 2001, and 2005 showed a growing supply for these products. I would have thought that SBES would have become a commodity. How wrong I could be! The results of this product survey show that users have a wide selection to choose from when searching for an SBES. It appears that many manufacturers have created niche markets, with specifications adapted to usage (deep, shallow water), mode of operation, and integration in the work process.

The physical working principles of an SBES have not changed since our last product survey, and the described parameters such as frequency, pulse length and rate, beam angle, and power output remain a leading factor in the use (depth and resolution) of an SBES. Most developments since the last product survey have been in the integration in the work process. Computers and PDAs have become much smaller, software is based more on visual interpretation, and communication with external systems has been facilitated by wireless and cabled ethernet and USB.

We hope this product survey helps you to choose the best system for your applications. The details listed here form only a concise overview of the instruments. A PDF of the full survey is available for download from our website. Also, you can compare your views on products through our website; and with a few clicks you can select some of the products in which you are interested and view their details side by side. In addition, you will find a box for your comments on a particular item of equipment underneath every product on our website, so you can inform each other about your experiences. After all, you're our expert!

Click here to download the eight-page product comparison.

Click here to view online the full survey and interactive comparison.

(A screen shot of two pages of the the eight-page comparison is below:)

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