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Operational Programme 2013

Contents Preface Introduction Past and Future Mapping – Centre fold?! 2013 Mapping Vessels & Equipment Surveying Operations How the data is collected How to access the data How to get involved


Preface The INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s MArine Resource (INFOMAR) programme is a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute (MI). The programme is a successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS) and concentrates on creating integrated mapping products of the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed in the near-shore area. The programme is funded by the Irish Government through the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources as part of the National Development Plan, 2007 – 2013. This booklet is a guide to the upcoming survey operations during the 2013 season.


Introduction For the past 14 years Ireland’s offshore waters and coastal seas have been subject to one of the largest seabed surveys in the world. The INSS 1999- 2005 was responsible for mapping 81% of Ireland’s seabed territory from the exclusive economic zone delineation to the 200 m contour.

“The Real Map of Ireland” delineating our Exclusive Economic Zone The INSS was succeeded by the INFOMAR programme tasked with mapping the remaining coastal waters. This is being undertaken in two phases, Phase one (2006 -2016) focussing on 26 inshore priority bays and 3 priority coastal areas, and phase two (2016 - 2026) mapping the remaining unsurveyed Irish territory. 4

INFOMAR provides key baseline data to support coastal and inshore infrastructural and economic development across a broad array of sectors, including shipping and transport, marine tourism and leisure, marine renewable energy, and fisheries and aquaculture. Data collected are critical to underpin current, wave, and carrying capacity modelling, in support of developing ocean energy and deep water aquaculture sector requirements in particular. Additionally the data are of value for applications including fisheries and coastal zone management, coastal and offshore engineering, cable routing, licensing decision support, and the commissioning and undertaking of environmental impact assessments. A cost benefit analysis of the INFOMAR Programme estimated a return to the Irish state between 4-6 times the cost of the programme over it’s life span ( PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP report, 2008 available on INFOMAR is committed to making the vast data resource collected widely and openly available on an ongoing basis to stimulate research and sustainable development of Ireland’s marine resources, and to realise the benefits achievable through the Programme investment.


INFOMAR Phase One 2006 – 2016

Phase one (2006 -2016) focussing on 26 inshore priority bays and 3 priority coastal areas.


INFOMAR Related Mapping 2006 –2012

The coastal and inshore territory mapped as of October 2012


2013 Mapping The 2013 INFOMAR survey operations will be split into three key areas; The MI RV Celtic Voyager will be focused on two target areas, West Clare on behalf of Sustainable Energy Authority for Ireland and the South Priority Area. The three GSI vessels RV Keary, RV Cosantóir Bradán and RV Geo will aim to finish the survey areas of Dundalk and Carlingford by end of April. This will be followed by:  Dingle Bay during May and early June  The Shannon Estuary and offshore of Co. Clare during late June/ July/ August  Blacksod Bay/ Broadhaven Bay and Gola Island during August and September  Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle during September and October Lastly feasibility trials on the use of satellite remote sensing to map the following bays and coastal areas will be undertaken: Carlingford Lough, Cork Harbour, Dingle Bay, Lough Foyle and the Shannon Estuary.


2013 Proposed survey areas


Survey Platforms RV Celtic Voyager

RV Keary

RV Cosant贸ir Brad谩n

RV Geo

The Marine Institute vessel RV Celtic Voyager is predominantly used for offshore and coastal survey operations. Inshore and shallow water operations are performed by the INFOMAR dedicated Geological Survey of Ireland vessels RV Keary, RV Cosant贸ir Brad谩n and RV Geo. Airborne LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and satellite remote sensing surveys are outsourced where feasible and economically viable for the nearshore waters. 10

Data Acquisition The main datasets acquired during an INFOMAR survey are:      

Single-Beam Echo-Sounding (SBES) Multi-Beam Echo-Sounding (MBES) Shallow Seismic Reflection – Pinger/ Chirp Magnetometer Grab sampling/ drop camera CTD/ SVP

Datasets acquired in special circumstances:   

Vibrocorer Shallow Seismic Reflection - Sparker Side Scan Sonar

Single-Beam Echo-Sounding (SBES) A hull-mounted transducer transmits sound directly beneath the vessel. The reflected sound gives a profile of the water depth as the vessel moves along; the amount of energy reflected also gives is indication of seabed type (i.e. mud/ sand/ gravel). Multi-Beam Echo-Sounding (MBES) MBES transducers transmit a high frequency pulse of sound that ensonifies the seabed at a wide angle either side of the vessel, enabling a large swath of seabed to be mapped at high resolution as the vessel moves along; from the amount of 11

acoustic energy being returned (backscatter) the seabed type can be distinguished.

MBES bathymetry and backscatter charts of the Wexford Coast.

Acoustic seabed classification chart of the Wexford Coast, the different colours correspond to different seabed types. 12

Side Scan Sonar For site investigations or shipwreck sites where getting a good overview image to detect objects is desired a side scan sonar is used. Towed behind the vessel, it transmits high frequency sound pulses that map the seabed either side of the unit.

Bedrock Outcrop Boulder

Bedrock Outcrop Boulder

Shallow Seismic Reflection – Pinger/ Chirp These systems operate similar to the SBES but at lower frequencies than. A pinger system operates on a single frequency of ~4 kHz and the chirp system transmits a sweep of frequencies (2-7 kHz) in a single pulse. The sound penetrates the seabed and reflects off layers where there are changes in the sediment properties/ layers. The 13

depth of penetration into the subsurface is dependent on the type of sediment; depths of up to 30 m are achieved in mud to sand.

A pinger seismic section from Galway Bay. Shallow Seismic Reflection – Sparker For sub-seabed investigations where deeper penetration is required or coarse/ compacted sediments precludes mapping a Sparker is used. Operating at lower frequencies (500 – 2000 Hz) the unit is towed behind the vessel, transmitting a more powerful pulse of sound into the seabed. This unit is only deployed for specific investigations. CTD/ SVP The geo-chemical structure of the water column is sampled by lowering a CTD probe measuring salinity, temperature and depth. These variables are important to understanding the circulation of currents and know the speed of sound in water to calibrate the SBES/ MBES. Alternatively a smaller 14

Sound Velocity Probe (SVP) is used to directly measure the sound speed where space on the vessel is restricted. Magnetometer A magnetometer is a light torpedo shaped instrument that is towed behind the vessel where the environment permits (not deployed if it could get snagged on lobster pot equipment). The instrument detects changes in the magnetic field that varies over a wide area according to the geology or locally over ferrous objects such as shipwrecks. Grab sampling/ drop camera To ground-truth the backscatter charts make seabed classification charts, samples images of the seabed are acquired by grabs cameras. Samples can be further analysed sediment composition and chemical analysis.

and and and for

Vibro cores/ piston corers Corers are used to extract cores of soft sediment up to six metres in length from the seabed subsurface for site investigations or palaeoenvironmental research. Cores are sampled either using vibration generated by a motor which help the core barrel to slice into the sediment or by a weighted core barrel which is dropped and freefalls into the seabed.


Data Products and Access All INFOMAR datasets can be freely accessed via the INFOMAR website data and products page. Or by making a data request directly to The standard data products Include:       

MBES bathymetry, shaded relief and backscatter charts, grids and ASCII files. Acoustic seabed classification maps. Sub Bottom Profile raw data and Tiff images. SBES raw and XYZ data. Magnetometer raw data. Survey tracks, seabed sample stations and sound velocity profile stations. Survey leg, shoal and wreck reports.


Value Added Exploitation A specific objective of INFOMAR is the delivery of a programme of national and international value added research to leverage the skills, expertise and data from the INSS and INFOMAR. The programme office coordinate Research Calls and associated grant aid award schemes, and encourage industry & research partnership and collaborative applications, particularly in areas related to INFOMAR activities where there is future scope for commercial opportunities, growth and/or jobs. 23 research projects were funded in 2012 across a broad array of disciplines and areas including;     

Data management, visualisation, analysis, and integration Geoscience, Oceanography, Acoustics Ocean Energy Technology Development Education and Outreach


A shipwreck in 30 m water depth off Wexford.



INFOMAR survey activity 2013

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