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R2 Sonic Multibeam Echosounder

The School of Surveying manages a 2026 R2 Sonic Multibeam Echosounder on behalf of users in departments across the University of Otago. Our multibeam echosounder can collect depth, seabed intensity and watercolumn data.

For information please visit: or

MBES_Bathymetry Image
MBES bathymetric image (Source: Emily Tidey)

The equipment is available for teaching and research when accompanied by a trained University of Otago user. It is also available for commercial hire – for commercial hire enquiries or more information please contact Emily Tidey.

R2 Sonic MBES Equipment

Equipment Component


Plastic coated blue-bracket holds MBES, I2NS, SVS and 3m deck cable

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Motion SensorR2 Sonic Integrated Inertial Navigation System (I2NS)
SVS at headApplanix Micro X
Cabling3m deck cable attached to the Blue Bracket, with an additional 15m extension, making for a total 17m cable length from top of Blue Bracket.
SV probeValeport miniSVP with Bluetooth connection
UPSOn-line system for clean power and backup
Top-sideSonic Interface Module (SIM) connects to equipment and laptop
LaptopGetac X500
SoftwareSonic Control, POSview, QPS suite (QINSy, Qimera, Fledermaus, FMGT, FMMidwater), Valeport Datalog X2

Multibeam Specifications - R2 Sonic

Depth1 – 800m+ depth
SoundingsUp to 1024 per swath
Frequency90kHz – 450kHz operational frequency that can be changed on the fly
Swath widthSector selection from 10° - 160° that can be changed on the fly
BeamwidthFocused 0.45° x 0.45° @ 450kHz, 1° x 1° @ 200kHz, 2° x 2° @ 90/100kHz
Ping rateUp to 60Hz
Pulse length15µs – 2000µs
InterfaceSmall sonar interface box on topside, connects via network to PC
PowerLow power consumption, average 75W
WeightFully assembled head with 3m cable ~45kg in air Fully packed wet-side transport case ~60kg, including head, 18m deck cable, SVP Fully packed top-side transport case ~22kg, including SIM, UPS and GNSS antennas

More information can be found at

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Head unit case and contents (Click for larger image)
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SIM UPS and GNSS case and contents (Click for larger image)

MBES System Mounting Options

The equipment can be fitted to existing over-the-side poles on many University vessels.

The current mounting configurations include the University research vessels, Polaris II and Tuhura, and a custom made pontoon for towing or attaching to the side of smaller craft. These vessels have offsets determined to streamline mobilisation and get you measuring as fast as possible. We can also send flange details if you wish to manufacture your own mount.

MBES mounting on Polaris II


University of Otago users need to have a trained operator with the equipment and an account created by Marine Science so that they can book the gear using the Marine Science Fieldwork and Resources Planning tool found at
Important: When booking you must allow time for set-up and demobilisation. We recommend you consult the booking calendar and work with adjacent bookings as much as possible.

Before hire you will be asked to sign a User Agreement and fill out a Collection Plan. It is anticipated that data collected with this equipment will become publicly available, after a suitable research interval so it is vital that complete metadata be recorded and stored with the original data. On return you need to fill out a Hiring Period Completion Form to aid billing.

University research and teaching internal hire prices at June 2023 are:

  • $250 per day in use
  • $50 per day for setup and standby

These prices are reviewed annually.

Commercial hire is managed separately and handled by university contracting procedures. Door-to-door insurance must be provided. Equipment requirements will be discussed on a case by case basis. Early contact is recommended.


For more information, please contact:

Emily Tidey
Hydrographic Surveying Lecturer
Room 112, 310 Castle Street
Tel +64 3 475 7587

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