Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Multibeam Echosounder (MBES) Field Equipment

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

 2026 system 1_crop - 300x1702026 system 2_crop_270x2702026 system 3_crop_280x2502026 system 4_crop_300x210

Motion Sensor R2 Sonic Integrated Inertial Navigation System (I2NS)
SVS at head Applanix Micro X
Cabling 3m 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 probe Valeport miniSVP with Bluetooth connection
UPS On-line system for clean power and backup
Top-side Sonic Interface Module (SIM) connects to equipment and laptop
Laptop Getac X500
Software Sonic Control, POSview, QPS suite (QINSy, Qimera, Fledermaus, FMGT, FMMidwater), Valeport Datalog X2

Multibeam Specifications - R2 Sonic

Parameter Specification
Depth 1 – 800m+ depth
Soundings Up to 1024 per swath
Frequency 90kHz – 450kHz operational frequency that can be changed on the fly
Swath width Sector selection from 10° - 160° that can be changed on the fly
Beamwidth Focused 0.45° x 0.45° @ 450kHz, 1° x 1° @ 200kHz, 2° x 2° @ 90/100kHz
Ping rate Up to 60Hz
Pulse length 15µs – 2000µs
Interface Small sonar interface box on topside, connects via network to PC
Power Low power consumption, average 75W
Weight Fully 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

2026_02_Otago_Head unit case and contents_303x227
Head unit case and contents (Click for larger image)

2026_05_Otago_SIM UPS and GNSS case and contents_303x227
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, Beryl Brewin 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

Brewin pole _ET_302x227
MBES mounting on Beryl Brewin


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 2019 are: $250/day in use, $50/day for setup and standby. These 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
Ph +64 3 475 7587