Seafloor Mapping Software:
Processing and Display
of Swath Sonar Data
David W. Caress (1), Dale N. Chayes (2, 3) and Christian dos Santos Ferreira(4)
1. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
2. Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center
of the University of New Hampshire
3. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
of Columbia University
4. MARUM (Zentrum fur Marine Umweltwissenschaften)
(Center for Marine Environmental Sciences)
of Universitat Bremen


Introduction
MB-System is an open source software package for the processing and display of bathymetry and backscatter imagery data derived from multibeam, interferometry, and sidescan sonars. The source code for MB-System is freely available (for free) by anonymous ftp (including "point and click" access through these web pages). A complete description is provided in web pages accessed through links below.

MB-System was originally developed at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University (L-DEO) and is now a collaborative effort between the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and L-DEO. The National Science Foundation has provided the primary support for MB-System development since 1993. The Packard Foundation has provided significant support through MBARI since 1998. Additional support has derived from SeaBeam Instruments (1994-1997), NOAA (2002-2004), and others.


Current Distribution Release Status

Latest Release: 5.5.2284 (23 October 2016)

Last GMT-4 Compatible Release: 5.4.2220 (27 February 2015)


Recent Announcements


Not So Recent Announcements


Caution
MB-System is under active development and is updated periodically. This (usually) results in improved performance and additional capabilities, but often means that the documentation (including these web pages) lag somewhat behind the actual software. Please bear with us and send your comments and suggestions.


Download and Install MB-System
Complete documentation about downloading and installing MB-System is available at:
The MB-System source code distribution and related files, including data samples, are available by anonymous ftp to
Click here to download (by ftp) the most recent MB-System source code release.


Packaged MB-System Distributions

MB-System is included is several package manager systems for Mac and Linux repositories, providing an easy means for installing our software. The biggest advantage of using package managers is that the prerequisite packages are identified and installed automatically. In most cases these packages are not prepared and maintained by MB-System developers, and generally the versions available in external packages lag those available from us through source distributions (particularly in the repositories described as stable). We think that the majority of MB-System users now install the software through one of these package managers.

Poseidon Linux

MB-System is included in Poseidon Linux, the "Scientific GNU/Linux". Poseidon is an Ubuntu Linux based distribution including a selection of open source software packages intended to support scientific research. In particular, it offers several specific tools in the areas of GIS, 3D Visualization, Mathematics, Statistics and several other fields of research.

UbuntuGIS for Ubuntu Linux

MB-System is one of the packages maintained in the UbuntuGIS repository.

Fink for MacOs

MB-System has been packaged for MacOS X as part of the Fink Project. The MB-System Fink package can be found at:

http://pdb.finkproject.org/pdb/package.php/mbsystem

If the fink package manager is installed, then MB-System and its prerequisites can be installed using this command:

fink install mbsystem

HomeBrew for MacOs

MB-System has also been packaged for MacOs X as part of Homebrew. If you have Homebrew installed, then MB-System and its prerequisites can be installed using these two commands:

brew tap homebrew/science
brew install mbsystem

OSGeo-Live Distribution

The OSGeo-Live distribution includes MB-System. OSGeo-Live is a self-contained bootable DVD, USB thumb drive or Virtual Machine based on Lubuntu that includes a wide variety of open source geospatial software.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Christian Ferreira for creating and distributing Poseidon Linux, to Johan Van de Wauw for updating the MB-System package in UbuntuGIS, to Kurt Schwehr for maintaing the Fink MB-System package, to Anthony Lukach, Simon Dreutter, and Andrew Janke for maintaining the Homebrew MB-System package, and to Hamish Bowman for maintaining the OSGeo-Live MB-System package.


Documentation
The complete web page documentation distributed with MB-System can be accessed here:

Current Release:


The MB-System Cookbook tutorial documentation by Val Schmidt, Dale N. Chayes, and David W. Caress is available both as web pages and as a downloadable pdf document:

A document providing guidance for integrating a third-party bathymetry editor with the MB-System processing environment can be accessed here:

Integrating third-party bathymetry editors with MB-System


A document providing guidance for supporting new data formats in MB-System can be accessed here:

Developer's Guide to Writing an MB-System I/O Module

A few swath data format specifications made available to us can be viewed here:

Documents concerning how mapping sonars work can be viewed here:



MB-System User's and Developer's Discussion Lists
We maintain two MB-System email discussion lists to facillitate communication among MB-System users and developers.
The MB-System User's Discussion List is intended for questions about how to use MB-System, for discussions of bugs and other problems, and for suggestions about improving the software. We encourage users with questions and/or problems to use this list rather than emailing the developers directly. One must subscribe to the list in order to post messages, but the message archive is publically viewable and searchable over a web interface. The maximum message size in this list is 100K.

The web interface to the MB-System User's Discussion List is at:

http://listserver.mbari.org/sympa/info/mbsystem

To subscribe to the MB-System User's Discussion List go to:

http://listserver.mbari.org/sympa/subscribe/mbsystem

To read the MB-System User's Discussion List archives go to:

http://listserver.mbari.org/sympa/arc/mbsystem

The MB-System Developer's Discussion List is intended for detailed discussions amongst the active MB-System developers. All are welcome to join the developer's list, but be warned that topics may not be of general interest. One must subscribe to the list in order to post messages, but the message archive is publically viewable and searchable over a web interface. The maximum message size in this list is 100K.

The web interface to the MB-System Developer's Discussion List is at:

http://listserver.mbari.org/sympa/info/mbsystem-dev

To subscribe to the MB-System Developer's Discussion List go to:

http://listserver.mbari.org/sympa/subscribe/mbsystem-dev

To read the MB-System Developer's Discussion List archives go to:

http://listserver.mbari.org/sympa/arc/mbsystem-dev


MB-System Announcement List
We maintain another very low traffic list of email addresses which is used solely for providing notification of major updates. If you would like to be notified when new releases are available, but do not wish to join the discussion list described above, please send an email message to:
with a single line in the body of the message that says:
to be automatically added to the announcement list.


Last Updated: 23 October 2016