What's New in MB-System Version 5
The version 5.1.x releases of MB-System includes a number of changes and
improvements relative to the version 4 releases. The most significant changes
- A new approach to managing data processing.
- Many tools - one output file. In previous versions of MB-System, each
processing program read an input swath data file and produced an output
swath data file. This "serial" processing scheme generally produced
a large number of intermediate data files. MB-System version 5.0 features
the integration of the editing and analysis tools with a single program,
mbprocess, that outputs processed data files. The new "parallel"
processing scheme covers bathymetry data processing, but does not yet incorporate
the sidescan processing capabilities. All of the old tools and capabilities
are still part of the distribution.
- Recursive datalists. The lists of data files used by gridding and plotting
programs can now be recursive, making it simpler to manage data from many
- Automatic format identification. MB-System programs will now attempt
to automatically identify the swath data format based on the filename suffix.
- Extended inf files. Users can generate inf files by directing the output
of mbinfo to a file named by adding an ".inf" suffix to the swath
data file name. Several programs can parse inf files, if they exist, to
quickly obtain data locations or ranges. This feature speeds operations
such as gridding, mosaicing, and automated plotting.
- New command line tools.
- MBprocess. This new tool performs a variety of processing tasks and
produces a single output processed swath data file. The program mbprocess
can apply bathymetry edits from mbedit and mbclean, navigation edits from
mbnavedit, sound velocity profile changes from mbvelocitytool, and a variety
of other corrections.
- MBset. This new tool allows users to create and modify the parameter
files used to control the operation of mbprocess.
- MBdatalist. This new tool allows users to list the files referenced by
a recursive datalist structure. It can also be used to create the ancillary ".inf",
".fbt", and ".fnv" files for all of the data files referenced in a recursive datalist
- MBsvplist. This new tool lists water sound velocity profiles embedded
in swath data files, creating secondary files that
can be read into MBvelocitytool.
- MBareaclean. This new tool identifies and flags artifacts in swath sonar
bathymetry data within a specified area of interest. The
area is divided into a grid with square cells or bins, and the
data are grouped according to these bins. Once all
of data are read, statistical tests are applied
to the soundings within each bin.
- MBotps. This new tool uses the Oregon State Tidal Prediction Software (OTPSnc) package to calculate open ocean tidal models for bathymetry correction.
- MBextractsegy. This new tool extracts subbottom profiler data
from swath files to SEGY format files.
- MBsegyinfo. This new tool extracts SEGY data file information and statistics.
- MBsegylist. This new tool produces arbitrary ascii tables from SEGY data files.
- MBsegygrid. This new tool grids seismic and subbottom data from SEGY data files.
- MBsegypsd. This new tool calculates sonograms from SEGY data files.
- Improved bathymetry and navigation editors.
- MBedit and MBnavedit now swallow data files whole rather than reading
in limited size buffers.
- MBedit now outputs beam edit events rather than an entire swath file.
The edits are applied by MBprocess.
- MBnavedit now outputs the edited navigation rather than an entire swath
file. The edited navigation is merged using MBprocess.
- Both editors show the position of the currently displayed data within
the entire data file.
- MBnavedit has two navigation modeling modes relevant to swath data
collected using poorly navigated ROVs and towfishes. One mode applies a
dead reckoning model with interactively set drifts, and the other involves
inverting for an optimally smooth navigation by penalizing speed and acceleration.
- MBnavadjust. This new tool allows users to adjust poorly navigated
surveys by matching features in overlapping swathes. It is particularly
useful for processing surveys conducted from submerged platforms.
- New Visualization Based Tools
- MBgrdviz is a GMT grid 2D/3D visualization utility. MBgrdviz also allows the display of sonar navigation, sites, and routes, and interactive survey planning.
- MBeditviz is an interactive 3D visualization bathymetry editor and patch test tool.
- Support for Projected Coordinate Systems
- MB-System now incorporates the source code for the
PROJ.4 Cartographic Projections library, providing
support for (apparently) all commonly used geodetic
coordinate systems. PROJ.4 was developed by Gerald
Evenden (then of the USGS), and was obtained from the
- A large number of commonly used projected coordinate
systems (e.g. UTM) are defined in a file
(mbsystem/share/projections.dat) distributed with MB-System.
These include all of the standard UTM zones, all of
the standard state plate coordinate systems, and most
of the European Petroleum Survey Group (EPSG) coordinate
systems (also including UTM).
- MB-System can now handle swath data that is navigated
in a supported projected coordinate system. In particular,
data files that are navigated with UTM eastings
and northings instead of longitude and latitude can
now be plotted and processed with MB-System.
- The programs mbgrid and mbmosaic can now output grids
and mosaics in any of the projected coordinate systems
specified in mbsystem/share/projections.dat.
- The TIFF images generated with mbm_grdtiff and
mbgrdtiff now fully conform to the GeoTIFF standard,
providing that the source grids or mosaics were generated
using mbgrid or mbmosaic in either Geographic
coordinates, UTM coordinates, or any of the EPSG coordinate
systems specified in the projections.dat file.
This means, for instance, that GeoTIFF images generated
with mbgrdtiff will be properly georeferenced
when they are imported into ESRI ArcGIS or other GIS
- Restructuring the code.
- All of the C code now conforms to the ANSI C standard.
- The underlying input/output library (MBIO) has been substantially rewritten.
The structure has been streamlined, simplifying both future development
and support of the existing code. The MBIO API has been greatly modified.
- Handling of old Simrad multibeam data.
- Vendor format data from the old Simrad multibeams (pre-1997 sonars)
are now supported by a single format id (51) rather than a separate format
id for each sonar model. The old format id's are automatically aliased
to 51, so existing shellscripts will continue to work.
- MB-System no longer supports beam flagging in format 51 data. The
use of mbedit and mbclean on format 51 data will cause the flagged
beams to be irrevocably nulled. Previous versions of MB-System used
the highest bit in the depth values to represent beam flags because
no Simrad data seemed to use that bit. We have not obtained data
with depth values using the full bit-range, conflicting with the
old beam flagging scheme. We recommend that old Simrad data be translated
to the extended processing format (57) which contains proper beam
flags and supports all processing functions. Format 57 is also used for processing data from
the current Simrad multibeam sonars.
- Sidescan data from old Simrad multibeams (pre-1997 sonars) are now
handled in the same manner as data from the newer sonars (e.g. EM3000,
EM3000, EM120). The raw samples in the vendor data format are binned, averaged,
and interpolated into a 1024 pixel sidescan swath. This binned sidescan
is not saved in the vendor format, so (as above) it is recommended that the data be
translated to an extended format (57) that stores both bathymetry beam flags
and processed sidescan.
- Streamlining of MB-System Default Parameters.
- Prior to version 5.0, the MB-System defaults
set by mbdefaults included the format id, a control for
ping averaging, longitude and latitude bounds for windowing
by area, and begin and end times for windowing in time. These
values are no longer set in the .mbio_defaults file or controlled
by mbdefaults. As noted above, the format id is automatically
identified from the filename when possible. When filenames do not
match one of the recognized structures, users must specify the
format using the relevant programs -Fformat option.
The controls for ping averaging and windowing in time and space
are rarely used, and must now be explicitly set in command
- New Data Formats
- Furuno HS10 multibeam bathymetry is supported as format 171.
- SeaBeam 2120 multibeam data in the L3 Communications XSE format are
supported as format 94 (already used to support Elac Bottomchart MkII XSE
- Raw STN Atlas multibeam data generated by the upgraded Hydrosweep DS2
multibeam on the R/V Ewing are supported by read-only format 182.
Processing is supported using the augmented read-write format 183.
- The IFREMER netCDF multibeam archiving data format is supported
as format 75. Similarly, the IFREMER netCDF navigation
archiving data format is supported
as format 167.
- The STN Atlas processing data format SURF is supported as format 181. At
present, SURF is supported as a read-only format. This allows plotting and gridding
of the SURF data, but not processing. Writing or translating the SURF data to
allow processing will be supported in a later version.
- The Hawaii Mapping Research Group's MR1 format is supported as
format 64. This format is used to disseminate data from both the
HMRG interferometric sonars (e.g. MR1) and the WHOI DSL 120 deep-towed
inteferometric sonar. This format has been supported by including
the code for the HMRG library libmr1pr in the MB-System library. Thanks
to Roger Davis and HMRG for making the code available under the GPL.
- The Reson 7k format produced by the 7000 series Reson SeaBat multibeams
and the Reson 6046 datalogger is now supported as format 88. This format
can incoporate sidescan sonar and subbottom profiler data as well as the
- Third generation Simrad multibeams (EM122, EM302, EM710) are supported by formats 58 and 59.
- Imagenex and Odom DeltaT multibeams are supported by formats 191 and 192.
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