Recommended Operating Guidelines

Most of the techniques used by habitat mappers were designed for other survey disciplines, and have well established standard operating procedures (SOPs) to provide quality data for their intended purpose.  MESH at its outset undertook a Review of Standards and Protocols for Habitat Mapping (Coggan et al., 2007) (available in the Products Library as MESH Standards & Protocols) with the aim of reviewing all this existing material to assess its suitability for use in a seabed habitat mapping context. It became apparent that organisations were using the same equipment in slightly different ways, often because a user has a slightly different application for a technique from its originally intended purpose.  To try and achieve some standardisation in the use of survey equipment, the MESH Project has drafted a series of Recommended Operating Guidelines (ROG) to describe how best to use each technique in a marine habitat mapping context.  Where applicable, standard operating procedures, ISO-standards or similar are well known and recognised, references and links are made.  The ROG's cover four main areas:

  • Guidelines for mapping intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats by remote and on-site surveys, showing how to collect, manage and verify data.


  • Standards and protocols for the use and ground-truthing of remote sensing imagery, both satellite and aerial (e.g. Spot, Casi and Lidar).


  • Guidelines for mapping deeper sub-tidal habitats (e.g. 20 – 200 m depths) by remote and on-site surveys, showing how to collect, manage and verify data.


  • Standards and protocols for the use and ground-truthing of acoustic techniques (e.g. side-scan sonar, multibeam sonar, Acoustic Ground Discrimination Systems and their associated ground-truthing methods (e.g.underwater video, and sediment sampling).


The currently available ROGs are listed for download in the following table.


Recommended Operating Guidelines
ROG Title Size Type
3D seismic derived seabed imagery 330KB PDF
Recommended operating guidelines for aerial photography 629KB PDF
Recommended operating guidelines for airborne digital imagery 617KB PDF
Box Coring ROG 896KB PDF
Recommended operating guidelines for LiDAR surveys 2 MB PDF
Recommended operating guidance for high resolution satellite imagery* 7 MB PDF
MESH Sediment Profile Imagery ROG* 8 MB PDF
Sidescan ROG 702KB PDF
Recommended operating procedures for single beam echosounder surveying 1 MB PDF
Sub Bottom Profiler (Chirp) Recommended Operating Guidelines 5 MB PDF
MESH Trawls & Dredges ROG* 22 MB PDF
Underwater video & photographic imaging techniques ROG 2 MB PDF


* WARNING - these are very large files and may take some time to download.

All material variously copyrighted by MESH project partners 2004-2010
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