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High Resolution Multibeam Survey and Mobile Laser Scanning – Comprehensive Information for Coastal Infrastructure Management and Planning

Jani Pötrönen M.Sc.

The use of professional divers is the most common method used in the inspection of underwater structures nowadays. However, comprehensive dive inspections are very time consuming and the results may consist of not much more than drawings, fuzzy photographs, and written text. In many locations poor visibility and certain environmental conditions can substantially lower the scope of such inspection or even make it impossible.

Multibeam survey is the most economic and effective way to get an extensive underwater view of coastal structures. By tilting the multibeam sonar head sideways, underwater 3D data can be collected from the bottom up to the water surface level. This introduces new possibilities to inspect harbour structures and other underwater civil engineering targets more comprehensively.


Laser scanning is a state of the art method to collect a 3D point cloud of a certain area of interest in extremely high detail level. When mobile laser scanning is carried out simultaneously with the multibeam survey from a modern hydrographic survey vessel, this makes it a highly cost effective way of working.


Multibeam survey and mobile laser scanning provide us a tool to obtain a comprehensive view of a location on a larger scale, and to recognize potential targets for further inspection. These specific targets can then be inspected more closely for example by professional divers. Alternatively, scanning sonar technology offers the most accurate method to inspect underwater structures locally without the need to worry about visibility.


For a professional inspection of coastal infrastructure the most effective solution is a combination of simultaneous multibeam survey and mobile laser scanning combined with focused scanning sonar inspection.