The Hawaii Mapping Research Group (HMRG) is a research and operational group within University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), that has specialized in seafloor mapping technology development and mapping services for over 25 years.
Our Mission: We are committed to providing state-of-the-art mapping capabilities for acquisition, display, and processing of sidescan and multibeam data in order to provide our customers with the advanced survey capabilities and the highest quality data products.
Towed Sonar Overview: Originally founded in 1985, HMRG’s early projects were focused on development and deployment of SeaMarc II towed sidescan sonars; 28 SMII expeditions were completed between 1986 and 1991. HMRG engineers have also developed and built a number of towed bathymetric sidescan sonars for in-house use and for customers; three systems are currently available for research and/or commercial contracts. These three sonars, the MR1, the IMI30 and the IMI120, share fundamental electronics characteristics, data acquisition computers, and sonar processing software. The different frequencies (12, 30 and 120 kHz) provide a range of capabilities: from mapping broad areas in full ocean depths using a 12-kHz sonar (MR1) that is towed ~100 m below the surface to mapping more restricted areas at much higher resolution using the 120-kHz IMI120 sonar that is towed 50-100 m above the seafloor. The 30-kHz IMI30 provides an intermediate capability with higher resolution than the MR1, but broader coverage than the IMI120. Having three systems with these shared characteristics results in lower costs for each system, and a larger pool of engineers, technicians and scientists familiar with the maintenance, operations, and data processing requirements of this family of sonars. HMRG can provide full support for sea-going operations, but also trains and incorporates customer-provided personnel in data collection and processing. Because sidescan data are not yet routinely archived at national archives, HMRG maintains on-line, tape and CD/DVD backups of MR1, IMI30, and IMI120 data at SOEST.
Multibeam Expertise: HMRG sonar engineers and scientists have also played a vital role in multibeam operations aboard the Kilo Moana since SOEST commissioned the vessel in 2002. Working closely with SOEST’s Ocean Technology Group, HMRG was fully responsible for all multibeam sonar testing, data acquisition, processing, and archiving until 2006, when routine multibeam data collection and archiving responsibilities were transferred to OTG. HMRG personnel continue to provide sonar testing, data collection and processing services on multibeam cruises when required and collaborate with many other groups in data synthesis efforts for SOEST. All multibeam data are housed both at HMRG and OTG and are submitted to national archives.