San Francisco to Hawaii Multibeam Mapping

The Saildrone Surveyor completed a groundbreaking 2,250-nautical mile multibeam mapping mission from San Francisco to Honolulu.

Year

2021

operation area

Pacific Ocean

deployment location

San Francisco, CA

purpose

Measuring 72 feet long and weighing 14 tons, the Saildrone Surveyor carries a sophisticated array of acoustic instruments, similar to that of manned survey ships. After several successful mapping missions off the coast of California demonstrating mapping capabilities that meet or exceed International Hydrographic Organization standards, the Surveyor was deployed for its first ocean crossing to further test its systems and capabilities. 

The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project funded the collection of new seafloor mapping data during the Hawaii mission. Seabed 2030 aims to map the global ocean floor in high resolution by 2030.

results

The North Pacific between San Francisco and Hawaii is an area of ocean known to have extensive seamounts and fracture zones. During the 28-day voyage to Hawaii, the Saildrone Surveyor sailed 2,250 nautical miles and mapped 6,400 square nautical miles of seafloor. The Surveyor sailed along a never-before-mapped route, revealing previously unknown details about the Pacific Ocean seafloor, which will make the area safer for maritime activity.

After additional mapping around Oahu, the vehicle returned to San Francisco, mapping another large swath of North Pacific seafloor.

“The data quality from the surveyor is of very high quality, and as good as anything we have seen from a ship. Due to the wind-powered nature of the vehicle, it is very quiet, and this enables the very accurate acoustic measurements needed to map to these depths.”

Larry Mayer, director for the UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM)

notable

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