The 1990s have seen rapid advances in seafloor mapping technology. Multibeam sonars are now capable of mapping a wide range of water depths with beams as narrow as 1??, and provide up to a 150?? swath. When these multibeam sonars are coupled with an extremely accurate vehicle motion sensor and very precise navigation, they are capable of producing unprecedented images of the seafloor. This technology was used in December 1997 to map the East and West Flower Gardens and Stetson Banks, Gulf of Mexico. The results from this survey provide the most accurate maps of these areas yet produced and reveal features at submeter resolution never mapped in these areas before. The digital data provide a database that should become the fundamental base maps for all subsequent work in this recently established National Marine Sanctuary.
Additional publication details
High-resolution multibeam bathymetry of East and West Flower Gardens and Stetson Banks, Gulf of Mexico