Project Dashboard

Satellite-Derived Bathymetry for marine shipping corridors (148541)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Dr. Anders Knudby
Company: University of Ottawa
Start Date: 2017-04-05
End Date: 2018-03-31
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
Knowledge of shallow-water bathymetry is crucial for safe and efficient marine shipping and infrastructure development. This is especially true in Nunavut, where most communities are coastal and economic activity, including community resupply and resource development, relies heavily on maritime transportation. Nearshore activity in Nunavut is set to increase, with both increased maritime traffic to and through Nunavut waters, and several major infrastructure developments (e.g. the deep water port in Iqaluit). However, most of Nunavut’s shallow waters remain poorly surveyed, and resources for new surveys are extremely limited within the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS). It is therefore crucial to develop innovative technologies that can be deployed rapidly and at minimal cost to provide bathymetric information for Nunavut’s shallow waters. In ‘optically shallow waters’, where the seafloor is visible from space, bathymetry can be derived from interpretation of ocean colour as shown on satellite imagery, typically with sub-meter accuracy, to a depth determined by water clarity. Nunavut’s naturally clear waters, combined with the increasing availability of free or low-cost satellite imagery, makes it possible to provide estimates of water depth directly on the basis of satellite data acquired during the ice-free period, a process typically known as satellite-derived bathymetry (SDB). The accuracy of the derived bathymetry depends on several factors, including primarily water clarity, seafloor brightness, favourable sun-sensor geometry, and good environmental conditions such as calm seas and weak winds. To assess the large-scale potential for SDB in Nunavut, and thus to improve the knowledge of bathymetry needed for safe marine shipping and infrastructure development in its coastal areas, the proposed research will: 1) Test and evaluate two existing SDB methods for shallow waters surrounding the largest coastal communities in Nunavut. 2) Produce up-to-date maps of water depth for the optically shallow sections of those areas. 3) Identify critical areas where existing nautical charts and satellite-derived bathymetry show significant discrepancy, and where charts accordingly may need updating and navigational aids should be deployed. Field work: To conduct this research, measurements of seafloor reflectance (a necessary input for one of the SDB methods) will be conducted in Frobisher Bay, using SCUBA equipment and a water-proof spectrometer. In addition, measurements of water depth will be taken using a single-beam echo-sounder and a differential GPS mounted to a small boat for the shallowest parts of the bay. Additional water depth data will be acquired for free from the Canadian Hydrographic Service, and supplemented with freely available data from the University of New Brunswick’s Ocean Mapping Group. Lab work: In the computing lab, SDB methods will be used to produce bathymetric maps by combining field data and satellite imagery, and the accuracy of the maps will be tested against reliable acoustic data. Areas with significant differences between water depths derived from SDB and those depicted on navigational charts will be identified and highlighted for chart updating and placement of additional aids to navigation. The expected results include 1) much expanded information on shallow-water bathymetry around the seven largest coastal communities in Nunavut, as well as 2) improved knowledge concerning the applicability of SDB in Nunavut, answering such questions as where and when it is most effective, and what imagery and which techniques produce the best results. This improved knowledge can be used to further expand the use of SDB in Nunavut waters in future work.
Persons: 2
Days: 7
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
2424 polygon Spectral signature site 1
2425 polygon Spectral signature site 2
2426 polygon Bathymetry site
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Marine-Based Activities
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
Small boat 1 10-15 feet Transportation of research divers; small-scale bathymetric survey
SCUBA diving equipment 2 Person-size Diving necessary to measure seafloor spectral reflectance. Measurements done without extraction
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Gasoline 1 12 Gallons Boat transport
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
0 Will bring water from Iqaluit Nunavut Research Institute
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
Minimal environmental impacts predicted. Seafloor spectral reflectance measurements are done SCUBA diving without touching the seafloor. Acoustic bathymetry measurements are done with a small depth sounder, also without coming into contact with the seafloor. The depth sounder is weak enough to have negligible acoustic impact on marine life. No extraction of waste will be generated.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Other 0 None None
Other 0 None None
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2017-04-05
Originator: Anders Knudby
Public Registry ID: 12367
Document Size: 1329.69 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2017-04-11
Originator: Peter Scholz
Public Registry ID: 12408
Document Size: 471.41 Kb