Marine Scotland Science (MSS) has undertaken seabed surveys in areas of potential for renewables development. In 2008 and 2009, MSS undertook bathymetric surveys in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters on board the MRV Scotia to provide information of value to potential wave and tidal energy developers. In 2010 MSS completed similar survey work off the west coast of Lewis, an area of interest for wave energy development.
Marine Scotland uses a multibeam echosounder, which firstly enables determination of the bathymetry (the depth and shape of the seabed) and secondly enables discrimination of the nature of the substrate, whether it is rock or soft sediment for example. This acoustic discrimination of the substrate is ground-truthed using the videos and photographs we collect using a drop frame camera and from this we can determine habitat type.
Marine Scotland Interactive now holds this information in the form of seabed maps, video clips and photographs. Full accessibility of these datasets is enabled through the use of freely available software to assist in the release of large data sets in viewer-friendly formats.