British Engineering and Scientific Consultancy Firm, BMT, is using Satellite Derived Bathymetry from TCarta as a critical dataset in the selection of new fish farming sites in the Arabian Gulf. BMT is performing the site selection work on behalf of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).

“Aquaculture development is emerging as a major market for highly accurate bathymetric data products,” says David Critchley, CEO of TCarta, a global provider of marine and terrestrial geospatial solutions based in Bristol, UK.

As a primary input for the modeling phase of the project, BMT obtained 5-meter resolution Satellite Derived Bathymetry (SDB) products from TCarta for the waters around Delma. BMT also used TCarta Marine Habitat Maps, which differentiate the surface compositions of the seafloor around the island in waters to approximately 10-meters deep. TCarta created the Satellite Derived Bathymetry and Marine Habitat Map products for EAD during a 2015 environmental mapping project conducted by Abu Dhabi.

Principal Marine Ecologist, Dr. Glenn Shiell, explains, “The SDB product has proven a high quality, cost effective data set. A key benefit was the immediate availability of the data, which enabled us to commence building our model almost immediately – thus avoiding delays associated with planning and executing aerial or vessel assisted surveys.” 

BMT used the TCarta data sets in its hydrographic modeling software to select ideal fish farming sites based on two key criteria. First, the chosen offshore locations must fall within certain maximum and minimum water depth thresholds to accommodate the large fish cages. And secondly, the cages must be placed in areas such as natural subsurface channels where water currents will continuously flush waste from the enclosures and keep the growing fish healthy.

The TCarta products provide the information required for BMT to perform these assessments accurately and quickly.

TCarta commercialized the proprietary process to extract accurate seafloor depth measurements, as well as seabed surface classifications, from high-resolution satellite imagery. In the technique, 8-band multispectral imagery from the DigitalGlobe WorldView satellites is processed to derive the subsurface information. The resulting bathymetric data has an accuracy of 2-meters to a depth of 20-meters.