BackscatterC [SWATH]--Offshore Pigeon Point, California

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Frequently anticipated questions:

What does this data set describe?

Title: BackscatterC [SWATH]--Offshore Pigeon Point, California
This part of DS 781 presents data for the acoustic-backscatter map of Offshore of Pigeon Point map area, California. Backscatter data are provided as three separate grids depending on mapping system. This metadata file refers to the data included in "," which is accessible from These data accompany the pamphlet and map sheets of Cochrane, G.R., Watt, J.T., Dartnell, P., Greene, H.G., Erdey, M.D., Dieter, B.E., Golden, N.E., Johnson, S.Y., Endris, C.A., Hartwell, S.R., Kvitek, R.G., Davenport, C.W., Krigsman, L.M., Ritchie, A.C., Sliter, R.W., Finlayson, D.P., and Maier, K.L. (G.R. Cochrane and S.A. Cochran, eds.), 2015, California State Waters Map Series—Offshore of Pigeon Point, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1232, pamphlet 40 p., 10 sheets, scale 1:24,000,
The acoustic-backscatter map of the Offshore of Pigeon Point, California was generated from backscatter data collected by California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), by Fugro Pelagos, and by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Mapping was completed between 2006 and 2009, using a combination of 400-kHz Reson 7125 and 244-kHz Reson 8101 multibeam echosounders, as well as a 234-kHz SWATHplus bathymetric sidescan-sonar system. Within the final imagery, brighter tones indicate higher backscatter intensity, and darker tones indicate lower backscatter intensity. The intensity represents a complex interaction between the acoustic pulse and the seafloor, as well as characteristics within the shallow subsurface, providing a general indication of seafloor texture and composition. Backscatter intensity depends on the acoustic source level; the frequency used to image the seafloor; the grazing angle; the composition and character of the seafloor, including grain size, water content, bulk density, and seafloor roughness; and some biological cover. Harder and rougher bottom types such as rocky outcrops or coarse sediment typically return stronger intensities (high backscatter, lighter tones), whereas softer bottom types such as fine sediment return weaker intensities (low backscatter, darker tones).
Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Although this Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata file is intended to document the data set in nonproprietary form, as well as in Esri format, this metadata file may include some Esri-specific terminology.
  1. How might this data set be cited?
    Bretz, Carrie K., Kvitek, Rikk G., Dartnell, Peter, and Erdey, Mercedes D., 2015, BackscatterC [SWATH]--Offshore Pigeon Point, California: Data Series DS 781, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

    This is part of the following larger work.

    Golden, Nadine E., 2013, California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog: Data Series DS 781, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?
    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -122.39
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -122.19
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 37.10
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 36.94
  3. What does it look like? (JPEG)
    Acoustic backscatter imagery of offshore Pigeon Point.
  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?
    Beginning_Date: 2006
    Ending_Date: 2009
    ground condition
  5. What is the general form of this data set?
    Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: GeoTiff
  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?
    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?
      This is a Raster data set. It contains the following raster data types:
      • Dimensions 8890 x 8920 x 1, type Grid Cell
    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?
      Grid_Coordinate_System_Name: Universal Transverse Mercator
      UTM_Zone_Number: 10
      Scale_Factor_at_Central_Meridian: 0.9996
      Longitude_of_Central_Meridian: -123.00000
      Latitude_of_Projection_Origin: 0.00000
      False_Easting: 500000.0
      False_Northing: 0.00
      Planar coordinates are encoded using coordinate pair
      Abscissae (x-coordinates) are specified to the nearest 2.0
      Ordinates (y-coordinates) are specified to the nearest 2.0
      Planar coordinates are specified in Meters
      The horizontal datum used is WGS84.
      The ellipsoid used is WGS84.
      The semi-major axis of the ellipsoid used is 6378137.00.
      The flattening of the ellipsoid used is 1/298.257223563.
  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?
    BackscatterC [Swath] intensity value (Source: ESRI)
    Backscatter intensity values (Source: ESRI)
    Range of values
    Units:Integers representing intensity values
    The SWATHPlus acoustic-backscatter grid was originally archived as an ESRI grid with the following attributes:
    Cell size = 2.0
    Number of rows = 8890
    Number of columns = 8920
    Data type = floating point
    Xmin = 545580
    Xmax = 563420
    Ymin = 4103330
    Ymax = 4121110
    Minimum value = 9.88
    Maximum value = 65535
    Mean = 41000.46
    Standard deviation = 14135.95
    Coordinate system description
    Projection  UTM
    Zone  10
    Datum  WGS84
    Units  meter
    Entity_and_Attribute_Detail_Citation: none

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)
    • Carrie K. Bretz
    • Rikk G. Kvitek
    • Peter Dartnell
    • Mercedes D. Erdey
  2. Who also contributed to the data set?
  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?
    U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
    Attn: PCMSC Science Data Coordinator
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-427-4747 (voice)

Why was the data set created?

These data are intended for science researchers, students, policy makers, and the general public. These data can be used with geographic information systems or other software to identify seafloor features.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?
  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?
    Date: 2014 (process 1 of 6)
    During the USGS mapping mission, GPS data with real-time-kinematic corrections were combined with measurements of vessel motion (heave, pitch, and roll) in a CodaOctopus F180 attitude-and-position system to produce a high-precision vessel-attitude packet. This packet was transmitted to the acquisition software in real time and combined with instantaneous sound-velocity measurements at the transducer head before each ping. The returned samples were projected to the seafloor using a ray-tracing algorithm that works with previously measured sound-velocity profiles. Statistical filters were applied to discriminate seafloor returns (soundings and backscatter intensity) from unintended targets in the water column. Finally, the soundings were converted into 2-m-resolution bathymetric-surface-model grids. The backscatter data were postprocessed using USGS software (D.P. Finlayson, written commun., 2011) that normalizes for time-varying signal loss and beam-directivity differences. Thus, the raw 16-bit backscatter data were gain-normalized to enhance the backscatter of the SWATHplus system. The resulting normalized-amplitude values were rescaled to 16-bit and gridded into GeoJPEGs using GRID Processor Software, then imported into a geographic information system (GIS) and converted to GRIDs. Person who carried out this activity:
    Pete Dartnell
    U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
    Physical Scientist
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    (831) 460-7415 (voice)
    Date: 05-Oct-2017 (process 2 of 6)
    Keywords section of metadata optimized for discovery in USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Data Catalog. Person who carried out this activity:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: Alan O. Allwardt
    Contractor -- Information Specialist
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-460-7551 (voice)
    831-427-4748 (FAX)
    Date: 26-Apr-2018 (process 3 of 6)
    Added keywords from Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) to metadata. Person who carried out this activity:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: Alan O. Allwardt
    Contractor -- Information Specialist
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-460-7551 (voice)
    831-427-4748 (FAX)
    Date: 22-Jun-2018 (process 4 of 6)
    Corrected author spelling in Larger Work section Person who carried out this activity:
    Susan A Cochran
    U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    (831) 460-7545 (voice)
    Date: 19-Oct-2020 (process 5 of 6)
    Edited metadata to add keywords section with USGS persistent identifier as theme keyword. No data were changed. Person who carried out this activity:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: VeeAnn A. Cross
    Marine Geologist
    384 Woods Hole Road
    Woods Hole, MA

    508-548-8700 x2251 (voice)
    508-457-2310 (FAX)
    Date: 01-Nov-2021 (process 6 of 6)
    Edits were made to bring the metadata up to current PCMSC standards including standardizing authors' names, adding a doi# link, correcting typos, refining keywords, and using current access and distribution liability statements. Point of Contact and Metadata Contact information sections were changed to static PCMSC contact information. No data were changed. The metadata available from a harvester may supersede metadata bundled within a download file. Users are advised to compare the metadata date of this file to any similar file to ensure they are using the most recent version. Person who carried out this activity:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: Susan A. Cochran
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-460-7545 (voice)
  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?
    Cochrane, Guy R., Watt, Janet T., Dartnell, Peter, Greene, H. Gary, Erdey, Mercedes D., Dieter, Bryan E., Golden, Nadine E., Johnson, Samuel Y., Endris, Charles A., Hartwell, Stephen R., Kvitek, Rikk G., Davenport, Clifton W., Krigsman, Lisa M., Ritchie, Andrew C., Sliter, Ray W., Finlayson, David P., and Maier, Katherine L., 2015, California State Waters Map Series--Offshore of Pigeon Point, California: Open-File Report 2015-1232, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?
    Not applicable for raster data.
  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?
    Estimated to be no less than 2 m, owing to water depth and total propagated uncertainties of the mapping systems, which include sonar system, position and motion compensation system, and navigation, as well as data processing that includes sounding cleaning, gridding, and datum transformations.
  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?
    Not applicable to acoustic-backscatter imagery.
  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?
  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?
Access_Constraints: None
USGS-authored or produced data and information are in the public domain from the U.S. Government and are freely redistributable with proper metadata and source attribution. Please recognize and acknowledge the U.S. Geological Survey and California State University Monterey Bay as the originator(s) of the dataset and in products derived from these data.
  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)
    U.S. Geological Survey
    345 Middlefield Rd
    Menlo Park, CA

    (650) 329-4309 (voice)
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set? The .zip file ( includes the .tfw, .tif, .tif.aux.xml, and .tif.ovr files, as well as FGDC-compliant metadata for the BackscatterC [SWATH] data layer in the Offshore Pigeon Point region of California.
  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?
    Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty.
  4. How can I download or order the data?
  5. What hardware or software do I need in order to use the data set?
    The downloadable data file has been compressed with the "zip" command and can be unzipped with Winzip (or other tool) on Windows systems. To utilize these data, the user must have software capable of uncompressing the WinZip file and importing and viewing an Esri ArcMap TIFF. Users should download the ArcGIS Project File,, a compressed (with the "zip" command) version of the ArcMap document (.mxd) that has all the data layers loaded in the table of contents for "Offshore Pigeon Point" and has all the data symbolized as on the data release map sheets. Download and save this ArcGIS project file, including all data layers, to the directory the user has created for this GIS.

Who wrote the metadata?

Last modified: 01-Nov-2021
Metadata author:
U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Attn: PCMSC Science Data Coordinator
2885 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, CA

831-427-4747 (voice)
Metadata standard:
Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

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