MB-System Seafloor Mapping Software

Processing and Display of Swath Sonar Data


David W. Caress,  Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Dale N. Chayes, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center University of New Hampshire & Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

Christian dos Santos Ferreira, MARUM Center of Marine Environmental Science of Universitat Bremen


MB-System is an open source software package for the processing and display of bathymetry and backscatter imagery data derived from multibeam, interferometry, and sidescan sonars. MB-System is freely available for download (for free) in packaged distributions for Linux and OS-X, and by anonymous ftp. Complete documentation, tutorials, and FAQ are provided in this website. The MB-System discussion email lists allows users to engage with MB-System developers and other users from around the world.

MB-System was originally developed at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University (L-DEO) and is now a collaborative effort between the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) University of New Hampshire and MARUM. The National Science Foundation has supported MB-System development since 1993. The Packard Foundation has provided the primary support for MB-System through MBARI since 1998.

Current Distribution Release Status

Latest Release: 5.7.8 (17 January 2021)

Last GMT-4 Compatible Release: 5.4.2220 (27 February 2015)

MB-System is under active development and is updated periodically. This (usually) results in improved performance and additional capabilities, but often means that the documentation (including web pages) lag somewhat behind the actual software. Please bear with us and email your comments and suggestions to the MB-System user’s discussion list.


Data repository
Data policy
Deep-Sea Guide
What is happening in Monterey Bay today?
Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System
Chemical data
Ocean float data
Slough data
Mooring ISUS measurements
Southern Ocean Data
Mooring data
M1 Mooring Summary Data
M1 Asimet
M1 download Info
M1 EMeter
Molecular and genomics data
ESP Web Portal
Seafloor mapping
Soundscape Listening Room
Upper ocean data
Spatial Temporal Oceanographic Query System (STOQS) Data
Image gallery
Video library
Creature feature
Deep-sea wallpapers
Previous seminars
David Packard Distinguished Lecturers
Research software
Video Annotation and Reference System
System overview
Data Use Policy
Video Tape User Guide
Video File User Guide
Annotation Glossary
Query Interface
Basic User Guide
Advanced User Guide
Query Glossary
VARS publications
VARS datasets used in publications
Oceanographic Decision Support System
MB-System seafloor mapping software
How to download and install MB-System
MB-System Documentation
MB-System Announcements
MB-System Announcements (Archive)
MB-System FAQ
MB-System Discussion Lists
MB-System YouTube Tutorials
Matlab scripts: Linear regressions
Introduction to Model I and Model II linear regressions
A brief history of Model II regression analysis
Index of downloadable files
Summary of modifications
Regression rules of thumb
Results for Model I and Model II regressions
Graphs of the Model I and Model II regressions
Which regression: Model I or Model II?
Matlab scripts: Oceanographic calculations
Matlab scripts: Sound velocity
Visual Basic for Excel: Oceanographic calculations
Educational resources
Navigating STEM careers
MBARI Summer Internship Program
2017 Summer Interns Blog
Education and Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH)
EARTH workshops
2016—New Brunswick, NJ
2015—Newport, Oregon
2016 Satellite workshop—Pensacola, FL
2016 Satellite workshop—Beaufort, NC
EARTH resources
EARTH lesson plans
Lesson plans—published
Lesson plans—development
Lesson drafts—2015
Lesson drafts—2016 Pensacola
Adopt-A-Float Program
Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) Science Kits
Science at home: Curriculum and resources
Sample archive
SciComm Resources


MB-System Core Group:

David W. Caress

Software Engineer

Dale Chayes

Affiliate Professor

Christian d. S. Ferreira

Seafloor Imaging Specialist

Documentation Support:

Jennifer Paduan
Jennifer Paduan

Senior Research Specialist