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Subsonus USBL helps Geosurvey Mexicana access new markets

By Last edited June 3rd, 2024No Comments
Case Study | Geosurvey Mexicana

Key Points

  • The accuracy and performance of Subsonus USBL acoustic positioning were found to be as good as, or better than, a considerably more expensive USBL system.
  • Working with the engineering support team at Advanced Navigation, bespoke firmware was provided to Geosurvey Mexicana to meet their specific requirements.
Geosurvey Mexicana

Geosurvey Mexicana, Mexico

Geosurvey Mexicana specialises in Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS) services for the energy and resources industry. The company has a broad range of expertise, including marine survey and underwater research in both private and public sector markets.

Geosurvey Mexicana contacted Advanced Navigation to provide an accurate and cost-effective navigation solution that would enable them to competitively access new markets.

The challenge: Sourcing USBL acoustic positioning to bring new opportunities

Geosurvey Mexicana lacked a suitable system to provide the necessary USBL acoustic positioning and orientation accuracy for embedding suction piles to the seabed. The piles are used as foundations and moorings for marine-based energy infrastructure, so need precise placement. Not being properly equipped prevented the company from being able to bid on some tenders where they would otherwise be competitive. As a result, Geosurvey Mexicana needed to find a USBL device capable of providing position and heading.

Talking about competing products, Alberto Antonio Duarte, Project Manager at Geosurvey Mexicana said “these systems were very expensive, and since the orientation of suction piles was just a small part of the global contracts, buying one of those wasn’t financially viable’’.

The company required an underwater navigation system that would meet the required performance and accuracy specifications and offer a good return on investment.

‘’Looking for options, we found the Advanced Navigation Subsonus USBL provides all the benefits of competitor products but at a fraction of the cost and size’’ said Duarte.

The solution: Subsonus USBL meets all criteria and then some

The Subsonus USBL underwater acoustic positioning system was selected, based on performance, price, size, and simplicity of implementation. Note that a product is often a component of an overall solution and the Geosurvey Mexicana’s team was similarly impressed with Advanced Navigation’s engineering support.

“At the time of preparation for the trial, we experienced Advanced Navigation’s client support, which was great. We even received a bespoke firmware to meet our requirements”


Geosurvey Mexicana in action

The result: USBL acoustic position that exceeded expectation

The team at Geosurvey Mexicana tested the Subsonus against an existing USBL to make sure that the solution was accurate and reliable.

Looking for options we found the Advanced Navigation Subsonus USBL which provides all the benefits from the well-known products but at a fraction of the cost and size

Alberto Antonio DuarteProject Manage, Geosurvey Mexicana

“The procedure to compare with our existing USBL was to log the position of a beacon for 30 minutes to obtain a standard deviation accuracy on X,Y, Z. The exercise was carried out on a survey boat at a water depth of 15 metres, and at three different positions, 10, 20 and 40 metres from the beacon positioned at the seabed. Our existing USBL behaved according to specifications at the first position at 10 metres from the survey boat, but as expected, the standard deviation almost doubled when the boat was taken 20 metres away from the beacon. It doubled again when the boat was 40 metres from the beacon.

We carried out the same test with Subsonus. At 10 metres the standard deviation was similar to our USBL, but at 20 metres and 40 metres, the Subsonus deviation did not increase much. In fact, it remained basically the same, which was very surprising.”.


Subsonus is a next-generation USBL underwater acoustic positioning system that provides high accuracy position, velocity, and heading at depths of up to 1000 metres. The system features an industry-leading calibrated hydrophone array combined with an internal tightly coupled INS, all packed into a miniature titanium enclosure small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.