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Research Vessel RV Geo

RV Geo surveying near Killary Harbour in August 2012.


The RV Geo, owned and operated by the Geological Survey of Ireland, is a 7.4m Redbay Stormfoce RIB which has been configured for very shallow water survey operations as part of the INFOMAR program, a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute (MI).

In 2012, the RV Geo was re-fitted with a cabin extension and a generator to increase her survey capability. The vessel is equipped with an aluminium frame attached above the bow, which is manually lowered into the water as a means to deploy the transducers – these are the parts of the mapping equipment that produce the signal used to detect the seafloor.

Figures (L to R): RV Geo in Killary Harbour, with cabin extension visible and the transducers deployed in the water (the aluminium frame has been lowered manually by the crew) ; RV Geo with transducers positioned out of the water – the point where the frame presses against the hull when the assembly is lowered into the water was made more robust, and fenders were attached either side of the frame to protect it; RV Geo’s new generator situated in the engine bay. The generator powers the survey equipment and so the vessel’s mapping operations are no longer reliant on batteries.

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RV Geo
Call Sign:
RIB_EIDK6 (Echo India Delta Kilo Six)
MMSI Number:
Marine Survey Office P6 License for 3 passengers
Max passenger and crew:

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Technical Specifications

Builder Redbay
Model Stormforce RIB
Year 2007
Construction Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP)
Length (m) 7.4
Beam (m) 2.77
Draft (m) 1.3
Air Draft (m) 2.7 gear up; 2.1 gear down
Main Engines Yamaha 250 HP
Auxillary 6 HP Yamaha outboard
Generator 1 Panda 8.0 kVa
Generator 2 n/a
Shorepower No
Top Speed 35 knots
Cruising Speed 20 knots
Slow Speed 2 knots
Davit Stainless Steel
Knuckle crane none
Anchor Winch none
Anchors 1 x Grapnel
Dive ladder Yes

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Permanent Vessel Systems

The RV Geo is equipped with a Raysmarine depth plotter and GPS chart plotter. It operates a dual watch DSC VHF radio with a backup VHF radio handset.

AIS Class B
Radio Icom M421 DSC VHF
Handheld VHF ICOM model
Chartplotter Raymarine C80
Echsounder Raymarine DS600X Colour Depth Sounder
GPS Raymarine C80 GPS Chartplotter and Receiver

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Survey Systems

The vessel is equipped for this purpose with a SEA (Systems Engineering and Assessment LTD) interferometric SWATH system used for acquiring Bathymetric and Sidescan Sonar SSS data in the near-shore environment.

Attitude, positioning and timing information is provided to the system through the Applanix POS-MV installed on the vessel. The Interferometer mapping system is designed for shallow water and can provide a large swath width depending on the depth. Sound velocity information is provided using an AML real-time smart probe and a Castaway CTD probe.

System Type Comment
Reson Seabat T20-P 200 - 400 kHz
Positioning system POS-MV INS Wavemaster V4 With PosPac GNSS software
Geodetic Control Leica GS10 Shore based logging (PPK)
Sound Velocity Probe AML SV ‘smart probe’ R/T Mounted with SEA Transducers
Sound Velocity Sensor Castaway CTD Water column information



The above diagram illustrates the IT set-up onboard the R.V Geo. At the heart of this set-up is the Applanix POS-MV system which provides position, heave, pitch, roll and heading information to the various survey apparatus. Once the vessel’s POS-MV nav. files are post processed with RINEX data from onshore GNSS base stations, the horizontal accuracy is improved to the order of +/-5cm with similar values in the vertical plane. This allows for the calculation of GPS tide heights with the vessel itself essentially acting as a tide gauge. Note that this configuration shows the set-up connected to batteries – R.V. Geo is now equipped with a generator that powers the survey equipment.

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 The R/V Geo uses an Applanix POS-MV system to provide pitch, heave, roll, timing, positioning and heading information to the survey equipment and software. The POS-MV topside unit is connected to an IMU (inertial motion reference unit) mounted on the bow of the vessel and to a pair of GNSS antennae all of which, when combined provide accurate attitude, heading and positioning readings to both the SWATH Splash unit (data acquisition) and to the QPS QINSy (navigation) software. A 1 PPS (pulse per second) time-sync signal is provided to the Splash unit directly from the POS-MV topside unit.

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SEA SWATHplus Splash Unit

Interferometric data (Bathy and Sidescan) is collected using the dual head SEA Swath system mounted on R/V Geo. This arrangement allows a swath coverage of up to 10 times water depth in shallow (<5m) water depths making for efficient surveys in the nearshore environment. The SWATH transducer heads (Tx/Rx) are connected directly to the Splash Unit via 2 USB TEMs (transducer electronics modules) within the unit. Also connected to the Splash unit is the AML Real Time Sound Velocity probe via serial cable and a 1 PPS signal comes over a BNC co-axial cable from the POS-MV. Attitude (PHR) position and heading are sent from the POSview software on the POS laptop directly to the Swath Unit via an Ethernet cable.

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Surveyor’s Laptop

The surveyor’s laptop is used for a variety of functions. Its primary function is to provide a navigation display to the surveyor via QINSy and to output attitude, position and heading data to the SWATH splash unit. A separate display in front of the skipper is connected to this laptop over a network cable and displays the same QINSy screen for line steering purposes. POS-MV data is logged to a separate POS laptop for post processing. The surveyor’s laptop is also used to communicate with the CTD sensor in order to download SVP casts. In addition to this functionality the surveyor’s laptop is also used to input Survey metadata into INFOMAR’s Multilog programme.

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Valeport SVP-T Sensor

The R/V Geo uses a Castaway CTD probe to provide water column data for use in post processing. The probe is configured using the YSI Castaway software on the surveyor’s laptop. Once set correctly, the probe is deployed manually over the vessel’s side.

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Drone footage of the RV Geo

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Vessels | Acquisition | Tides | Referencing | Sound Velocity | Ground Truthing | Survey Progress

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