Satellite-derived bathymetry: a case study of Mombasa Port Channel and its approaches, Kenya

Amon Kimeli*, Pascal Thoya, Noah Ngisiang'e, Harrison Ong'anda, Charles Magori

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bathymetry refers to the depth of the water column in relation to sea level. It is fundamental in marine spatial plan- ning, resource exploration and sustainable management of marine resources. It is also vital for safety of navigation, and planning of coast-based infrastructural developments. However, acquisition of bathymetry data is very expen- sive due to the cost of equipment, expertise and technology needed to collect data and produce maps. Satellite-de- rived bathymetry (SDB) therefore offers an opportunity to generate shallow water bathymetry at extremely reduced costs, mainly due to freely-available multispectral satellite imagery and open-source processing software. This paper presents the application of an already developed and published shallow-water bathymetry derivation model and protocols. The results indicate that the technique could be effective for mapping shallow water bathymetry, with higher accuracy in low to non-turbid waters. The SDB of Mombasa Port was identical to the official charted depths upon comparison, with a R2 value of ~90% and a RMSE of 1.61 m. SDB maps can be categorized as medium resolu- tion due to their relatively low spatial resolution. SDB cannot be used as a stand-alone hydrographic tool but it rather offers a viable reconnaissance solution for mapping shallow coastal waters where hydrographic data gaps exist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalWestern Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • bathymetry
  • remote sensing
  • satellite imagery
  • Landsat 8
  • models

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