The mbio reader allows sonar bathymetry data to be read into PDAL and treated as data collected using LIDAR sources. PDAL uses the MB-System library to read the data and therefore supports all formats supported by that library. Some common sonar systems are NOT supported by MB-System, notably Kongsberg, Reson and Norbit. The mbio reader reads each “beam” of data after averaging and processing by the MB-System software and stores the values for the dimensions ‘X’, ‘Y’, ‘Z’ and ‘Amplitude’. X and Y use longitude and latitude for units and the Z values are in meters (negative, being below the surface). Units for ‘Amplitude’ is not specified and may vary.

Dynamic Plugin

This stage requires a dynamic plugin to operate

Streamable Stage

This stage supports streaming operations


This reads beams from a sonar data file and writes points to a LAS file.

      "type" : "readers.mbio",
      "filename" : "shipdata.m57",
      "format" : "MBF_EM3000RAW"


Filename to read from [Required]
Maximum number of points to read. [Default: unlimited]
Spatial reference to apply to the data. Overrides any SRS in the input itself. Can be specified as a WKT, proj.4 or EPSG string. [Default: none]
Name of number of format of file being read. See MB-System documentation for a list of all formats. [Required]
Type of data to read. Either ‘multibeam’ or ‘sidescan’. [Default: ‘multibeam’]
The maximum number of seconds that can elapse between pings before the end of the data stream is assumed. [Default: 1.0]
The minimum speed that the ship can be moving to before the end of the data stream is assumed. [Default: 0]