Cascade V7.2: a matlab software to process Vessel-Mounted ADCP data

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Guided by the necessity of using high-quality current data for its research projects, the Laboratory of Physical Oceanography developed a software called CASCADE to process and analyse the data provided by the Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers mounted on the hull of the research ships (VMADCP or SADCP). This software has been used for several years in an operationnal context by the SISMER data center.

Following the recent advances in ADCP technology, CASCADE is composed of 2 parts:

  • CASCADE_TRAITEMENT: it is used for old VMADCP (narrow and broad bands) and converts raw binary datafiles from the acquisition RDI software Transec (*r.* et *n.*) into a single NetCDF survey file after incorporating the best navigation data and averaging over a few tens of pings (20 to 50 typically). The resulting data can then be processed further using CASCADE_EXPLOITATION (see below).
     Since very few ADCPs of this type are still operating, and since this part of the software has only be tested on matlab R14-sp3 (7.1.0), CASCADE_TRAITEMENT is not distributed.
  • CASCADE_EXPLOITATION: this part is available below. It can be used easily on *STA or *LTA files generated by the acquisition RDI software VMDAS (in terrestrial coordinates). CASCADE_EXPLOITATION converts the *TA files in a single NetCDF survey file and cleans the data according to adjustable parameters. It is possible to diagnose and correct for a misalignment or a bad amplitude of the ADCP. It also adds useful auxillary variables: the barotropic tide and the bathymetry. Data can then be filtered or averaged along specific sections or stations. Graphic outputs of many kinds are displayed and saved to check the processing and illustrate a report.

This version of CASCADE_EXPLOITATION requires at least Matlab 2008b (7.7.0) since it uses the NetCDF toolbox provided by Matlab. The necessary files are:

Software (843 Ko)

Bathymetry files (329 Mo)

Toolboxes (218Mo)

Documentation (still in French, sorry! 5.8 Mo)

Tide binary files are not provided with the software. They can be downloaded on and using them must be acknowledged by the proper reference. The lastest high resolution database can be downloaded at The downloaded binary files (*tpxo8.0) must be copied in the folder "./exploitation/tide/model". Please edit the texte file "Model_tpxo8.0" to verify the path to the 3 data files (remove "DATA/" is necessary).

To launch the English version of CASCADE, use the following command in matlab : ce('en')

 What is included in the files above but not proper to CASCADE:

m_map 1.4h was downloaded from Note that m_vec.m was corrected for a minor bug.

High resolution coastlines are also included (in m_map1.4/private), and were downloaded from

Bathymetric files must be copied in "./exploitation/bathymetrie", unless otherwise precised in the "Configuration" tab of CASCADE_EXPLOITATION (see the docummentation)

This software was tested on Linux, Windows and Mac. It is made available to the research community for free, but we cannot guarantee that it is free of bugs. For further information, contact: and