Digital processing of sidescan images from bottom backscatter data collected by sea beam

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This paper describes a technique for obtaining high-resolution bathymetry and sonar images from the same survey, from backscatter measurements obtained from a “conventional”; Sea Beam multi-narrow-beam sonar system equipped with special data acquisition hardware. Using the explicit bathymetric information across the track of the ship for every scan in such an operation, sidescan images corrected for the topography are generated. Application of digital image processing techniques further allow enhancement of image quality and production of image mosaics in Mercator projection similar to bathymetric charts, enabling scientists to make proper identification and interpretation of features. Sidescan mosaics for two survey areas are found promising, revealing details not identifiable in bathymetric charts. The images are constrained by the lesser angular coverage of the system and by reduced resolution compared to conventional sidescan sonars, but still indicate the opportunity of obtaining topographic and textural information from a single cruise. Quantitative backscattering coefficients can also be obtained from the shading correction coefficients applied to the images. © 1990 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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Marine Geodesy