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The Progression of Multi-Dimensional Water Column Analysis in a Processing Environment

Corey M. Collins, P.Eng.

 

With the ever-increasing availability of CPU processing power and data

storage, multibeam sonar systems used for shallow water surveys are

now capable of collecting full water column imagery data.  This

imagery is being used by post processing software as a way to

supplement bottom detection results, often for the purpose of

detecting the shoalest parts of sunken ships.

 

This paper will describe how water column imagery can be interrogated

as part of an integrated bathymetric processing workflow. It will

highlight tools and techniques that can be used in conjunction with

standard swath analysis for the purposes of least depth detection.

Perhaps more interestingly it will also describe how water column

imagery can be represented in a 3D environment using the latest point

cloud processing and visualization techniques.  By representing water

column imagery as a point cloud it becomes much easier to determine,

shape, extent and volume of features in the water column.

 

Further to the reading and display of the water column data, this

paper will describe the ability to interrogate water column data in an

effort to add it as a supplement to the tradition bathymetric data.

As with the bathymetry, it will be shown that the water column data

can also be processed in a way to take full advantage of techniques

such as sonar specific ray tracing as well as the utilization of

post-processed auxiliary data.  The ability to incorporate

post-processed data such as TrueHeave or SBET information from POSPac

as well as the ability to compute total propagated uncertainty using

real-time uncertainties allows the water column data to be fully and

robustly integrated into existing bathymetric processing workflows.

 

The tools and techniques highlighted in this paper aim to suggest how

processing data in new ways can help provide a more complete

representation of the submarine landscape.