Auto Processing Advancements and the Future Of SonarWiz

Chesapeake Times, Vol 12 | Jan 2023

Happy New Year! It is 2023 and here at CTI we are planning some interesting changes to SonarWiz to get more done with less mouse clicks. First, let’s go over what SonarWiz currently offers.

We added automatic processing of side scan sonar data in SonarWiz V7.4. The auto processing in this version added the ability to perform bottom tracking, EGN gain processing, and individual GeoTIFF export when a side scan sonar file was imported into SonarWiz. All of these actions were performed without user intervention. If you are not familiar with auto processing you can find it on SonarWiz’s Post-Processing tab in the settings drop down button under the SSS Auto Processing Settings as shown below.

Auto processing on import is not enabled by default so it will need to be enabled.  Auto processing on import is enabled through the SonarWiz Preferences and Settings window on the File Options tab.

Before we go over the newly added items to auto processing it is useful to see what is in the currently available SonarWiz V7.10.01.  Below is a series of screenshots of the current automatic processing window showing the available settings.

The auto processing settings can be saved to and loaded from an external settings file.  This allows the user to use the same settings on multiple projects and share them with other users and SonarWiz installations.

In this next release, SonarWiz V7.10.02, we are adding much more functionality.   The first improvement is adding all of the gain processing settings.  This will allow users to adjust the incoming data using many of the same tools and settings as they do during post processing.  The advantage here is that the settings will be applied as soon as the data is imported thereby saving some time with post processing.

The next improvement we have added to the auto processing is more export options.  We are splitting the export settings into two categories, export when a single file is imported and export when all files have been imported.   This distinction is important as some of the exports are generally only useful when all files have been imported and processed.  In addition to the existing Save Individual GeoImages tool we have added Save Project As GeoImage and Save Mosaic as Tiles.

The last area of improvement in the auto processing for side scan sonar data is adding a new page of options, called General, that includes advanced import settings, sheave offsets, layback, position offset, time offset, nadir transparency,  and displayed range.   Besides the advanced import settings this page includes adjustments that are previously only available in post processing after the data has been imported.   The series of screenshots below show the new Gain and General pages.

The advantage of the new automatic processing options is that they allow the user to process the side scan sonar data as it is imported.  This is useful when the user already knows that the files need certain adjustments.   It will reduce mouse clicks and reprocessing time after import.

One other advantage to this approach is that the user interface for the auto processing options can effectively replace all of the windows shown below. 

In future versions of SonarWiz we will be making changes to combine all of these windows into the current data file properties window in a similar fashion to the auto processing settings pages.  I am very excited about this change as it allows the user to control SonarWiz’s capabilities from one area.  It also ties in with some other exciting changes we are going to be making this year.