Bigger Needs Faster and Better

Chesapeake Times, Vol 16 | January 2024

As we move into the future it is clear that the underwater survey industry is quickly moving towards acquiring much larger amounts of data each and every year. Earlier this year one of our clients reported on social media that they are building a 480 TB (that’s Terra Bytes = 1,000 Gigabytes) file server for up and coming survey projects. SonarWiz will have to grow to support larger projects. Not only will SonarWiz have to deal with the large amount of data, it will also have to do so in a fast responsive manner. Advancements in computers mitigate some of this by processing and accessing data quicker. However, this only gets you so far. Sometimes technological advancements in computers require the software to be rethought in order to take full advantage of the advancements.

This year the SonarWiz development is focused on updating SonarWiz to work with larger datasets. Initially our efforts are focused on areas that were reported to us by users. These are: opening speed of the SSS digitizing waterfall, contact creation and other contact related delays, signal processing speed, and Plan View / Geotiff Export speed with SSS data.

We have improved the SSS digitizing waterfall opening speed. For example, a 10+km long SSS file previously took 31 seconds on SonarWiz 7. On SonarWiz 8 it now takes 4 seconds for a 7.5x speed up.

We are working to make the SSS drawing faster. This includes the Plan View and Geotiff exports. In order to do so, we are exploring drawing algorithms to increase the processor utilization. During this change we are moving the block of code responsible for drawing into its own section of the program. This will allow SonarWiz to draw quickly while not blocking user actions. The drawing speed increase should be over 2 times faster. For example, a project with 5 10+km long SSS files takes 26 seconds to draw in high resolution mode on SonarWiz 7. In SonarWiz 8 it takes just 11 seconds. Pictured below are a series of screenshots taken at 6 second intervals comparing the drawing progression of the large project used for testing. SonarWiz 8 is drawing by dividing the work up into 9 different tiles. This is in contrast to SonarWiz 7 which draws each line consecutively.

These improvements are just the beginning for SonarWiz 8 and will be in the first version. Throughout 2024 we will continue to update and improve SonarWiz 8. What are some of your largest projects you have worked with and what size projects are you expecting to work with in the near future?