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 …

Performance Improvements, New Project Explorer

Chesapeake Times, Vol 16 | January 2024 SonarWiz 8, scheduled for release early in March, will come with some nice performance and functionality enhancements around the digitizer windows, contacts, and project management. For a while now, opening the bottom tracker/digitizer window has been significantly slower than it needs to be. We’ve sped the loading process up by about an order of magnitude, so opening the window and switching between files is much quicker. This is especially true with large files having many pings, such as SAS data. Additionally, scrolling speed is improved somewhat, making it less sluggish to move around …

New Color Options in SonarWiz 8.0

Chesapeake Times, Vol 16 | January 2024 In the early days of SonarWiz, side scan backscatter was converted to 8-bit pixel values on import. The actual intensity values were lost and only an 8-bit color map of the data remained. As sonar systems and sonar users become more sophisticated, SonarWiz switched to importing raw intensity values and today there is a direct mapping between intensity values and colors. In most respects, the modern coloring system is for the better. Along the way, we jettisoned the Color and Contrast controls of older versions of SonarWiz (See Figure 1) because the values …

Finding the Difference

Chesapeake Times, Vol 16 | January 2024 A few tools in SonarWiz – both old and new, will provide the user with a simple way for analyzing change differences, both visually and in numerical form.  Whether you want to monitor the difference in a pre and post dredge survey, monitor environment change over a sand bar or calculate the needed material to fill in the void, these functions can help.  The ability to both visualizes and calculate the volume difference is needed. As an example, let’s take a small survey area.  This contained about 15 lines.  Importing the data and …

Resources You’d Like To See For Support in 2024?

Chesapeake Times, Vol 16 | January 2024 Here at CTI we pride ourselves on our top of the industry customer support, our team not only is willing and able to assist with your SonarWiz projects but we have a wide array of industry knowledge that can assist when the inevitable speed bumps appear in your survey. With that goal in mind over the past 5 years we have worked diligently to update our resources and documentation to further give access to our knowledge base to our users. This started with a complete rewrite to our standard user guide for the …

Sub-bottom 2 Layer Sound Velocity Model

Chesapeake Times, Vol 15 | October 2023 We are currently in the process of making some big changes in the sub-bottom sonar features in SonarWiz.  These changes implement a 2 layer sound velocity model.  Currently, the SonarWiz sub-bottom digitizer window displays data using just the sound velocity of water.  The reflectors have a multi-layer sound velocity model.  The layers are used when exporting reflectors, however they are not visualized in the digitizer window.  In order to combine the features of both we are converting SonarWiz to use a 2 layer model everywhere sub-bottom data is used.  This will move SonarWiz …

Property Grid Enhancement

Chesapeake Times, Vol 15 | October 2023 The upcoming SonarWiz 7.12 release will include a nice, oft-requested change to the property grid interface to simplify its operation and speed up batches of settings changes. The property grid interface in SonarWiz has for a long time been the primary means by which settings are applied to sidescan and sub-bottom lines, magnetometer data, and other selectable artifacts within the program. It has in many ways replaced the earlier “manager” interfaces, which show grids of items with select properties in columns, for a number of reasons: – It can be “always-on” but not …

Far Field Tracking Supported in Seabed Characterization

Chesapeake Times, Vol 15 | October 2023 The seabed characterization utility in SonarWiz is a valuable tool for studying underwater features. It is used to delineate seafloor topography and substrate composition from side-scan and multibeam backscatter data. The GIS layers produced by the utility are important for assessing fish habitat distribution and availability, monitoring erosion patterns and other environmental impact assessments.One area where users have run into problems with the seabed characterization utility is in river channels and near quay walls or other restricted range environments. That is, places where the useful sonar data ends before the receiver stops recording …

A Better Default

Chesapeake Times, Vol 15 | October 2023 A few places in the program, you will run across some value, set by default, to start the process. Overriding these values is easy, simply put in the number you wish to use.  But if you are changing the value every time, perhaps the default value needs to be updated.  We looked at programs within SonarWiz, where these settings show up when the program is launched, and decided if they were appropriate.  Perhaps years ago, they made sense – but as sonar systems changed, these values should also be updated. The first one …

Auditing Progress in SonarWiz

Chesapeake Times, Vol 15 | October 2023 Our primary goal for new development in SonarWiz continues to be to make the job of a processor more efficient. In the early 2000s the program relied on managers built into SonarWiz and simple .CSV exports to manage logging the processing steps taken in your project but as they continue to get larger, changes need to be made.  In the meantime, we have added new tools in the last few updates that can assist with auditing your projects. In our upcoming 7.12.00 release we have made a small change to the project explorer’s …

Battling SEGY Once Again!

Chesapeake Times, Vol 14 | July 2023 Over the past few years, we have spent considerable development time on addressing the needs of our sub bottom processor geos. We have made great improvements to the available tools and workflow. We have time and time again had to battle with how to make sure that all of the processing steps done inside of the program can be translated out to .SEGY format. Despite being 50 years old, this file format somewhat unfortunately remains the industry standard for seismic. In this months battle we had a customer reach out to our support …

Sidescan Gain: Updates to the Empirical Gain Normalization

Chesapeake Times, Vol 14 | July 2023 Empirical Gain Normalization (EGN) The EGN algorithm is a black-box statistical approach to normalizing the backscatter intensity of mapping sonars. It is black-box, because the algorithm works with the observed amplitude values exclusively and makes limited assumptions about internal mechanics of the sonar system. It is statistical, because the correction tables are built empirically. This allows the algorithm to adapt to a wide range of sonar designs and configurations. EGN has been available in SonarWiz since 2007. Originally, EGN was used for sidescan only, when SonarWiz added the bathymetry module, CTI wrote a …

The Side Scan Sonar 10% Rule

Chesapeake Times, Vol 14 | July 2023 Recently the question came up, “What is the best height to tow my Side Scan Sonar off of the bottom?”  The general answer is the altitude should be 10% to 20% of the slant range.  While this is a good rule of thumb, or general rule to follow, where does it come from? First, let us go over the reasons for adjusting the height of the towfish: On the way to answering this we should take a look at a typical Side Scan Sonar beam pattern shown in the above illustration.   This …

Contacts: An Update

Chesapeake Times, Vol 14 | July 2023 In the latest release of SonarWiz, we added a new way of real time target marking. Called the “Waypoint Contact”, it is a single check box to enable this function. The hardest part was to decide where to place this user command option, without adding more dialog boxes and buttons to SonarWiz. (For now), we added the option in the Motion Sensor set up, as the serial I/O structure was already inplace. The string sent to SonarWiz has some basic client specific structure. However, it has been designed to handle a variety of …

The CsfCalc Tool

Chesapeake Times, Vol 14 | July 2023 For a couple years now, SonarWiz has been shipping with a little command-line utility called CsfCalc.exe. It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it can be pretty handy for some purposes. We’ve mainly used it as a repair tool for files having some bad data in them; this allows for us to provide a script or instructions to repair files without a customer having to upload a large project. It can also be used to extract columns of computed (per-record) data from CSF files, for further inspection/manipulation within a spreadsheet, or perhaps …

Realtime and Recording Improvements

Chesapeake Times, Vol 13 | April 2023 In the upcoming version of SonarWiz, 7.11.0, we’ve made a number of additional improvements to SonarWiz’s realtime and recording behavior and setup.  Much of this involves moving options from not-obvious locations to a centralized location, though a few new features deserve mention as well. On the general realtime page of the application preferences window, options can now be set for various non-recording aspects of realtime setups.  Some of these were moved from other preferences pages.  These include drawing options for navigation plotting and screen centering, alarms for disk space and off-course navigation, and …

New Partnership with Absolute Ocean: Moving Data into Cloud Platforms

Chesapeake Times, Vol 13 | April 2023 As one of the support technicians here at CTI I get the unique opportunity to engage with processors daily with training and support questions. Even in my short time in this industry it has been remarkable to see the ballooning of project sizes, where a few years ago a “large” sidescan project was north of 50GB we are now having customers reach out to us for recommendations on managing terabytes of data. We have begun work on adjusting the structure of the SonarWiz project on our end to better suite this new world …

File Import Datum Transformations in SonarWiz

Chesapeake Times, Vol 13 | April 2023 One of the signature features of the SonarWiz 7.10 series is the upgraded geodetic library. The new geodetic engine adds support for hundreds of datum and datum transformations that previous versions of SonarWiz could not support. However, a major limitation of the current SonarWiz design, and a vestige of our old geodetic engine, is that all data is converted to WGS-84 (EPSG:4326) before storage and then forward projected into the project datum before display or export. In other words, all datum transformations in current and earlier versions of SonarWiz force a pivot through …

Golden Soundings in SonarWiz

Chesapeake Times, Vol 13 | April 2023 In the next release of SonarWiz, the addition of saving and highlighting bathymetry sounding points – as flagged and golden soundings was added. We took the concept of a Golden Sounding and enhanced it to be Golden areas, providing more flexibility and options for the user. In SonarWiz, editing bathymetry soundings can be done in the map view or in the bathy editors. The selection of the flagged soundings follows suit and can be done in any of the editing views. Using a shipwreck as an example, the user wants to preserve the …

Tools, Tools, and more Tools

Chesapeake Times, Vol 13 | April 2023 Often I am reminded that SonarWiz is not just a single simple software application.  It is a large collection of useful tools for manipulating sonar and other types of data.   It features many common tools used for processing sonar data so it can be further analyzed and finally reformatted and saved to a large number of formats.  SonarWiz has tools for processing navigation data, side scan sonar data, sub-bottom sonar data, single and multi-beam bathymetric data, LIDAR data, magnetometer data, etc..  In addition to all of the tools available for processing the …