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 in

The string sent to SonarWiz has some basic client specific structure. However, it has been designed to handle a variety of messages since our clients’ output strings may vary across platforms. The task was simple: send over a position, a target identification, and a few other ancillary pieces of information that can be used. In this initial case, we took the string as follows:

$EXWPT,[Category],[Time],[Long],[Lat],[Depth],[Depth unit],[Description]HH and decoded.
In this case, we had 5 user categories, 0 – 4, each to identify a specific contact.
0 – Default, 1 – Unknown, 2 – Surface mine, 3 – Submerged mine, 4 – Wreak

A sample output string would be something like this: $EXWPT,4,15:30:30.000,-4.1486191821828067,50.334671400393564,-23,M,Suspicious 000HH

The 4 represents a contact identifier, in this case a wreck

During real time operations, the main map view would display these contacts as they come in from the serial string. The standard contact marking in SonarWiz hasn’t changed; we just added new external source(s) of contacts.

Since each of these items becomes a contact in SonarWiz, all the tools we use for contact management can be used to further analyze these points.

For processing data, the marking of contacts has always been a tedious job, with some surveys marking 10,000 or more contacts. This tedious, repetitive manual task is one that we have all done too many times before.

Later this year, Chesapeake will be introducing an “Automatic Target Recognition” (ATR) program, allowing users to mark any number of contacts automatically. I have seen some early results and the capture detection results are already quite remarkable. We still have a few things to work on to refine the algorithm and continue to update the library of contacts. The library we are building is one with thousands of contacts. We will also develop a program to allow clients to create their own training database(s).

Survey data – marked targets were detected automatically:

If you would like to share some survey data with us, so that we can include add more contacts to the
library, please let me know.

Stay tuned for more updates and news about Chesapeake’s ATR.