High-Resolution Underwater Mapping Using Side-Scan Sonar

Authors Antoni Burguera Burguera | Gabriel Oliver Codina
In PLOS ONE, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-41, January, 2016.


The goal of this study is to generate high-resolution sea floor maps using a Side-Scan Sonar(SSS). This is achieved by explicitly taking into account the SSS operation as follows. First, the raw sensor data is corrected by means of a physics-based SSS model. Second, the data is projected to the sea-floor. The errors involved in this projection are thoroughfully analysed. Third, a probabilistic SSS model is defined and used to estimate the probability of each sea-floor region to be observed. This probabilistic information is then used to weight the contribution of each SSS measurement to the map. Because of these models, arbitrary map resolutions can be achieved, even beyond the sensor resolution. Finally, a geometric map building method is presented and combined with the probabilistic approach. The resulting map is composed of two layers. The echo intensity layer holds the most likely echo intensities at each point in the sea-floor. The probabilistic layer contains information about how confident can the user or the higher control layers be about the echo intensity layer data. Experimental results have been conducted in a large subsea region.

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