Chesapeake Times
Technical Review, Issue 13
Apr 2023
Letter from the General Manager – Harold Orlinsky

Last week, while attending Ocean Business, the bi-annual conference in Southampton,
UK, I noticed a few things that stood out:

First, it was crowded. That’s a good thing. The last time there was a full show was in 2019, pre-Covid (maybe we’ll start calling it PC for short). For three days, the floor was busy, the demos boats were out all day, and the classroom lectures were full. It was just a year or two ago some folks gave up on conferences, as a place with thousands of folks could be a potential hazard for the spread of Covid.

Second, it was truly a showcase of new innovations, as companies used this week to introduce new sensors, new products, and new software. Reading about a new sensor online is not the same as seeing a system and talking about it with the manufacturers.

Lastly, it was great to head out to the local pubs and see familiar faces. All week, at many of the bars and restaurants, I would see someone I knew – and although I haven’t seen them in a while, the conversation and stories picked up where we left off (years ago)

In summary: we might still talk about Covid, the effects and the struggles we all went through during the past few years. But I am optimistic about the future, as the tradeshow, the friendships and company innovations are here to stay.

See you at the next one!

And my cue on that: The Annual SonarWiz Winter Training Event is set for December 12-14 at the College of Charleston. Details will be posted on our website. Before then, we have a few other workshops, in Michigan and Delaware, and a few overseas, starting with Brazil in May, then off to Japan and Malaysia in the Fall.

Happy Spring, and welcome to the start of the 2023 Survey season!
New Features and Technical Notes

Tools Tools and More Tools ....................................... Christopher Favreau, CTO
Realtime and Recording Improvements..................... Jonathan Fleetwood, Engineer
File Import Datum Transformations ........................... David Finlayson, Chief Scientist
Golden Soundings in SonarWiz ................................ Harold Orlinsky, General Manager
Absolute Ocean Partnership ..................................... Patrick Zynda, Support Engineer
Tools, Tools and more Tools
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 various data types in SonarWiz, it also has a tab on the ribbon bar devoted to manufacturer file specific tools. The wide variety of tools are usually used in combination to effectively give SonarWiz new functions without adding new code.
Realtime and Recording Improvements
The recording page has options specific to the recording operations. These include recording locations and file naming options, as well as some SegY, XTF, and CSF options that were previously located in windows otherwise dedicated to import settings.

Options for automatic file splitting also appear on this page, with a couple new options: splitting on time and position jumps. These handle the case where an external system unknown to SonarWiz can cause pinging to stop, then restart it later and/or at a new position. Prior versions of SonarWiz would continue recording the same line, resulting in the first ping after data restarts to stretch onscreen for an unreasonable distance.

Lastly, we've sped up some drawing and related functions that were taking up a substantial portion of the sidescan and sub-bottom recording runtime. Testing for the eBOSS system unveiled some sluggishness in the realtime drawing; subsequent fixes have much improved performance for sidescan and sub-bottom recording, by half or more in many cases.

File Import Datum Transformations
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 WGS-84. This makes it difficult to support datums that do not support pivots through WGS-84, such as the Ordnance Survey National Grid (OSGB) in the UK, the Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020) and other grid-based datum of this nature.
Golden Soundings in SonarWiz
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 high point. This was done by marking a single point at the bow of the wreck. Because it is golden, editing on the surrounding area will always keep this one-point intact.

New Partnership with Absolute Ocean:
Moving Data into Cloud Platforms
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 of increasingly larger projects but there are also many new platforms being developed to meet the need of cloud-based storage and analyzing data between processors. With that in mind, we are very excited to announce a partnership between SonarWiz and TerraDepth’s new Absolute Ocean platform with a goal of making a seamless and straightforward approach from collection to processing.

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