Chesapeake Times
Technical Review, Issue 17
April 2024
Letter from the General Manager – Harold Orlinsky
Last week, Chesapeake released SonarWiz 8, with updates and changes throughout the program. But we missed something - the automatic target detection module isn't there. We had spent the past few months on the program, and had decent results. For folks at Oceanology, you saw the program running. But for us, we wanted it to be a little better. And so, a small delay, with the ATR to be added in version 8.1 later this quarter.

With the SonarWiz 8.0 version, you'll see changes throughout, with a new color scheme, and new icons, faster drawing of the sonar data, new files for import and an easier way to run the program - as we eliminated steps needed for data processing. Over 100 updates, changes and bug fixes. It will run alongside SonarWiz 7, and can have both installed on your computer.

As we go onto the next program update, we aren't going to be like Phil in Groundhog Day. It's another version, but not the same as before. Programming has already started for 8.1 - which includes the ATR and a new Project Explorer layout, along with new features in SonarWiz from ideas and suggestions from clients. Our Jira system will keep track of them and provide updates once they are added.  

After attending the Oceanology conference in March, we are looking to attend some regional events, getting out to see folks and meeting new ones, showing off the latest updates to the program. Keep an eye on the Events page as we will post our whereabouts.

As for me, I am heading west - 1000 miles from Connecticut, and landed in Nashville. Something new, something different. If you're in the area, stop by...I am looking to hold the annual training event there in December. More info to come. Make sure you pack your boots!

New Features and Technical Notes

No Looking Back: Backwards compatibility in SW8 . Patrick Zynda, Support Manager
Multiple Suppression Filter ....................................... David Finlayson, Chief Scientist
Simplification Is In The Details ................................. Christopher Favreau, CTO
Removing WGS84 Assumptions & Dependencies .. Jonathan Fleetwood, Engineer
Let’s Count the Ways – Bathy Data Exports ............ Harold Orlinsky, General Manager
No looking back! Backwards Compatibility in SonarWiz 8
Given the new SonarWiz 8 release you might be wondering if you can open and work with your SonarWiz 7 projects in SonarWiz 8. SonarWiz 8 is fully compatible with SonarWiz 7 projects. We know that users have their SonarWiz version preference either due to an organization restriction or due to user preference.

At CTI we keep this as one of our goals and try to maintain compatibility with previous versions of SonarWiz. Sometimes however, incompatibility is unavoidable. When we do have to create an incompatibility in order to provide a better SonarWiz we are not always able to provide a path backwards, we always provide an upgrade path forward. In this article I will go over the biggest compatibility changes in SonarWiz.

Multiple Suppression Filter
SonarWiz 8 introduces a new Reflection Filter to the Sub-Bottom Module that automatically detects secondary reflections SBP data and suppresses them. The filter works in four steps:

  1. Predict most common multiples based on shape and depth of the seafloor return
  2. At each prediction, search for local maxima to more accurately lock onto multiple
  3. Compute a match score for each reflection based on shape and density of echo
  4. If shape score exceeds threshold, suppress multiple using neighboring values
The algorithm uses image processing techniques rather than deconvolution of the wavelets. This requires less knowledge about the waveform to function properly, however it is only effective against multiples that can be pre-determined from the geometry. Still, these are the most common multiples observed in shallow water.

Simplification Is In The Details
One of our main goals with SonarWiz is to simplify the UI (User Interface) and to make it more intuitive to use. We would like to say “No user manual necessary”, although we have a great comprehensive user manual available on the Help tab or just press F1 at any time while in SonarWiz.
With the release of SonarWiz 8, we began a transition to a new look and the start of the simplification efforts for 2024. The biggest item you may notice when creating a project in SonarWiz 8 is the new All In One Import. The import menu and all of the individual import windows have been condensed down into one import window, in which you can import all of the data for your project in one step even if you have more than one type of sonar data.

This is a good example of reducing the number of operations the user needs to make. This effort involved condensing 7 separate import windows into 1 comprehensive window without making it super complicated to use and providing our users with a UI that feels familiar. We were able to eliminate 7 separate import windows. In addition, we also simplified 6 import configuration windows. Most of the time the settings that were on these windows existed somewhere else in the application and controlled more than one function.
Removing WGS84 Assumptions & Dependencies
SonarWiz has traditionally relied, in a number of ways, on translations between coordinates in the "project output" system (the X/Y coordinates represented in the plan view, in the projection system chosen at project creation) and WGS84 latitude/longitude (EPSG:4326) coordinates. We assumed a lot of incoming data - sonar or ancillary - was of WGS84 latitude/longitude origin, or translated it to that for storage. Doing so allowed us to have a single underlying reference system to bring together a number of incoming data from various places and treat them similarly, but at the cost of correctness in some circumstances.

In SonarWiz 8.0, we've made another change in this direction: storing SRIDs for features. Previously, features and the points associated with them were treated as having WGS84 latitude/longitude (EPSG:4326) coordinates. We'd take grid coordinates from the plan view or a waterfall and convert them to EPSG:4326 for storage. Those created on a waterfall would draw correctly there - row and range are stored as well - but all would be subject to plan view positioning errors when in a project using a system that doesn't allow for a near-lossless trip to WGS84 and back. The GDA datums were the proximate motivator for this change - we'd see errors of this type around a meter and a half near Perth.
Let’s Count the Ways – Bathy Data Exports
The traditional XYZ file from a bathymetry file can done a few ways the SonarWIz once
the survey data has been processed. Most of these exports can be found in the Process – Export tab, within the bathymetry section.

Which export is needed is up to you. For the basics of XYZ data points, there is the initial option of Export to XYZ. This dialog box has grown over the years, like many options in SonarWiz, to accommodate certain project requirements from our clients. But there is a lot there that is useful.
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