Chesapeake Technology, Inc. (CTI), the innovation leaders in sonar data acquisition and processing software, just announced the addition of seabed classification to their flagship SonarWiz 5 product. The new functionality offers a fast and easy way to classify sea floor sediment, such as gravel and sand, for use in a wide range of sonar mapping missions including habitat studies, dredging projects, pipe and cable laying projects, and at-sea platform construction.
For the military, for example, it is extremely important to know the bottom types that will allow mines or underwater improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to be buried easily and therefore hidden from side scanning sonar. The classification map will enable military planners to select a route that avoids areas where mines and IEDs might be difficult to detect.
"As with many of our product enhancements, the idea for this originally came from our customers, and we're pleased to be able to now accommodate their requests," commented John Gann, Chesapeake founder and CTO. "It also will generate a collection of polygons in GIS and CAD compatible formats that enables our users to integrate the classification outputs with other seabed maps and products, a feature that I think our customers will particularly appreciate."
The SonarWiz seabed classification generates a color-coded map where each color represents a class of seafloor material or aggregate (see picture below). The classification map also can be combined with ground-truthing to extrapolate the survey results over a wide area, reducing the amount of bottom sampling required.
"We've been using the new seabed classification feature for several months now," said Dr. Arthur Trembanis from the University of Delaware. "We've been impressed with how quickly SonarWiz 5 generates the classification maps and how easy this feature is to use. It's been a great asset for our benthic habitat mapping efforts in support of various offshore marine spatial planning projects."
All SonarWiz 5 users receive this enhancement for free as part of their Chesapeake software maintenance agreement. Any users of earlier CTI applications who choose to upgrade to SonarWiz 5 also will receive this new capability.