Chesapeake Times
Technical Review, Issue 15
October 2023
Letter from the General Manager – Harold Orlinsky
This month, I travelled 25,000 miles. It’s been a long time since I did that much travel. From Europe to Asia, it was a month filled with meetings, trainings, and conferences - working with clients and meeting new folks from the industry. Over the past few years, we learned how to do a lot through virtual calls and found a way to make it work. Yet, there is still something to be said to be in person with one another. From a training class to dinner out, this interaction is something we shouldn’t forget how to do nor how important it is at the end of the day. Seeing more than just their head on a video screen is needed. And except for the hours on a plane with food that could be described as tasteless or unrecognizable, the travel was worthwhile and, in my view, important.

I also saw the latest innovation and survey systems coming to the market. Better, faster, and easier describe the way technology is taking us through the survey world. At Chesapeake, we are driven to do the same -with the new release out (7.12.0) and SonarWiz 8.0, we aim to deliver software to take our clients to the next level. Better – as we improve the way we handle sonar data. Faster -as we worked on drawing and program speeds, to get through larger data sets in less time. Easier – making the routines simplified, one button instead of two, and creating an intuitive interface for our users.

In this newsletter, you will read about some of the changes made to SonarWiz. We will also post information on our websites and send out news through emails. In December,
at our winter workshop, we will give folks a preview of SonarWiz 8.0. Hope to see you there, or perhaps somewhere on my next trip.
New Features and Technical Notes

Sub-bottom 2 Layer Sound Velocity Model............... Christopher Favreau, CTO
Property Grid Enhancement ..................................... Jonathan Fleetwood, Engineer
Far Field Tracking in Seabed Characterization ........ David Finlayson, Chief Scientist
A Better Default ........................................................ Harold Orlinsky, General Manager
Auditing Progress in SonarWiz ............................. Patrick Zynda, Support Manager
Sub-bottom 2 Layer Sound Velocity Model
We are currently in the process of making some big changes in the sub-bottom sonar features in SonarWiz. These changes implement a 2 layer sound velocity model. Currently, the SonarWiz sub-bottom digitizer window displays data using just the sound velocity of water. The reflectors have a multi-layer sound velocity model. The layers are used when exporting reflectors, however they are not visualized in the digitizer window. In order to combine the features of both we are converting SonarWiz to use a 2 layer model everywhere sub-bottom data is used. This will move SonarWiz more towards a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) user interface.
The sound velocity model consists of 2 layers. The first layer represents everything in the watercolumn. This is the data that starts at the sonar and ends at the seafloor. The second layer is everything below the seafloor. This will more accurately represent the data visually and bring the visualized sonar data in line with the digitized reflectors. The changes will be evident in 2 major areas.

Property Grid Enhancement
The upcoming SonarWiz 7.12 release will include a nice, oft-requested change to the Property Grid Interface to simplify its operation and speed up batches of settings changes.

The property grid interface in SonarWiz has for a long time been the primary means by which settings are applied to sidescan and sub-bottom lines, magnetometer data, and other selectable artifacts within the program. It has in many ways replaced the earlier "manager" interfaces, which show grids of items with select properties in columns...

Far Field Tracking Supported in Seabed Characterization
The seabed characterization utility in SonarWiz is a valuable tool for studying underwater features. It is used to delineate seafloor topography and substrate composition from side-scan and multibeam backscatter data. The GIS layers produced by the utility are important for assessing fish habitat distribution and availability, monitoring erosion patterns and other environmental impact assessments.
One area where users have run into problems with the seabed characterization utility is in river channels and near quay walls or other restricted range environments. That is, places where the useful sonar data ends before the receiver stops recording the ping. For example, Figure 1 shows side-scan data collected near the bank of a river. On the port channel, the usable side-scan.

A Better Default
A few places in the program, you will run across some value, set by default, to start the process. Overriding these values is easy, simply put in the number you wish to use. But if you are changing the value every time, perhaps the default value needs to be updated. We looked at programs within SonarWiz, where these settings show up when the program is launched, and decided if they were appropriate. Perhaps years ago, they made sense – but as sonar systems changed, these values should also be updated.

The first one I had changed was the angle bounds in the Patch Test. Better installations and higher accuracy sensors made the original default values a bit too broad. So instead of now using -10 to 10 degrees and the start and stop values, this is now changed to -3 to 3, as a default. The operator can still override this value, but now the default is something that makes a bit more sense and is in the realm of what can be expected from the results.
Auditing Progress in SonarWiz
Our primary goal for new development in SonarWiz continues to be to make the job of a processor more efficient. In the early 2000s the program relied on managers built into SonarWiz and simple .CSV exports to manage logging the processing steps taken in your project but as they continue to get larger, changes need to be made. 

In the meantime, we have added new tools in the last few updates that can assist with auditing your projects. In our upcoming 7.12.00 release we have made a small change to the project explorer’s behavior when files are bottom tracked. Another vestige of the past, prior to this release a file’s name in the Project Explorer would turn BOLD when one of the automatic tracking algorithms were run in the bottom tracking window. This would indicate that the data has been tracked and a new altitude value saved.
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