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Advanced Interferometric Techniques for High-Resolution Bathymetry

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Current high-resolution sidescan and multibeam sonars produce very large data sets. However, conventional interferometry-based bathymetry algorithms underestimate the potential information of such soundings, generally because they use small baselines to avoid phase ambiguity. Moreover, these algorithms limit the triangulation capabilities of multibeam echosounders (MBES) to the detection of one sample per beam, i.e., the zero-phase instant. In this paper, we argue that the correlation between signals plays a very important role in the exploration of a remotely observed scene. In the case of multibeam sonars, capabilities can be improved by using the interferometric signal as a continuous quantity. This allows consideration of many more useful soundings per beam and enriches understanding of the environment. To this end, continuous interferometry detection is compared here, from a statistical perspective, first with conventional interferometry-based algorithms and then with high-resolution methods such as the Multiple Signal Classification (MUSIC) algorithm. We demonstrate that a well-designed interferometry algorithm based on a coherence error model and an optimal array configuration permits a reduction in the number of beam formings (and therefore the computational cost) and an improvement in target detection (such as ship mooring cables or masts). A possible interferometry processing algorithm based on the complex correlation between received signals is tested on both sidescan sonars and MBESs and shows promising results for detection of small in-water targets.

Keywords: beam steering; interferometry; object detection; performance analysis; sonar detection

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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