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SIDE SCANNING SONARS

Side scan sonar; also referred to as side-looking sonar and side imaging sonar; is often towed from a survey vessel and has the ability to capture hundreds of meters of seafloor on each side of the moving vessel.

The near photographic quality images produced by side scan sonar along with its ability to map large areas of seafloor quickly make it an essential piece of kit for anyone requiring high definition images of the seabed.

Side scan sonar is used extensively for many commercial, military and leisure applications. Some examples include search and rescue operations, pipeline and cable route surveys, mine detection, fish finding, wreck hunting, recovery of drowned victims, marine archaeology and geological surveys.

Side scan sonars transmit a narrow fan-shaped acoustic pulse (ping) perpendicular to its direction of travel. As the acoustic pulse travels outward from the side scan sonar, the seabed and other objects reflect some of the sound energy back in the direction of the sonar (known as backscatter). The travel time of the returned pulse is recorded together with its amplitude as a time series and sent to a topside console for interpretation and display. The topside software then stitches together data from successive pulses, creating a long continuous image of the seafloor as the side scan sonar is towed from the survey vessel.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

CHIRP (Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse) techniques have been used for a number of years above the water in many commercial and military RADAR systems. The techniques used to create an electromagnetic CHIRP pulse have now been modified and adapted for acoustic imaging sonar systems. StarFish uses CHIRP techniques at the core of its acoustic engine.

Using the latest high-speed digital-signal-processing (DSP) techniques, the StarFish sonar receiver contains a 'pattern matching' circuit that looks for a transmitted 'CHIRP' being echoed back from targets, and its receiver produces a sharp 'spike' when a good match is found. This allows fine details targets to be seen, and gives a greater image quality over traditional sonar designs.
Do you have any doubts?