The acoustic backscatter acquired by multibeam and sidescan sonars carries important information about the seafloor morphology and physical properties, providing valuable data to aid the difficult task of seafloor characterization, and important auxiliary information for a bathymetric survey. One necessary step towards this characterization is the assemblage of more consistent and more accurate mosaics of acoustic backscatter. For that, it is necessary to radiometrically correct the backscatter intensities registered by these sonars, to geometrically correct and position each acoustic sample in a projection coordinate system and to interpolate properly the intensity values into a final backscatter map. Geocoder is a software tool that implements the ideas discussed above. Initially, the original backscatter time series registered by the sonar is corrected for angle varying gains, for beam pattern and filtered for speckle removal. All samples of the time series are preserved during all the operations, ensuring that the full data resolution is used for the final mosaicking. The time serie s is then slant-range corrected based on a bathymetric model, in the case of sidescan, or based on beam bathymetry, in the case of the multibeam. Subsequently, each backscatter sample of the series is geocoded in a projected coordinate system in accordance to an interpolation scheme that resembles the acquisition geometry. An anti-aliasing algorithm is applied in parallel to the mosaicking procedure, which allows the assemblage of mosaics at any required resolution. Overlap among parallel lines is resolved by a priority table based on the distance of each sample from the ship track; a blending algorithm is applied to minimize the seams between overlapping lines. The final mosaic exhibits low noise, few artifacts, reduced seams between parallel acquisition lines and reduced clutter in the near-nadir region, while still preserving regional data continuity and local seafloor features.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

U.S. Hydrographic Conference

Conference Date

Mar 29 - Mar 31, 2005

Publisher Place

San Diego, CA, USA


Hydrographic Society of America

Document Type

Conference Proceeding