Postprocessing and Corrections of Bathymetry Derived from Sidscan Sonar Systems: Application with SeaMARC II


A procedure for postprocessing bathymetry data provided by a phase-measuring sidescan sonarsystem is presented. The data were collected with the SeaMARC II system, and are generally characterized by a high level of noise and uneven spatial sampling. Before any spatial filtering is applied, data are selected to remove most of the obvious artifacts and to retain instantaneous depth profiles whose slant ranges increase monotonically from a central location to the edges of the swath. An extrapolation scheme, patterned after a potential field, is proposed to fill gaps in the coverage or to extend the bathymetric swath to that of the corresponding sidescan image when regridding the data to a rectangular frame. To fill the near nadir gap typically found in these data, a specific interpolation methodology is developed that takes into account the slant range of the first bottom return as received by the sidescan sonar itself or by a shipboard echo-sounder. Spatial low-pass filtering is applied through convolutions with parabolic windows whose width is proportional to the footprint of the acoustic beam along track and roughly 1/8 of the swath width across track. Mismatches of contour lines between adjacent tracks are reduced through a statistical method design to correct systematic profile errors.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering


19, Issue 4



Publisher Place

Washington DC, USA



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article