Results from the First Phase of the Seafloor Backscatter Processing Software Inter-Comparison Project

TitleResults from the First Phase of the Seafloor Backscatter Processing Software Inter-Comparison Project
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsMalik, MA, Schimel, ACG, Masetti, G, Roche, M, Le Deunf, J, Dolan, M, Beaudoin, J, Augustin, J-M, Hamilton, T, Parnum, I
Date PublishedDecember 16
KeywordsAcoustic backscatter processing; Multibeam Echo Sounders; seafloor mapping

Seafloor backscatter mosaics are now routinely produced from multibeam echosounder data and used in a wide range of marine applications. However, large differences (>5 dB) can often be observed between the mosaics produced by different software packages processing the same dataset. Without transparency of the processing pipeline and the lack of consistency between software packages raises concerns about the validity of the final results. To recognize the source(s) of inconsistency between software, it is necessary to understand at which stage(s) of the data processing chain the differences become substantial. To this end, willing commercial and academic software developers were invited to generate intermediate processed backscatter results from a common dataset, for cross-comparison. The first phase of the study requested intermediate processed results consisting of two stages of the processing sequence: the one-value-per-beam level obtained after reading the raw data and the level obtained after radiometric corrections but before compensation of the angular dependence. Both of these intermediate results showed large differences between software solutions. This study explores the possible reasons for these differences and highlights the need for collaborative efforts between software developers and their users to improve the consistency and transparency of the backscatter data processing sequence.

Refereed DesignationRefereed