On Testing of Complex Hydrographic Data Processing Algorithms

TitleOn Testing of Complex Hydrographic Data Processing Algorithms
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
AuthorsCalder, BR, Plumlee, MD
Conference Name2017 U.S. Hydrographic Conference
Conference DatesMarch 21-23
PublisherThe Hydrographic Society of America
Conference LocationGalveston, TX

Modern hydrography relies, more and more, on complex algorithms to resolve the soundings generated by remote sensing modalities, and to process those soundings into chartable products. Algorithm quality assurance is therefore critical to the integrity of the hydrographic effort.


At best, the algorithms used might be described in a published paper, or possibly be available as a research code-base. More often, however, they are integrated deep in proprietary code and cannot be tested or verified without great effort. For algorithms transitioned from research in one organization to operations in another, there is no guarantee that the algorithm implemented is the algorithm that was designed. And each new software release demands effectively ab initio testing effort.


Using the CHRT algorithm as an example, a testing structure is proposed. The structure consists of an XML-based definition which packages the required data with the desired tests, and allows for exact or approximate matching of results, with control over tolerances. The XML-based output provides hierarchically aggregated summaries of test success to assist in reporting with level-of-detail control. Although intended for end user testing, the structure has obvious benefits for developers, and acts, effectively, as the algorithm's definition: any implementation that passes the conformance suite.