3D Imaging

by Jeremy Dillon, PhD, Senior Sonar Scientist, Kraken Sonar Systems Inc. Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) is a technique for creating high resolution seabed imagery that shares many similarities with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The forward motion of the sonar is used to synthesize an array that is much longer than its physical length by combining multiple pings in software. SAS uses signal processing to circumvent the usual trade-off between range and resolution in conventional sonar. Although military applications such as naval mine countermeasures have been the major driver of development, SAS is truly a dual-use technology with great potential for offshore oil and gas surveying, underwater archaeology, benthic habitat mapping and deep sea mining. In Figure 1 (below), an example SAS image is shown from a sea trial conducted by the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), which illustrates the constant 3×3 cm resolution to 220 m range in water depth of…

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