FarSounder's Technology Blog

From time to time, FarSounder's development team likes to toot their own horn and tell the world about some of the cool things they are working on. We can't share all our secrets and development plans, but we can share some of the excitement that our engineers experience every day working for FarSounder.

November 5, 2018
Example of 3D-FLS signal strength data
Convolutional neural network (CNN) models have grown in popularity in recent years by demonstrating impressive performance in many fields. These models have been applied to complex problems in many domains. Given the added performance and flexibility offered by these models, we had to ask: “Can we incorporate a CNN based model into our current processing algorithm?”
August 23, 2018
Transducer Module Internal Electronics
FarSounder sonars use a sophisticated data acquisition system to digitize underwater acoustic signals. These custom electronics are designed in-house and are one of the reasons 3D forward looking sonar is possible today. Recently, the electronics in our Transducer Module underwent a major refresh bringing some of the latest technology to our products; one of the ways FarSounder is always looking ahead.
April 6, 2018
Patience Island Survey Footprint
Over the past 14 years, the use of 3 dimensional forward looking sonar (3D FLS) for real-time navigation has been adopted globally by a growing number of vessel operators. FarSounder’s 3D FLS technology insonifies the area (the sonar’s field of view) ahead of the vessel (up to 1000m) and allows navigators to determine not only the range and bearing to navigational hazards within the field of view, but also their depth in the water column [1]. In addition to real-time information about navigational hazards, the depth of water ahead of the vessel is also obtained. Determining the depth of the seafloor ahead of the vessel as measured by a 3D FLS is useful for real-time navigation, but are there other applications for this data?
January 7, 2018
Currently, the main application of commercially available three-dimensional forward looking sonar (3D FLS) technology is for real-time vessel navigation. Using 3D FLS technology, the vessel operator can detect not only the range and bearing to a navigational hazard, but also the depth of the hazard in the water column.
January 6, 2018
Logo for OCEANS17 conference
Over the past 13 years, the use of 3-dimensionalforward-looking sonar (3D FLS) for real-time navigation has been adopted globally by a growing number of vessel operators. More recently, FarSounder started collecting bathymetric data using 3D FLS sonars in Forward Looking Multi-beam (FLMB) mode. Before exploring all of the possible applications of collecting bathymetric data on vessels with an installed 3D FLS navigation system, the accuracy and limitations of this data should first be understood. In this paper,...
February 28, 2017
I-Bridge® offered by TEAM Italia with FarSounder integration
Integration flexibility is one of the key aspects to FarSounder’s software. Since SonaSoft 3.0, all end user features can be controlled with only a 2 button mouse/trackball and the design of the user interface facilitates the use of touch screen monitors. We also offer low level integration via a network based SDK. New in SonaSoft 3.3, we’ve added support for customizable hotkeys. This new feature makes it easy to integrate physical controllers such as buttons, glass bridges, and custom foil panels, with our software. Any controller that can output a standard keyboard message can be used.
November 11, 2016
Local History Mapping with FLS

To date, FarSounder’s 3D FLS products have operated purely as real time navigation and obstacle avoidance sonars. Our user interface software includes an overlay of the real time sonar imagery on top of a standard nautical chart. However, since the early days of our development, we have always believed that storing the sonar data and building a bathymetric history would be a valuable capability.

November 1, 2016
Chart overlay of look ahead sonar
FarSounder forward looking navigation sonars are unlike any other sonar on the market. Our sonars generate a complete 3D image ahead of the vessel at navigationally significant ranges with each and every ping. Because our technology differs from all other sonar products, we try to be very straightforward and clear about what our products can and cannot do. The purpose of this posting is to highlight the unique capabilities that users can expect from our navigation products as well as outline the general installation and interfacing requirements.
April 4, 2016
Icebreaker Fennica - Marcus Bengtsson/Creative Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Marcusroos
In today’s world of instant communications, constant connectivity, and virtual reality, it is easy to forget that there are still vast expanses of our world that are undiscovered and unknown. Polar regions make up much of that vast unknown. Yet in the past few years, the number of vessel excursions into these areas is increasing steeply. Shipping, tourism, oil exploration, science, and EEZ expansion are all driving this surge. With this surge comes increased risk of navigational hazards as many of the “classic” navigation tools (recent surveys, stable buoys and channel markers, and good gps coverage) are not available or practical in these areas.
March 28, 2016
detecting hazards with Forward Looking Sonar
As presented at Oceans 2015 in Washington D.C. - This paper describes research to determine the effectiveness of forward-looking sonar as a means to safely navigate vessels in frontiers such as the Arctic and other regions that may be lacking recent or comprehensive hydrographic survey. Key elements of this investigation include the range at which valid measurements may be taken, uncertainty in measurement, confidence level of the measured value and resolution available to detect underwater hazards affixed to the bottom and suspended within the water column to provide time sufficient to enable the crew to take action to alter course and/or speed to avoid casualty. An additional factor involves examining forward-looking sonar measurements as a means to survey shallow sea bottom where hydrography data does not exist or is not accurate, potentially offering a valuable resource to supplement scarce national hydrographic office assets to accomplish this task. An assessment of viability is also made regarding compliance with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) standards for hydrographic surveys that form the basis for soundings that appear on navigation charts.