Seeing the Big Picture: Expanded Chart Overlay

  • Posted on: 16 March 2015
  • By: Matthew Zimmerman
forward looking sonar with chart overlay
FarSounder's chart overlay with sonar images of the seafloor and in-water targets.
FLS next to ECDIS
FarSounder sonar (2nd from right) next to the ship's ECDIS (center).
vessel track history
Chart image with vessel history marks.
chart overlay at night
The graphic distance measurement tool shown at dusk.

Early in FarSounder’s development, we added a raster chart display to help our engineers correlate what we saw in the sonar display with what was in the real world. The raster chart display evolved to a vector chart display. Soon after that, we started displaying in-water targets on top of the chart. Now, with the release of SonaSoft 3.0, our software includes an expanded overlay with the complete 3D sonar image. The seafloor and in-water targets are shown with the same colors as the 3D Sonar Display as an overlay on top of the chart data. Many users will find that the C-Map Chart Display will become their primary display rather than the 3D Sonar Display since it shows a more complete situational awareness with both chart and sonar data.

Though many of our customers are running a full ECDIS side by side with our sonar, having basic chart plotting capabilities built into the FarSounder software adds a lot to the user experience. By seeing the sonar image as an overlay on top of a chart, the user can quickly confirm whether the sonar is detecting a known target (like the rock pinnacle marked on the chart) or an unknown, uncharted obstacle. In some locations, the chart may only have a general indication of what is outside the channel. With the forward looking sonar overlay, a captain can see exactly where the reef lies.

Chart Plotting Features

SonaSoft 3.0 software includes the following charting capabilities:

These capabilities are built into the FarSounder user interface software and are separate from the FarSounder overlay integrated into the Transas NaviSailor-4000 ECDIS/ECS.

Chart Database Details

FarSounder uses Jeppesen Marine’s C-Map Professional+ chart database in its software. Chart plotting with sonar overlay capabilities come standard with FarSounder’s software. However, the chart data needs to be licensed separately. Continuing in 2015, a joint promotion between Jeppesen Marine and FarSounder offers a complimentary 3 month trial license for the C-Map chart data. Once you try it, we know you’ll never look back.