Local History Mapping with Forward Looking Sonar

  • Posted on: 11 November 2016
  • By: Matthew Zimmerman

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. Some years ago, we started developing our first Forward Looking Multibeam (FLMB) proof-of-concept. Today we are excited to announce that starting with SonaSoft 3.3, Local History Mapping™ will be included as a standard feature.

Our initial release of Local History Mapping (LHM)™ offers users the ability to build a 3D map of the seafloor over which they’ve recently sailed. This map is updated with every ping and is displayed as an overlay on top of the chart. This new overlay is displayed in conjunction with the real-time sonar overlay. When used together, one can quickly see what lies ahead and what they’ve recently passed over.

Since our sonar has a wide horizontal field-of-view ahead of the vessel, a single pass of a FarSounder 3D forward-looking sonar with LHM can survey a much wider swath of the seafloor than with a standard echosounder. In addition, the large coverage zone from a single ping results in a huge overlapping area from one ping to the next. This means that you won’t have to worry about missing any obstacles between pings.

Due to the unique performance characteristics of our forward looking sonar systems, our Local History Mapping is based on a bathymetric survey engine that we’ve developed from scratch. We’ve also invested heavily in the database infrastructure associated with the storage and integration of large survey datasets. These investments will allow us to quickly add new features and capabilities to our mapping capabilities. Based on customer feedback and our product roadmap, we have big plans and you can expect big additions to LHM in the future.

Existing customers who wish to add Local History Mapping to systems are encouraged to fill out our Software Update Request form. New customers will automatically receive these capabilities when their FarSounder-500 or FarSounder-1000 are set up and commissioned. Contact your system integrator to find out more about including a FarSounder system during your next dry docking.