Comparison of methods employed to extract information contained in seafloor backscatter

Irène Mopin, Gilles Le Chenadec, Michel Legris, Philippe Blondel, Jacques Marchal, Benoît Zerr

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Seabed maps are based on quantities extracted from measurements of the seafloor‘s acoustic response by sonar systems such as single-beam echo-sounders (SBES), multibeam echo-sounders (MBES) or sidescan sonars (SSS). In this paper, a comparison of various strategies to estimate the backscattering strength (BS) from recorded time-series, i.e. seabed echoes extracted from pings, is presented. The work hypotheses are based on processed data from a SBES designed to be tilted mechanically. Ideal survey conditions are taken into account and the seafloor is supposed to be rough so that BS is assumed to be equivalent to the Rayleigh probability density function parameter. Classical methods such as averaging corrected (sonar equation) backscattered single values over a set of pings to estimate BS are compared to other methods exploiting several time-samples being part of pings. Simulated data is considered to estimate BS in different situations (several estimators, natural/squared values, number of samples and pings). The best estimator to reach a 0.1dB uncertainty is proposed, and a formula governing the number of time-samples and pings needed to reach an accurate BS estimation according to the measurement conditions is derived.
Original languageEnglish
Article number070036
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021
Event6th Underwater Acoustics Conference and Exhibition, UACE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 20 Jun 202125 Jun 2021


  • underwater acoustics
  • sonar
  • seafloor mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Ocean Engineering


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