Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar Large Scale Simulated Data Benchmark of a Ship Wreck

Ben Thomas, Alan J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (SciVal)


Interferometric synthetic aperture sonar (InSAS) systems produce high resolution seafloor imagery and 3-D bathymetry by exploiting the phase differences between image pairs formed from data collected by vertically separated arrays. This process is non-trivial due to the inherent ambiguity of interferometric phase estimates, and the effect of layover, where the response of multiple scatterers with different positions are mapped onto the same pixel during imaging. These effects are particularly problematic for complex scenes with strong bathymetry, such as ship wrecks. This is an unsolved problem and improved algorithms for InSAS bathymetry estimation are needed. However, developing and assessing such algorithms using data from fielded InSAS systems is difficult because of a lack of accurate ground truth for the platform motion and the true 3-D shape of the scene. This paper presents an openly available synthetic data set as an alternative to field-collected data for use by InSAS algorithm developers. The dataset is derived from a high-resolution 3-D photogrammetry scan of the SS Thistlegorm wreck. It was produced by a point-based diffraction model using parameters similar to the Minehunting UUV for Shallow water Covert Littoral Expeditions (MUSCLE) InSAS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12810
JournalElectronics Letters
Issue number10
Early online date15 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Office of Naval Research - N00014-19-1-2452

Data availability statement
An openly available dataset forms the basis of this manuscript.


  • radar
  • sonar and navigation
  • sonar imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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