Hydrographics and Side-Scan Systems

Course Length:



This three-day course presents the key concepts needed to understand the state-of-the-art and practical use of bathymetric and side-scan sonars. It covers various classes of sonar systems, including multibeam, multitransducer, and interferometric. It provides the theory, system parameters, and design issues required to predict the system performance and accuracy of current and proposed equipment.

The course emphasizes realistic expectations based on field operations. Case studies will provide a solid understanding of the major issues and effects. Noise testing and performance limitations of noise is covered as are the relationships between position, attitude, and bathymetry.

The course presents some of the latest techniques used for topographic data review. The course is valuable for users of sonar records, for operators of equipment, and for scientists and engineers involved in the development and evaluation of sonar equipment. The course will discuss both commercial and military applications. All attendees will receive a complete set of notes and the text Side Scan Record Interpretation.

Course Outline:

  1. Sonar and Mapping Technology. Single beam echo sounders, multibeam systems (including multitransducer systems), and stereoscopic depth sounding. Attitude and positioning systems, design characteristics of various sonar systems.
  2. Signal Processing. Beam processing and interferometric processing. Signal processing for optimal estimation of arrival times and directions. Sonar equation analysis. Noise and its effects on accuracy. Multipath and data editing considerations. Beam bowing and ray bending. Data editing.
  3. Survey System Performance and Accuracy. Requirements, standards, error budgets, and test techniques. Real-time survey monitoring systems. Determination and correction of system biases and offsets. Range, resolution, and coverage.
  4. Charting and Display Technology. Post-processing systems and software. Post-processing operations. Data displays.
  5. Mapping and Charting Technology. Single beam echo sounders, multitransducer systems, multibeam systems, and interferometric depth sounding. Design characteristics of various bathymetric sonar systems. Optimal estimation of arrival time/direction. Attitude measurements and propagation corrections.
  6. Survey System Performance and Accuracy. Requirements, standards, error budgets, and test techniques. Sonar equation analysis. Range, resolution, and coverage. Data processing and display.
  7. Side-Scan Sonar Technology. Principles of side-scan operations. Performance parameter selection and tradeoffs. Choice of frequency and range/resolution issues. Underwater acoustic relationships for echo and shadow modes.
  8. Record Interpretation and Effects. Basics of record interpretation, surface effects, targets, and shadows; design-related effects; towing effects. Target detection parameters including reflectivity, aspect, acoustic shadows. Case studies and example records.
  9. Field Operations/Search Tactics. Towing from surface, subsurface, and air platforms. Towing configuration and hardware. Search/survey patterns, navigation techniques.
  10. Case Studies and Applications. Shipwrecks, aircraft, pipelines, cables, geology studies, sand deposit studies, engineering surveys, fisheries, harbor defense.
  11. Technology and Tactics for Mine Hunting. Positioning, Q-routes, lane spacing. Search tactics. State-of-the-art today and directions for future trends.


REGISTRATION:  There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course.   We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

SCHEDULING:  If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or ati@aticourses.com. Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time.   To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at ati@aticourses.com.

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at ati@aticourses.com.


  • Jack Capell

       has over 30 years of experience in the design and application of multibeam sonar systems. He began his sonar career as the Manager of Electronics at the Harris ASW Division of General Instrument (now SeaBeam Instruments). He retired as a Senior Analyst in Advanced Development. His duties at SeaBeam included design, fabrication, and implementation of hardware and signal processing algorithms for sonars. He lead the test and evaluation efforts for many multibeam installations. He did noise studies for performance predictions of multibeam sonars on various vessels. He has given training courses on the operation and maintenance of multibeam systems. He is currently a consultant for companies in the sonar field.


  • Garry Kozak attended Wayne State University, Detroit, majoring in Electrical Engineering. He has over 30 years of service to the oceanographic community, including 25 years in search and survey operations with side scan sonar. He is a world recognized expert in the interpretation of side scan sonar data. For the past 20 years he has been employed by Klein Associates, one of the leading manufacturers of side scan sonar systems. He has specialized in M.C.M. and C.O.O.P. application of side scan sonar and has over 19 years of hands-on experience in detecting mine-like objects.

    Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)

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