A model for the simulation of sidescan sonar
This thesis presents the development of a computer model for the simulation of the sidescan sonar process. The motivation for the development of this model is the creation of a unique and powerful visualisation tool to improve understanding and interpretation of the sidescan sonar process and the images created by it. Existing models tend to generate graphical or numerical results, but this model produces synthetic sidescan sonar images as the output. This permits the direct visualisation of the influence of individual parameters and features of the sonar process on the sidescan images. The model considers the main deterministic aspects of the underlying physical processes which result in the generation of sidescan sonar images. These include the propagation of the transmitted pulse of acoustic energy through the water column to its subsequent interaction and scattering from the rough seafloor. The directivity and motion characteristics of the sonar transducer are also incorporated. The thesis documents the development of the model to include each of these phenomena and their subsequent effect on the sidescan sonar images. Finally, techniques are presented for the investigation and verification of the synthetic sidescan images produced by the model.