Side Scan Sonar

Side Scan Sonar

Side Scan Sonar (SSS) is a great tool for searching large areas of water to detect hazards or features protruding from the sea or river bed. A SSS survey is the process of emitting a pulse through the water column and observing the strength of the returning echo. The sonar works best when the device is operating just above the bottom surface, so in deeper water the unit can be towed behind a vessel to achieve the optimum resolution.
Generally, SSS is coupled with bathymetry to improve the overall end product. For example, in shallow water (less than 4m) a SSS coupled with a Single Beam Echo Sounder (SBES) can be a great solution for identifying a safe path of navigation in unsurveyed waters.

SSS can also be easily integrated into a marine habitat mapping system which makes it invaluable for seabed classification. Once combined with other data such as aerial imagery and bathymetry an accurate picture of the bottom is established.

An Example of a Side Scan Sonar Survey

The sonar pulse is emitted from either side of the SSS vehicle.

As the sonar is travelling sideways through the water column it can reflect off any objects or features within the water column. When this occurs it also generates a very distinct shadow behind the protruding object. This shadow is not only great for validating a feature but it also gives an indication of the height of the feature above the bottom.

Total Hydrographic’s SSS surveys are conducted exclusively by professionally recognised Level 1 and Level 2 Certified Hydrographic Surveyors, assessed by the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) through the Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute. 

Our staff have tertiary qualifications and experience in Hydrographic Surveying, Geomatic Engineering, Marine Mapping and GIS, Cartography and National Maritime Operations.

A list of certified professionals in hydrographic surveying can be found here.

We are experienced in conducting side scan sonar surveys. Talk to us to see how we can use our knowledge to benefit you.

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