News - Summer, 2016
New Product Announcement: SeaScape With SoundTracksTM

Update: December, 2016:

"SeaScape With SoundTracks" (below) now includes position calibration of passive hydrophone arrays and individual acoustic pingers. The "Pinger Cal" is similar to our "Mooring Calibration" support in all three of our programs: SeaScape, WorkBoat and M-Cal. It can be used to locate (i.e., calibrate) a bottom pinger for pinger-driven LBL navigation, or, for emergency location of downed aircraft or disabled submarines, etc. The Pinger Cal requires a very accurate clock interfaced to the SeaBox hardware and fortunately, Master Clocks with sufficient accuracy are available and affordable now. Look for more discussion of these passive calibration techniques in the months to come.

Update: August, 2016:

S.E.A. is planning Fall land demonstrations of SeaScape With SoundTracks in Western Washington. If you're interested, CONTACT US and let us know when a good date is for you. The sessions will demonstrate the 'passive array' case of navigating on an eight RF microphone array and also present considerable material on the theory and practical aspects of passive, acoustic navigation.

SeaScape With SoundTracksTM

Software Engineering Associates is announcing its new, eight-channel, acoustic receiver system for passive navigation of underwater vehicles including AUV's, ROV's, manned-submersibles and other sound sources on long baseline transponder or hydrophone arrays. Consisting of an external, high-speed, Eurocard-based digital signal processor with its own PC software app, pre-amplifiers and one to eight hydrophones, SeaScape With SoundTracks is ideal for a whole range of navigation missions including:

♦ Ship-based navigation of AUV's with integrated navigation systems on LBL arrays

♦ Silent, manned- or unmanned-submersible navigation on pinger-driven, LBL arrays

♦ Torpedo or submarine sonar calibration ranges using hydrophone or wired transponder arrays

♦ Multi-vehicle navigation around permanent underwater installations using hydrophone or wired transponder arrays

♦ Harbor surveillance / intrusion detection with hydrophone or wired transponder arrays

♦ Navigation of anti-mine vehicles on hydrophone or wired transponder arrays

♦ Even whale location using hydrophone arrays!


Harbor Security


The receiver system application called "SeaBox" runs on the same PC as SeaScape or anywhere on a network accessible by SeaScape using TCP/IP protocol. Using high-speed USB communications, the receiver's setup, operation and data are controlled by the SeaScape navigator and seamlessly integrated with SeaScape's full suite of GPS, USBL, DVL and other LBL operations. SeaBox hardware includes eight channels of full 16-bit, sampled and held data capable of eight million samples/second total along with very capable DSP operations.

Configuration
SeaScape's "SeaBox" Configuration Dialog


SeaScape With SoundTracks uses advanced DSP techniques in both the receiver and SeaBox cpu's. SeaBox lets the operator fully analyze his/her acoustic environment with real-time signal and FFT plotting including regular, waterfall and histogram plots. Navigation plots include full visuals and statistics on all captured, matched-filter buffers used to present channel time-of-arrival data to SeaScape which computes fix solutions using our "Hyperings" algorithm and other advanced techniques. The operator can apply digital filters to all channels including low-pass, high-pass, narrow-or-wide band-pass filters or no filtering.

Analysis  Navigation
SeaBox's Analysis and Navigation Tabs


One key feature of the new system is a facility to record one's sound sources (transponders, responders, pingers, etc.) and convert them to signal templates used by the DSP in signal detection and verification. A signal template designer/editor is now also included in SeaScape which supports monotone, chirp and encoded signal design using MSFK or PSK encoding for downloading to SeaBox. Plus any template design can include envelope shaping for even more precise signal detection. The bottom line is that SeaScape With SoundTracks can support anyone's simple or complex sound sources for precise navigation.

Encoding Design
Signal Template Designer With Encode Capability In SeaScape


Template Design
Signal Template Designer With Encode Capability In SeaScape


An additional bottom line for SeaScape With SoundTracks is finally knowing what your acoustic environment is "doing to you," as we like to say. So many systems have been produced by companies over the years that offer very little help in analyzing your noise environment. Sea state noise, vehicle noise, ship self-noise, biological noise, multi-path problems as a function of bottom bathymetry, etc... - all now visible and analyzable by the navigator to take the blind assumptions out of underwater navigation.

Matched Filter
Matched Filter Recovering 3+dB Signal From Noisy Background


S.E.A plans to offer various off-the-shelf hydrophone and cable options with the new system to accommodate user needs. These will include hydrophones with/without built-in differential preamplifiers and various cable lengths and types. Hydrophone mounting design for ship-based operation is also under development.

Some of our clients will recognize this new hardware/software product as the much-discussed "What Do You Want To Do Today?" box which has its genesis decades ago when we could only hope for fast-enough digital signal processors. While they've been here for some time, we're finally catching up and making the box a reality!   As you can imagine, this technology has acoustic applications on land, as well. So, stay tuned for more details on SeaScape with SoundTracks!

AUV Nav


Read the SeaScape With SoundTracks Brochure. (5 Mbytes)


Older News - SeaScape Ver. 5.40+

After a very intensive coding effort over the winter of 2014-2015, SeaScape 5.40+ is now available with a host of new features and improvements including statistical, USBL performance monitoring and analysis, improved server/client socket handling, faster and more extensive sound velocity profile processing, more visual aids for watchstanders, and more. We think our clients are going to particularly like the new USBL performance analysis tool which allows them to log / analyze their USBL system's output from cruise-to-cruise or year-to-year (image below). Navigators can use this new tool to keep tabs on the all-important attitudinal calibration of their UltraShort BaseLine (USBL) head which is vital to their operations.

USBL Evaluation

2015 University of Washington RSN Cruise Wrap-up: In a word, awesome! If you're interested in the most successful installation of a massive undersea observatory ever, go read the following links (which will save me a ton of writing here!). 2015 marks the completion of six years of involvement in providing multi-ship navigation for the installation of the world's largest undersea observatories: the University of Victoria's "Neptune Canada" (ONC) and the University of Washington's "Regional Scale Nodes." (OOI)

VISIONS' 15 Expedition (ROPOS)

VISIONS' 15 Expedition (University of Washington)

VISIONS' 14 Expedition (ROPOS)

VISIONS' 14 Expedition (University of Washington)


Calibration software upgrades: We've also been busy this year upgrading PMEL's various calibration systems with Windows 7 versions of our programs. For systems that use GPIB I/O, support is now provided for the NI GPIB-RS232 Converter which, while requiring a different programming approach, seems to be working well.


Old News

Okay, once again, I apologize for not updating this more often, but, hey, a guy can be "semi-retired," right? Or at least try to be!

The summer of 2013 saw a lot of Regional Scale Node (RSN) work with CSSF/ROPOS and the University of Washington along with a large list of improvements and additions to SeaScape and WorkBoat and programs like our Hot Fluid Sampler (covered elsewhere somewhere around here). This development work has carried over into 2014 with more additions to our programs and a very ambitious cruise plan for this summer (2014). So, stay tuned for more on this... like I'll get around to updating the news by next year, maybe! Even with new pictures!

That's sort of what's new around here... but keep reading... there's always more!

SeaScape / WorkBoat 5.40+, M-Cal 1.08

For all you mooring calibrators, all three of our navigation program releases now support the newer the UDB-9000 series from Teledyne-Benthos as well as the 8011M deck set from ORE. The Teledyne-Benthos is a full-featured commanding transceiver with built-in acoustic modem and the UDB-9400M is a hot, new multi-channel LBL transceiver (and, yes, our 'SeaScape' now supports it!). The 8011M is a modern, programmable version of ORE's older 8011A with many improvements. We look forward to hearing many stories of successful mooring cal's with these new transceivers! Maybe even some new LBL exploits!
In addition, for SeaScape and WorkBoat users, ROV/AUV/SUB navigators now have more power tools than ever: cable laying management system, active mapping output to "OziEplorer(TM)" (Des Newman's company, D&L Software Pty. Ltd., of Australia), enhanced navaid library management, multiple CAD .DXF files linked/rotated on your nav grid, powerful DXF and print previews, polymorphic track line and track lane constructions usable for any purpose (cables, lanes, vehicle tracks, etc.), improved navigation aids rendering, exporting most any grid objects as DXF drawings, compound ruler tool, advanced bottom plotting/logging, better communications with ROV console and bridge WorkBoats... The list is long. Our "ROV navigation flagship" client, CSSF ("ROPOS") will be using all these new features this year - and hopefully in coming years - in RSN, VENUS and NEPTUNE (ONC) projects in the north Pacific. See how WorkBoat and SeaScape get used.

Download the SeaScape Version 4 Brochure (PDF) (old but still useful)

"M-Cal Version 1.08" - Dedicated Mooring Calibrator Program
WorkBoat's little cousin : "M-Cal." The newest of our nav programs (2004), M-Cal makes it extremely easy to calibrate the position of acoustic releases for any purpose: buoy anchors, sub-surface moorings, deep ocean instrument packages, hydrophone arrays, etc. M-Cal is "checklist-driven" keeping even the most casual navigator on top of the problem of acoustically positioning their expensive bottom packages.

M-Cal screen

M-Cal now supports seven acoustic transceivers including the popular EdgeTech 8011A, 8011M and PS8000, the Benthos DS7000, UDB-9000 and UDB-9400 and their ATM880 ranging acoustic modem, and the LinkQuest acoustic modem. Mobilizing in just minutes, M-Cal inherits WorkBoat's I/O intelligence including the ability to feed the program UDP and TCP NMEA-0183 data over a LAN. With extensive HTML Help sub-system, navigators can even train themselves with a sophisticated simulator where they perform mock mooring calibrations and become familiar with the program.

Download and read the M-Cal Help


Three Ships, 2-1/2 Months, ROPOS and NEPTUNE-Canada (old news - but hey, the pictures are still fun)

Or how my software and I spent my summer vacation !
First of all, there's no way to sum-up this adventure without writing thousands of words. Therefore, to read-up on the Neptune-Canada project, (and save me from this daunting task) go here first! or directly to their installation blog (Wiki). (And then come back for a few more pictures.)

ROPOS Console

ROPOS Console

ROPOS Console

ROPOS Console

Launching ROPOS

Launching ROPOS

Launching ROPOS

Working with the C/S Lodbrog

ROPOS With Instrument Platform

Deck Full

Deck Full

ROCLS1

ROCLS2

Navigation Station

Navigation Software

This was so massive an undertaking by Canada, The University of Victoria, The Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility (ROPOS), the research vessels R/V's Atlantis (WHOI) and Thompson (University of Washington) along with Alcatel-Lucent and its cable ship, the C/S Lodbrog - and hundreds of scientists, engineers and contractors around the world from various universities and institutions - that I'm still trying to figure out how to properly write about it!! I do know that I'm humbled to have been asked to navigate for such an undertaking and to have supplied nav software on all ships involved in the project.

~Jim