Backscatter Working Group (BSWG)

The Workshop “Multibeam Backscatter – State of the Technology, Tools, & Techniques”, organized by QPS and others on 5 May 2013 prior to the GeoHab conference in Rome, gathered nearly 100 specialists of the domain. The main issues discussed were data quality control, the need for normalized acquisition and processing procedures, and the expectation for better documentation from sonar manufacturers and software developers on their respective products.

As a consequence, the Working Group on Sonar Backscatter Data Acquisition and Processing, hereafter Backscatter Working Group or BSWG, was created (decision taken during the general assembly at the end of the GeoHab 2013 conference).

The ultimate intention of the Working Group is that backscatter data acquired from differing systems, or processed through differing software tools, generate consistent values over a same area under the same conditions; and that these data are scientifically meaningful and usable by end-users from various application domains (geoscience, environment, hydrography…).

Within this framework, the purpose of the Working Group is to propose:

To users: guidelines or best practice approaches for the acquisition and processing of backscatter data from seafloor-mapping sonars;

To sonar manufacturers and software developers: recommendations for the improvement and further development of systems and processing tools.

The working group will progress through a series of virtual workshops and circulating documents. The onus will be on a chairing group (see below) to keep the momentum and focus.

Chairing Group:
In the first instance the Working Group is open to all interested parties, but should be led by a chairing group.

To optimize the chances of success and in particular of uptake of the recommendation by the various communities, the Working Group has obtained a commitment from a core number of people who are a from a mix of users of different levels (acquisition, processing, and down-stream users), manufacturers (software and hardware) and research scientists and engineers.

Guidelines and Recommendations 2015 report:

Download here

Stay up to date with the latest BSWG news!

Subscribe to the BSWG mailing list!

Chairing Group Members

Xavier Lurton

Ifremer – Brest, FR

Geoffroy Lamarche

NIWA – Wellington, NZ

Larry Mayer

University of New Hampshire – Durham,NH, US

Tom Weber

University of New Hampshire – Durham,NH, US

Vanessa Lucieer


Craig Brown

Dalhousie University – Halifax, NS, CA

Glen Rice

NOAA – Durham, NH, US

Alexandre Schimel

NGU – Trondheim, Norway

Erin Heffron

University of New Hampshire – Durham, NH, US