Development of a New Underwater Bathymetric Laser Imaging System: L-Bath

Karl D. Moore Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

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Jules S. Jaffe Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

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Benjamin L. Ochoa Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

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Abstract

The design, construction, and performance of a new high-resolution underwater bathymetric prototype system (L-Bath) with extended imaging capability is presented. The design offers simultaneous reflectance and depth information on a pixel-by-pixel basis so that high-resolution reflectance and bathymetric maps of underwater targets can be provided with exact registration. The design supports operation in shallow coastal waters under daylight conditions where high turbidity and the influence of ambient backscatter are particularly limiting for underwater imaging systems. Its configuration is similar to existing laser line scanning systems but uses a pulsed laser for the source and a fixed field-of-view high-resolution linear charge-coupled device (CCD) as receiver. The pulsed laser allows short camera integration times, thereby reducing the influence of the ambient daylight signal, and the fixed field of view of the detector provides a precision nonmoving multielement receiver with imaging capability. As the laser sweeps across the field of view of the CCD, the position and signal strength of each laser target spot is imaged, permitting a measure of bathymetry and reflectance. Using the CCD, a high-resolution slice through the reflected target spot radiance distribution is imaged so that system resolution can exceed the target spot size. The image of the target spot radiance distribution, modified by in-water scattering and target reflectance, provides new opportunities for image manipulation compared to typical underwater laser line scanning based systems. The simultaneous acquisition of reflectance and bathymetric maps permits discrimination capability between real objects of relief from scene reflectance variations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Karl D. Moore, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, MPL 0238, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093.

Email: kdmoore@mpl.ucsd.edu

Abstract

The design, construction, and performance of a new high-resolution underwater bathymetric prototype system (L-Bath) with extended imaging capability is presented. The design offers simultaneous reflectance and depth information on a pixel-by-pixel basis so that high-resolution reflectance and bathymetric maps of underwater targets can be provided with exact registration. The design supports operation in shallow coastal waters under daylight conditions where high turbidity and the influence of ambient backscatter are particularly limiting for underwater imaging systems. Its configuration is similar to existing laser line scanning systems but uses a pulsed laser for the source and a fixed field-of-view high-resolution linear charge-coupled device (CCD) as receiver. The pulsed laser allows short camera integration times, thereby reducing the influence of the ambient daylight signal, and the fixed field of view of the detector provides a precision nonmoving multielement receiver with imaging capability. As the laser sweeps across the field of view of the CCD, the position and signal strength of each laser target spot is imaged, permitting a measure of bathymetry and reflectance. Using the CCD, a high-resolution slice through the reflected target spot radiance distribution is imaged so that system resolution can exceed the target spot size. The image of the target spot radiance distribution, modified by in-water scattering and target reflectance, provides new opportunities for image manipulation compared to typical underwater laser line scanning based systems. The simultaneous acquisition of reflectance and bathymetric maps permits discrimination capability between real objects of relief from scene reflectance variations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Karl D. Moore, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, MPL 0238, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093.

Email: kdmoore@mpl.ucsd.edu

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