Validation of automated supervised segmentation of multibeam backscatter data from the Chatham Rise, New Zealand

  • Jess I. T. Hillman
  • Geoffroy Lamarche
  • Arne Pallentin
  • Ingo A. Pecher
  • Andrew R. Gorman
  • Jens Schneider von Deimling
Original Research Paper

Abstract

Using automated supervised segmentation of multibeam backscatter data to delineate seafloor substrates is a relatively novel technique. Low-frequency multibeam echosounders (MBES), such as the 12-kHz EM120, present particular difficulties since the signal can penetrate several metres into the seafloor, depending on substrate type. We present a case study illustrating how a non-targeted dataset may be used to derive information from multibeam backscatter data regarding distribution of substrate types. The results allow us to assess limitations associated with low frequency MBES where sub-bottom layering is present, and test the accuracy of automated supervised segmentation performed using SonarScope® software. This is done through comparison of predicted and observed substrate from backscatter facies-derived classes and substrate data, reinforced using quantitative statistical analysis based on a confusion matrix. We use sediment samples, video transects and sub-bottom profiles acquired on the Chatham Rise, east of New Zealand. Inferences on the substrate types are made using the Generic Seafloor Acoustic Backscatter (GSAB) model, and the extents of the backscatter classes are delineated by automated supervised segmentation. Correlating substrate data to backscatter classes revealed that backscatter amplitude may correspond to lithologies up to 4 m below the seafloor. Our results emphasise several issues related to substrate characterisation using backscatter classification, primarily because the GSAB model does not only relate to grain size and roughness properties of substrate, but also accounts for other parameters that influence backscatter. Better understanding these limitations allows us to derive first-order interpretations of sediment properties from automated supervised segmentation.

Keywords

Bathymetry Backscatter Geomorphology Substrate classification Angular response 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jess I. T. Hillman
    • 1
  • Geoffroy Lamarche
    • 2
  • Arne Pallentin
    • 2
  • Ingo A. Pecher
    • 3
    • 4
  • Andrew R. Gorman
    • 1
  • Jens Schneider von Deimling
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchWellingtonNew Zealand
  3. 3.GNS ScienceLower HuttNew Zealand
  4. 4.School of EnvironmentUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  5. 5.Christian-Albrechts-University of KielKielGermany

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