The Baskscatter Software Intercomparison Project (BSIP) is part of the Backscatter Working Group: established under auspices of GEOHAB and consisting of more than 300 researchers representing academia, governments and industry.
Although backscatter mosaics of the seafloor are now routinely produced from multibeam sonar data, significant differences have been observed in the products generated by different software when processing the same dataset. This represents a major limitation to a number of possible uses of backscatter mosaics, including quantitative analysis, monitoring seafloor change over time, and combining results from multiple data sources.
With the aim of checking the consistency of the processing results provided by various software suites, the Baskscatter Software Intercomparison Project (BSIP) was launched in May 2018. Software developers were invited to actively participate in BSIP and discuss how the inconsistencies might be overcome and, or at least made more transparent. Since backscatter data processing is a complex and (as yet) non-standardized sequence of steps, the root causes of observed differences in the end-results derived using different software packages are difficult to pinpoint. It is thus necessary to obtain data at intermediate stages of processing sequences.
We provide software developers with several small common datasets collected using different multibeam sonar models and ask them to generate intermediate processing results focused on the output of the first stages of processing (i.e., as read by the software tools) as well as the fully processed results.
To date, the developers of four software packages (CARIS SIPS, MB Process, QPS FMGT, and Sonarscope) have actively collaborated on this project and other interested software vendors are encouraged to participate in this project.