Sidescan mapping, different devices / formats. Any tips?

We need to create sidescan maps of various sea areas. We currently have a Lowrance Structurscan solution in one of our workboats, and want to acquire a blueboat, in order to be able to do much of the scanning autonomously. It seems most natural to choose an integrated solution, such as for example two Omniscan 450 SS, but it seems that they deliver data in different formats, and I am looking for a software solution that can create maps from several file formats. Any tips here?

The old Extended Triton (XTF) format is compatible with many softwares.
My Lowrance sidescan can record in that format.
Free or cheap softwares is Deepvisions Deep View (Free):

Humminbirds Autochart


High end, Chesapek:

You could also look at SonarTRX:

We’re looking at something similar. I was wondering if we should be going for the Cerulean products for bathy mapping from a BlueBoat or the more tried and tested Lowrance structure scan. @tony-white has done work with a Lowrance in the BlueBoat and produced a guide to do something similar. Does @ljlukis have any thoughts or case studies where Cerulean products did bathy mapping?

Cerulean Omniscan 450 SS on the BlueBoat logs its data in native (ping-protocol) format on the RPi. When replaying files later with SonarView the data can be exported to SL2 or XTF formats. We’re interested in getting feedback on use of these exports and of other formats that would be of interest for us to support.

A point of clarification - while side scan “maps” of the bottom are very valuable to identify the location of interesting features on the bottom, this is sort of a 2D map, so there is limited depth information. Side scan sonar does not produce a bathymetric (3D) map.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, we’re working on that! :slight_smile:

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Hi @GavXYZ -
Having used both, I think the Omniscan produces higher resolution data. The workflow may be easier, especially from a technical standpoint, with the Lowrance. I’ve had no issues taking Lowrance files and reviewing both bathymetry and sidescan data from it in Reefmaster.
The omniscan has the benefit of giving the user feedback in real time. The data clearly has more fidelity, and as @ljlukis mentioned exporting it to the .SL2 format also allows for review in Reefmaster software.
I hope to soon collect data on the same locations with both systems for a better head to head comparison! Hopefully by the end of Q1 '24 I’ll have something to share.

Hi Larry,
Do you know if the data collected from the Omniscan can be imported into Hypack? It would be great if it could be added to the data matrix with GPS, bathy sonar, and water quality sonde data. We should be getting our kit in the next few days and I can run a test to see if it can be imported…


Great, do let us know how it goes with Hypack, and I’m going to get Dan who has written our exporters to comment here also.

Cheers guys. I’m aware side scan /omniscan isn’t for 3D maps but I understand this data can help with post-processing for submerged vegetation .

I don’t know if this is too late, but processes Lowrance sonar logs, creates side-scan mosaics, and also bathymetric, aquatic vegetation, and bottom hardness maps.