Configuration of Omniscan 450 mounted on Towfish

Tried to upload a jpeg but not sure how to do that…

I want purchase and mount an Omniscan 450 on a towfish, It will connect to the onboard Raspberry Pi 4 which is configured to support WebRTC. The towfish is tethered to a surface Wi-Fi router. The towfish currently has 2 USB cameras which export video to WebRTC on specific udp ports using GStreamer. The video can be viewed in any topside browser via Wi-Fi. I would like to know:

  1. Can the live sonar image from the 450 be forwarded to WebRTC (via GStreamer?) for viewing in a browser similar to how I view the camera output or am I limited to using the app for viewing? Not sure how to configure it so looking for help.
  2. Can I simultaneously forward to the surface computer for storage?
  3. I will mount the 450 for side scanning - not sure yet if I should get the FS of SS. Leaning toward the FS as it avoids housing the electronics in the limited space I have available. Any direction would be helpful.
  4. The towfish speed will be limited to <1m/s and will be anywhere from 5-30 ft from the bottom. What impact can I expect from waves/swells on the quality of the captured image? I expect it should not be much different from a unit mounted on a surface vessel but appreciate any thoughts.
  5. Any other thoughts on operating the unit on a towfish would be most welcome.

I’d appreciate if somebody from Cerulean could comment on this. Thanks.

Good stuff here. Further comments coming.

Thanks. Would certainly appreciate your input.

Hi @jmocarro

  1. The Omniscan does not output video, it communicates with ping-protocol. Our messages are documented here. I recommend adding an Ethernet switch to your towfish, and connecting the Omniscan to that. This will allow all the devices on your network to communicate with the Omniscan.
  2. If you run SonarView on your surface computer, then sonar data will be saved on your surface computer.
  3. The FS can be used for side scanning but it has a wider beam, so it will have less range. The SS is the better transducer for side scanning.
  4. I haven’t tested the Omniscan on a towfish yet, so I’m not sure. My educated guess is that any towfish will outperform a transducer mounted directly to a surface vessel. However I know a few professional surveyors using high-end SS on towfishes, and they don’t operate in choppy conditions if they can help it.
  5. If you can share some more information about your setup, I might be able to provide some more suggestions.


Thanks for the quick response.

  1. I was thinking the 450 had a USB interface so yes I do need to add an ethernet switch.
    I was not thinking it output a video signal. I was more hoping that I could somehow access the display output of SonarView and send a copy via a udp port to WebRTC. This way I could view in a browser with my other content. Or maybe there is some other way to access a copy of the live display image?

  2. Great

3,4,5 Guess I will try out the FS and see how it works out. Will let you know.

Thanks again…

Hi Nick
Not sure if you saw my last note re somehow accessing a copy of the live image from SonarView for display in a browser. Appreciate any thoughts on how to make this happen. If I could direct a copy to a udp port I can use in WebRTC.

If you need it to be in the form of a video stream, I recommend looking into OBS. You could use OBS on the machine that’s running SonarView to create a video stream and expose it over the network. This will probably require substantial computing power.

You could also run SonarView in a docker container, which allows you to use SonarView from any web browser. Perhaps you could use an iframe as a mini SonarView interface. I’m not sure what software you are using to view these webrtc streams, so I don’t know what capabilities you have.

Thanks Nick,
I will take a look at the docker option but I don’t see any documentation on running in a docker container or how to access from browser? Do you have a reference?

Just saw another post on this subject with details.