Single target detection - single beam (method 2) algorithm

This operator applies the algorithm implemented by Simrad in the EK60 echosounder to identify single targets from echogram data.

See Single target pulse properties for illustrations on how target TS and normalized pulse lengths are determined. The page also offers an illustration of a single target pulse with respect to single beam detection settings.

Refer to Single Target detection algorithms for information about the method that best suits your data.

Variable properties

The operand must be a TS variable.

The following Single Target detection settings are used in the algorithm:



Allowed range

Default value

TS threshold (see note)

dB re 1m2

-120 to 20


Pulse length determination level (PLDL)

dB re 1W

0.01 to 30


Minimum normalized pulse length


0.01 to 10


Maximum normalized pulse length


0.01 to 10


Lines can also be selected for excluding targets above or below a line. Apart from limiting the target detection range, exclusions will also speed up processing, since less data will then be screened for single targets.


  • You should also check the effects of Calibration settings.
  • The operator removes TVG and TvgRangeCorrection before target detection and re-adds TVG and TvgRangeCorrection once targets are detected. The TvgRangeCorrection equation is specified on the Calibration page of the operator. It is initially inherited from the Calibration page of the operand TS variable.
  • In Method 2 operators, the TS threshold is applied to the TS data after the targets are detected. So with the single beam (method 2) operator the TS threshold applies to the uncompensated TS.
  • The default value for PLDL is correct by convention and theory. It is not independent of other settings, and it is not normally changed.
  • The operator uses the EffectivePulseDuration for normalized pulse length associated with PLDL list calculations for Simrad EK80 CW data.
  • See also Using a SoundSpeedProfile: Notes


The algorithm acts on power data on a ping by ping basis. It calculates power data from TS values using the following formula:


TSi = target strength of sample i

Ri = the corrected range of the TS sample at Ri (m) from the transducer.

The corrected range equation is specified by the method for TvgRangeCorrection on the Calibration page of the Variable Properties dialog box for the TS variable.

α = absorption coefficient (dB/m)

The algorithm begins by removing data for which no targets need to be determined (i.e. data outside the exclusions lines) and then processes the data in two main phases:

Phase I: Determine all power peaks that may indicate single targets

In the first stage the algorithm detects all peak values that could indicate the presence of a single target. In order for a power value to be retained as a peak value it must satisfy following peak selection criteria. The criteria are applied in this order, and only samples that pass one criterion are considered in the next.

Peak selection criteria

  1. The power value must be a local maximum. If the local maximum consists of more than one sample with the same TS value, then the first sample in this sequence is used.

  2. The pulse length (n) must be between the set limits, Minimum normalized pulse length and Maximum normalized pulse length.

Pulse envelope determination

The pulse envelope consists of all those samples surrounding the peak sample (p) which are above (peak power - Pulse length determination level).

The pulse length (for the peak selection criteria) is determined as the distance between the first sample (m) and last samples within the pulse envelope.

Phase II: Reject overlapping pulses

Based on the set of peaks obtained in phase I, single targets are determined as follows:

  1. Pulses are screened in order from low to high depth ranges.

  2. The target range (r) is calculated as:

    Note: the term cτ/4 is the equivalent of applying a SimradEx60 TvgRangeCorrection. For TS data derived from power measurements you can also apply this correction to the TS operand directly (on the Calibration page of the Variable Properties dialog box) but you should avoid applying it twice (in the operand and the choice of operator - the method 1 operators do not apply it). If your TS data already has a TVG range correction applied to it, and you know (or can calculate) what it is, you can remove it with this operator (via the Calibration page of the operator).

  3. The target TS value is calculated as:

    TS = Pp + 40log(r) + 2αr

  4. If the target TS value is less than the TS minimum threshold, the target is rejected.

  5. If two target pulses overlap, the one with the lowest TS value is rejected.


n = pulse length

m = first sample in the pulse envelope

p = peak sample in the pulse envelope

ri = range of sample i

r = range of single target (see above)

Pi = power at sample i (see above)

Pp = power at peak sample in envelope

c = sound speed (m/s)

τ = pulse duration (s)

α = absorption coefficient (dB/m)

Single target properties

The table below describes how specific single target properties are calculated. See About analysis variables for a complete list of single target properties

Analysis variable




dB re 1m2

The TS value of the target. The TS is derived from received power calculated by this operator.

See step 3 of Phase II: Reject overlapping pulses (above)

Note: Beam Compensation is unavailable with this algorithm. The analysis variables output by the export include TS_comp and TS_uncomp. In this case the variables are identical.



See step 2 of Phase II: Reject overlapping pulses (above)



Not available for targets detected using this algorithm



Not available for targets detected using this algorithm


  • There is no limit on the number of possible single target detections in a single ping than theoretically possible with the given number of samples.
  • The number of targets detected by the Single beam (method 2) operator will always be greater than or equal to the number of targets detected by the Split beam (method 2) operator. This is because the Split beam (method 2) operator employs the same algorithm above, but the pulses must pass angle criteria as well before being accepted.
  • If you are comparing results with Simrad E telegrams please see Echoview and Simrad algorithms.

See also

About Single target detection
Single target detection algorithms
Echoview and Simrad algorithms
Simrad and Echoview single target detection terminology
Single target pulse properties