Ground Penetrating Radar
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A practical guide on using SPOT-GPR, a freeware tool implementing a SAP-DoA technique
Simone Meschino and Lara Pajewski
Full text: PDF [1.5 MB, open access]
Abstract: This is a software paper, which main objective is to provide practical information on how to use SPOT-GPR release 1.0, a MATLAB®-based software for the analysis of ground penetrating radar (GPR) profiles. The software allows detecting targets and estimating their position in a two-dimensional scenario, it has a graphical user interface and implements an innovative sub-array processing method. SPOT-GPR was developed in the framework of the COST Action TU1208 “Civil Engineering Applications of Ground Penetrating Radar” and is available for free download on the website of the Action (www.GPRadar.eu).
Keywords: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR); detection and localization of buried structures; Ssub-array processing (SAP); Direction of Arrival (DoA) algorithms; matched filter technique.
SPOT-GPR  stands for “Sub-array Processing Open Tool for GPR applications” and is a MATLAB®-based software for the analysis of ground penetrating radar (GPR) profiles, with the main purposes of detecting and localizing targets. The tool comes with a graphical user interface (GUI) and implements an innovative sub-array processing (SAP) method, which exploits smart-antenna and radar algorithms. SPOT-GPR was developed during three Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) funded by European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST, www.cost.eu) and carried out in the framework of the COST Action TU1208 “Civil Engineering Applications of Ground Penetrating Radar.” The software is available for free download on the website of the Action (www.GPRadar.eu).
The input of the software is a GPR profile (otherwise called ‘B-scan’ or ‘radargram’ by the GPR community). This is partitioned in sub-radargrams, with just a few traces (‘A-scans’) per sub-radargram. The multi-frequency information enclosed in each trace is exploited and a dominant direction of arrival (DoA)  of the electromagnetic field is calculated for every sub-radargram. All the estimated DoAs are triangulated and a pattern of crossings is obtained, which is more densely populated around target locations. Such pattern is filtered, in order to remove a noisy background of unwanted crossings, and is then processed by applying a statistical procedure. Finally, the number of targets and their positions are predicted. For DoA estimation, SPOT-GPR uses the MUltiple SIgnal Classification (MUSIC)  algorithm, in combination with the matched filter technique . A description of the method implemented in SPOT-GPR, including detailled information about its advantages and limits, is found in .
SPOT-GPR was successfully tested on GPR synthetic radargrams, generated by using the open-source finite-difference time-domain simulator gprMax  (www.gprmax.com). Moreover, it was compared with MATLAB® codes implementing two different methods, with good results: a classical hyperbola analysis based on a minimum mean square error technique  (see ), and an advanced algorithm for the localization of hyperbola apexes and characteristic points based on artificial neural networks and pattern recognition [7-9] (this comparison is not yet published at the time when this paper is written).
The present paper aims to provide practical information on how to use SPOT-GPR and includes some examples. It is advised to read  before reading the following sections of this paper and using the software.
To continue reading, please download the full text: PDF [1.5 MB, open access]
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Unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium of this article is permitted, provided the original article is properly cited. Please cite this article as follows: S. Meschino and L. Pajewski, "A practical guide on using SPOT-GPR, a freeware tool implementing a SAP-DoA technique," Ground Penetrating Radar, Volume 1, No. 1, Article ID GPR-1-1-5, pp. 104-122, January 2018, doi: 10.26376/GPR2018005.
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For information concerning COST Action TU1208 and TU1208 GPR Association, please take contact with the Chair of the Action and President of the Association, Prof. Lara Pajewski. From 4 April 2013 to 3 October 2017, this website was supported by COST, European Cooperation in Science and Technology - COST is supported by the EU RTD Framework Programme Horizon2020. TU1208 Members are deeply grateful to COST for funding and supporting COST Action TU1208. As of 4 October 2017, this website is supported by TU1208 GPR Association, a non-profit association stemming from COST Action TU1208.