Estimating the shape of a target can be an important task in long range surveillance applications. In certain situations
obtaining an adequate spatial image of a target can be problematic, especially when the object size and distance requires
an exceedingly large receiving aperture, or when significant atmospheric turbulence exists between the target and the
receiver. This paper discusses a simple sinusoidal dithering laser illumination scheme that is capable of recovering low
spatial frequency information about the object based on the reflected flux. The approach is analyzed in the presence of
the corrupting influences of beam jitter. The performance of the method is tested through simulations and laboratory
Beam pointing is critical for laser ranging and imaging applications. Recently a technique has been developed that applies maximum likelihood estimation theory to estimate beam pointing parameters namely jitter and boresight from the statistics of the signal reflected from the target. In this paper we investigate the effect of atmospheric turbulence on this estimator through a wave optics computer simulation. The estimator was developed for vacuum propagation of a Gaussian beam, so its performance under these conditions was unknown. It was found that the estimator tends to provide a value that is associated with a combination of mechanical beam jitter and turbulence wander effects. In general, the estimator produces a value that is larger than the mechanical jitter. This work leads the way to a new estimator that incorporates both mechanical jitter and turbulence effects.