e-Navigation Underway 2012 - update

By Brian at January 20, 2012 12:27
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Unfortunately, I had trouble with the on-board internet during the conference which ended today, so I was unable to tweet or post to the blog. I took copious notes, which I will try to summarize and post in a few installments over the next few days.

In the meantme, EfficienSea is posting video of all the presentations; though they haven't got around to mine yet. But you get to listen to the dulcet Icelandic-accented tones of my good friend Omar Frits Eriksson and the other presenters at the beginning of the conference.

Now, a final evening in Copenhagen then return to the States tomorrow.

EfficienSea e-Navigation Underway 2012

By Brian at January 16, 2012 16:43
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I'm on my way to the EfficienSea e-Navigation Underway conference in Copenhagen. I attended this event last year and it was one of the best e-Nav events I've been to. I look forward to more of the same for this year: e-Navigation developers and practitioners exchanging experiences and ideas aboard a vessel where e-Navigation concepts are being tested.

I'm presenting on day 2 of the conference and plan to cover the following topics, although my presentation is a work in progress and will be informed by the presentations on the first day of the conference:

  • Brief overview of the U.S. e-Navigation Strategy
    • Stakeholders and their contributions to e-Navigation
    • Identification of areas that require coordination
  • Test beds and coordinated efforts:
    • Data standardization and information sharing
    • Within the federal government
    • Between government and industry
    • Public-private partnerships
  • Leveraging capabilities on the inland waterways
    • Ohio River test bed
    • Data exchange
    • Coordinated use of communication technologies
    • AIS
    • Web services
  • Lessons learned
  • Future plans
    • River Information Services


I plan to blog during the conference and will be tweeting as @maritimespatial - along with many others if last year is any indicator.


NOAA charges vessels with speeding - collects from three

By Brian at January 13, 2012 07:54
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On 10 January 2012 NOAA issued a press release stating that they had collected payment in full for three penalties issued last fall to vessels for violating speed restrictions off the east coast of the US. Six vessels were cited; presumably the other three are contesting the citations.

The speed restrictions were enacted to protect the endangered Right Whale, of which there are believed to be less then 400 remaining in the world. Details about the endangered whale and the efforts to protect them can be found here.

The release doesn't state, but I assume AIS data was used extensively, if not exclusively in the enforcement actions. One commenter on the gCaptain blog states that a vessel from his company was improperly cited. He reviewed a spreadsheet of data; it may have consisted of the AIS position reports transmitted by vessels suspected of violating the restrictions.

In addition to being used for tracking and enforcement, AIS is also being used to inform vessels about the presence of these whales.  Acoustic sensors off of Cape Cod detect the whales; the detections are used to trigger the creation of AIS application specific messages that are sent out from an AIS shore station. Vessels with charting systems that can decode these messages will be able to see on their charts the areas where whales have been detected.

Image from NOAA: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/images/shipstrike/sma_nov1_midatl.jpg


Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Lockmasters Workshop

By Brian at May 24, 2011 14:11
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The Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Lockmasters Workshop is being held near Pittsburgh Tuesday through Thursday, 24-26 May. This will be an outstanding forum to hear the concerns and needs of the folks actually workng the locks on the inland waterways and Great Lakes.  There are about 45 attendees, most from the Great Lakes and Ohio River area, but also some from other waterways. So far they've covered lock operator training and have an ambitious agenda for the rest of the workshop.

I'll be giving a presentation Wednesday morning on AIS, River Information Services (RIS) and LOMA and I anticipate a lot of questons and hopefully some good discussion. One of our LOMA beta testers will also be presenting his impressions of LOMA, so I look forward to hearing his unvarnished view of how it's working for him.

Here's some information about LOMA:

I can be contacted through blog at maritimespatial dot com for more information and questions.

Coast Guard to suspend IRVMC reporting

By Brian at January 08, 2011 08:37
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The Coast Guard issued a temporary final rule suspending the reporting requirements for CDCs on the inland waterways.

The Inland Rivers* Vessel Movement Center (IRVMC) was established after 9/11 to track dangerous cargoes on the inland waterways.  Instead of using technology (in particular AIS), the Coast Guard mandated reporting at certain locations of vessel location and hazardous cargo.  These reports could be made by almost any means - electronically, or by radio, telephone, fax, email or carrier pigeon possibly.  In the 8+ years IRVMC was in place, little effort was made to shift to a fully-automated reporting system, which would have had the additional benefit of expanding the actual coverage area and probably increasing the security of the reported data.

Belatedly, the Coast Guard and Corps of Engineers are starting to work on prototype River Information Services (RIS) efforts that will ultimately provide IRVMC-like capabilities, and not just for the Coast Guard and not just in support of Homeland Security.  If implemented as envisioned, US RIS efforts will benefit the Coast Guard, the Corps and other Federal agencies; the navigation industry will also benefit from increased efficiency and single reporting of required information to the government.

However, these RIS efforts will take years to develop and implement, especially in these economic times.  It's a shame that the relatively flush years post-9/11 were not used to advance RIS and expanded AIS efforts.  Hopefully the good intentions and dedication of stakeholders, public and private, will overcome the financial hurdles.


*Are there any offshore rivers?

eNavigation 2010 underway in Seattle

By Brian at November 16, 2010 14:43
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The 2010 eNavigation conference is underway at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle.  About 100 participants have already been treated to presentations on identifying problems related to eNav.  Throughout the conference we will work on how to address these problems.

You can follow the conference on this blog and through Twitter - I'll be posting as @MaritimeSpatial and using the #eNav2010 hash tag.  Join the conversation!

8th Meeting of the IALA eNav Committee this week

By Brian at September 20, 2010 07:08
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Attending the IALA eNav8 meeting in St. Germain en Laye, France this week.  Here's the draft agenda, version 3 (it's already been revised to version 4).  You can see there is a lot to be done in 4.5 days.  Obviously I won't be able to keep up with or participate in everything, but I plan to focus on items related to AIS and data standards and interchange.

Photo of the 1st day plenary session, just before we got started - anticipating 80+ attendees:

Another one bites the dust

By Brian at August 28, 2010 09:26
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From USCG press release:

Attu, Alaska – The Coast Guard demolished the 625-foot Long Range Aids to Navigation tower in Attu home of the westernmost Coast Guard unit in Alaska Wednesday before LORAN Station Attu is scheduled to be decommissioned August 26. Due to the deteriorating condition and with no funding for repairs, the station’s 625-foot LORAN tower was becoming an ever-increasing risk of uncontrolled collapse. The Coast Guard began decommissioning its LORAN infrastructure in response to direction from Congress provided in the 2010 budget. LORAN Station Attu ceased transmission of the LORAN signal Feb. 8, 2010 and the Russian-American signal ceased Aug. 1, 2010.

See the video here.

AIS text messaging Marine Safety Alert

By Brian at May 31, 2010 07:05
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The Coast Guard posted a Marine Safety Alert (.pdf) on AIS text messaging that Jorge Arroyo mentioned during his presentation at the RTCM Annual Meeting a couple of weeks ago (noted in this post). The alert covers three areas of AIS use by vessels:

  • Navigation -  while AIS can serve as a valuable situational awareness tool to aid in collision avoidance, the "use of AIS text messaging does not relieve the vessel of other requirements, such as the Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone regulations or of the requirements to sound whistle signals and display lights or shapes in accordance with the International or Inland Navigation Rules."
  • Emergencies - the alert warns against the use of AIS text messages for distress communications, particularly as a substitute for communications via GMDSS equipment.
  • Proper operation - the alert notes that "AIS is only as good as the information provided and exchanged, therefore, users must ensure their unit is always in effective operating condition and broadcasting accurate information" and reminds operators of their obligation to keep dynamic, static and voyage-related AIS data up-to-date.  It provides a link (.pdf) to a guide on shipboard AIS data entry.

There have been stories floating around that AIS has been improperly used in the manner cautioned against in the alert, including at least one investigation (.pdf;  see p. 28) that mentions vessels attempting to contact each other via AIS rather than by radiotelephone resulting in a collision - the so-called "AIS-assisted collision" that has been speculated about since the introduction of AIS.

The use of AIS in emergencies touches on the contentious issue of a navigation system being used for distress purposes - something that we'll likely see more about, as AIS SARTS, AIS equipped EPIRBS and other distress equipment is integrated with AIS.

The complaint heard most often about AIS is thet you can't trust it - we've all heard stories of incorrect vessel names, MMSIs and other data, as well as vessels apparently sailing "sideways" due to improper entry of dimensions or incorrect heading input devices.  This alert is a welcome reminder about these problems and hopefully will help mariners comply with the requirement for proper operation of AIS equipment.

AMSA AtoN Conference

By Brian at May 29, 2010 09:54
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I'm behind on RTCM and other blog updates, but hope to get to them this weekend.  I just returned from the Australian Maritime Safety Agency (AMSA) AtoN 2010 symposium, held in Adelaide, South Australia 24-26 May.  See the press release about the symposium here; I'll post more details about this outstanding event very soon.