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.


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.

RTCM 2011 - Tuesday random items

By Brian at May 17, 2011 14:38
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I saw a brief demonstration of Pharos Marine Automatic Power's iNav AIS analysis software; according to their website: "The first AIS Analyzer software program that gives the AIS network administrator a valuable tool to monitor and analyze Class A, Class B, Base Station and Aton AIS transponder performance on the AIS VDL."  Here's an image from their product sheet:

This is the first time I have seen an actual AIS "slot map" depicted.  It is described in various standards and guidelines, but it always seemed very conceptual to me. It is interesting to see that, as implemented by Automatic Power, it looks a lot like what I had in my mind.

The software also includes other valuable analysis tools, such as graphs of slot usage and VDL loading. You can also dig deeper into the graphs to get data on who is using the slots and what messages are being used. I can really see the value of this particularly in high VDL load areas such as we are seeing in New Orleans. It will be a big help in VDL management, including determining FATDMA assignment and figuring out other ways to reduce VDL loading, such as identifying moored vessels that are still in an "underway" nav status, thus transmitting more frequently than they actually should.


The main focus for today at RTCM 2011 was on electronic charts - basic information on what they are, their use in various applications and the collection and production of ENCs.  A good refresher and some new information.


As usual at RTCM the discussions between presentations and in the vendor suites are as interesting and valuable as the meeting agenda.  Some of us discussed some potential innovative uses of AIS, such as vessels transmitting their depth sounder readings with their position report.  This might allow those entities responsible for surveys (e.g., NOAA and the Corps of Engineers in the US) to monitor waterway depths in real time and get advance notice of potential shoal areas without having to do an expensive survey on their own. Of course there are technical issues, such as ensuring calibration of the sensor, making sure the depth of the sensor is known, whether to create a new AIS message, use spare bits in an existing message or "repurpose" a field in an existing message.  And of course there are policy issues, such as what liability there is for use of these soundings, how to use this information for making survey and dredging decisions and many others.

RTCM 2011: USCG regulatory updates regarding AIS

By Brian at May 16, 2011 10:30
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Larry Solomon from the Coast Guard Spectrum Management office provided his usual informative presentation at the 2011 RTCM Annual Meeting regulatory update session.  He covered USCG proposed changes to Part 80 of the FCC rules which govern maritime communications in the US.

He briefly touched on some problems with the current Part 80 - it has been 25 years since the last comprehensive revision to the regs and there are substantial changes that should be made to make them more usable.  There also are issues with regulations that use "incorporation by reference" (IBR), where another document (e.g., a technical standard) is referenced rather than including the whole text in the regulation. There are approximately 30 IBR updates pending due to hold up at the Federal Register office. Ideally there would be a comprehensive review of the Part 80 rules, but USCG doesn't have the resources to do this (estimated at 6 months to a year's worth of work).

However, there is an interesting proposal to create a new subpart (the currently-unused Subpart Q) to the Part 80 regs solely for AIS regulations. Right now AIS requirements are in various parts of part 80; Subpart Q would gather them together, including: Class A, Class B (SO and CS), AIS-SART, AIS AtoN, AIS testing. One question is whether other aspects of AIS management would fit into this subpart?  Issues such as VDL management, the process for creation and use of application specific messages, and other uses (and prohibitions on use) of the AIS service.

Jorge Arroyo concluded the update with a tantalizing promise that the semiannual regulatory agenda - due to be published any day at reginfo.gov - would include news on the "Final Action" for the AIS carrige requirements regulation. The NPRM was published in December 2008, and final comments were collected by mid-2009. Hopefully this will give us a light at the end of the tunnel for the expansion of the AIS carriage requirements. Jorge also reminded us of the very informative AIS information website he helps maintain with the USCG Navigation Center.

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!

VTS 2012 Symposium - First Announcement

By Brian at October 12, 2010 14:44
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The first announcement has been issued for the 2012 IALA Vessel Traffic Services Symposium, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey in September 2012.  They have also posted their website with preliminary information.

The Symposium topic areas include:

- VTS Role in Maritime Domain Awareness

- Provision of VTS in International Waters

- VTS and e-Navigation

- The Role of VTS in Port/Waterway Efficiency

- VTS Developments in Polar Regions

I hope to attend - with luck by then we will have significantly advanced our e-Navigation and River Information Services (RIS) efforts here in the US.  Perhaps a presentation on "RIS and VTS in the US" or an update on the development of AIS application specific messages that may be useful for VTS would be possible.

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:

Save the date - eNavigation 2010 Seattle 16-17 November 2010

By Brian at August 28, 2010 09:45
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Each fall since 2001, Pacific Maritime Magazine has hosted an extrordinary conferencee on navigtion technology.  It originally started as a conference about AIS; at the time there was a lot of uncertainty in the operational maritime community about what AIS was and how it would affect them.  There had been many other conferences and meetings where AIS was a topic, but they had primarily been focused on the technical development of AIS, and not on how it would actually be used, involving actual mariners and vessel owners and operators.

The implementation of AIS via international and national rules was rapidly approaching; and the timeline for implementation was accelerated by the events of September 11th, 2001, which occurred just before the first conference.  The organizers of the first AIS conference sought to present the non-techincal side of AIS, bringing government representatives to discuss what the regulatory requirements would be, mariners to discuss what they expected and feared from the new technology and industry representatives to discuss what they anticipated the effect would be on them and the maritime industry.

As the concept of e-Navigation developed, the conference organizers recognized that AIS was part of something bigger, so in the mid-2000s the name and focus of the conference was changed.  This year's conference will move the discussion of e-Navigation further, taking a deeper look at the potential problems that may be addressed by e-Navigation, or that may even arise through the implementation of e-Navigation.

You can see the initial agenda here and get informtion about logistics, registration, sponsorship; below are some brief details:


eNavigation 2010:
Technology, Policy and People - Building the Foundation for Fully-Integrated Application
When: November 16-17, 2010
Where: Bell Harbor Conference Center, Seattle, WA USA

Through interactive discussion, presentation of case studies and examination of real world application of navigational technology, eNavigation 2010 will focus on the identification of the gaps between the technologies and the users of that technology with an eye toward collaboratively closing those gaps.
The conference will address:
    * What problems have been found and how does misuse, operator intimidation of system complexity and unobserved systemic failure contribute to modern day casualties?
    * How do we integrate data into the performance of traditional mariners’ skills, in compliance with regulations with and good seamanship?
    * How do we reconcile what mariners need with what manufacturers produce?
    * What can be learned from ongoing uses of eNavigation technology by governments and other shore-based activities?

eNavigation users, afloat and ashore, Regulators, and technology providers are invited to an interactive continuation of the world’s only user-oriented eNavigation conference.

As the conference agenda develops, I'll be posting more information and raising issues that will be open for discussion at the conference.  Of course, check the eNavigation 2010 website for periodic updates.

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.