Technology Assessment

   Navigation systems including developments in e-navigation


Navigation systems

D2.4.1.1 Navigation Systems ILS 22April09.pdf

D Morgan ILS

This study provides descriptions of major onboard subsystems which form part of current bridge and navigation systems. These subsystems include:

·          Radar and Automatic Radar Plotting Aids (ARPA)

·          Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)

·          Compass technologies

·          Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS)

·          Long Range Aid to Navigation (LORAN) and eLORAN

·          Automatic Identification System (AIS)

·          Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

·          Voyage Planning and Weather Routing

·          Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

·          Integrated Bridge Systems/Integrated Navigation Systems (IBS/INS)

·          Vessel Traffic Services (VTS)

·          Long Range Identification and Tracking Systems (LRIT)

·          Portable Pilot Systems

The study concludes that the present state-of-the-art subsystems listed above will be the building blocks for e-navigation systems of the future and addresses how they can be integrated to contribute to the efficient collection, exchange, presentation and analysis of maritime information to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services.


It is suggested that the rapid pace of technology and the increased functionality which will be provided on the e-navigation bridge of the future bring with them a need to examine and update the regulations and standards which apply to on-board navigation systems. There is a need for continuing dialogue between the relevant regulatory authorities and stakeholders.


This study has concentrated on the on-board equipment and technologies relevant to e-navigation. Many of these are on-board subsystems of larger navigation related systems (e.g. GNSS, GMDSS, AIS/ LRITS networks). The design of future onboard e-navigation systems must therefore be considered as an integral part of the overall e-navigation concept.

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   Glossary Terms


AIS: Automatic Identification System
Regulation 19 of the IMO SOLAS Chapter V - Carriage requirements for ship borne navigational systems and equipment - sets out navigational equipment to be carried on board ships, according to ship type. In 2000, the IMO adopted a new requirement (as part of a revised new chapter V) for ships to carry automatic identification systems (AISs) capable of providing information about the ship to other ships and to coastal authorities automatically.
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ARPA: Automatic Radar Plotting Aid
A navigator’s assessment of collision risk depends upon his/her knowledge about own ship’s motion and other ships’ motion. The IMO have defined three levels of radar plotting and target tracking aid: 1. Electronic Tracking Aid (ETA) - To be incorporated in Radar equipment on ships of 300 gt. and over, but less than 500 gt. 2. Automatic Tracking Aid (ATA) - To be incorporated in Radar equipment on ships of 500 gt. and over (replacing the requirement for an EPA). On ships of 3000 gt. and over the second radar must also be equipped with an ATA. The two ATAs must be functionally independent of each other. 3. Automatic Radar Tracking Aid (ARPA) - To be incorporated in one radar equipment on ships of 10000 gt. and over. The second unit must incorporate ATA if not ARPA.
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A compass, magnetic compass or mariner's compass is a navigational instrument for determining direction relative to the Earth's magnetic poles. Compass technologies are an essential part of the navigation equipment fitted on maritime vessels and it is a requirement laid down by the IMO that all ships over 150 gross tonnes carry approved compass equipment (see Section 5.2). Over the years several forms of compasses have been developed using different technologies. Those currently fitted include: • Magnetic Compass • Electromagnetic Compass • Gyro Compass - (mechanical and fibreoptic) • Satellite
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The Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS)is a ship-borne real-time electronic navigational system that is capable of integrating navigational positioning system information and ship sensors with Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) to provide a display of ship's position with respect to land, charted objects, aids-to-navigation andunseen hazards.It is capable of providing anti-grounding and anti-collision warnings as well as route planning and monitoring. It is approved by the IMO and must meet the minimum level of reliability and functionality specified in IMO Resolution A.817(19, MSC.64(67) and MSC.86(70).
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e-Navigation is an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) led concept based on the harmonisation of marine navigation systems and supporting shore services driven by user needs.e-Navigation, as defined by the IMO (and IALA and other organisations) is as follows: ‘e-Navigation is the harmonised collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of maritime information onboard and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services, for safety and security at sea and to protect the marine environment.’
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GMDSS: Global Maritime Distress and Safety System
GMDSS is an automated ship to shore distess alerting system that relies on satellite and advanced terrestrial communications links.The system also provides some limited ship to ship communications capabilities, as well as specific Search and Rescue activities such as emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) and search and rescue transponders (SARTs)
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GNSS: Global Navigation Satellite System
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is the standard generic term for satellite navigation systems that provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning with global coverage. GNSS allows small electronic receivers to determine their location (longitude, latitude, and altitude) to within a few metres using time signals transmitted along a line-of-sight by radio from satellites. Receivers on the ground with a fixed position can also be used to calculate the precise time as a reference for scientific experiments.
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IBS: Integrated Bridge System
The IMO defines an Integrated Bridge System (IBS) as a combination of systems which are interconnected in order to allow centralised access to sensor information or command/control from work stations, with the aim of increasing safe and efficient ship’s management by suitably qualified personnel.Performance standards for integrated bridge systems were adopted by IMO in 1996
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INS: Integrated Navigation System
Integrated Navigation Systems are an integral part of an Integrated Bridge System. The purpose of the Integrated Navigation System (INS) is to provide 'added value' to the functions and information needed by the officer on watch to plan, monitor or control the progress of the ship. The INS supports safety of navigation by evaluating inputs from several independent and different sensors, combining them to provide information giving timely warnings of potential dangers and degradation of integrity of this information. Integrity monitoring is an intrinsic function of the INS.
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LORAN: LOng Range Aid to Navigation
LORAN is a long range terrestrial radio navigation system that can be used for air, land and sae navigation.LORAN-C is the latest operational version and operates within the band 90-110KHz over a range of up to 1,299nm providing a typical positional accuracy of 0.25nm.
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LRIT: Long Range Identification and Tracking
The Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) of ships was established as an international system on 19 May 2006 by the IMO as resolution MSC.202(81). This resolution amends chapter V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), regulation 19-1 and binds all governments which have contracted to the IMO. The LRIT regulation will apply to the following ship types engaged on international voyages: All passenger ships including high speed craft, Cargo ships, including high speed craft of 300 gross tonnage and above, and Mobile offshore drilling units. These ships must automatically report their position to the their Flag Administration at least 4 times a day. Other contracting governments may request information about vessels in which they have a legitimate interest under the regulation. The automatic system consists of the shipborne LRIT information transmitting equipment, Communications Service Providers (CSPs), Application Service Providers (ASPs), LRIT Data Centres, the LRIT Data Distribution Plan and the International LRIT Data Exchange. Certain aspects of the performance of the LRIT system are reviewed or audited by the LRIT Coordinator acting on behalf of the IMO and its Contracting Governments. For short range tracking system on ships, more frequent transmission can be achieved by AIS (Automatic Identification System) for VHF Radio range.
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PPU: Portable Pilot Unit
A Portable Pilot Unit (PPU), which is based on a laptop computer, can be described as a portable unit that a pilot brings onboard a vessel to use as a decision-support tool for navigating in confined waters. A PPU helps the pilot to safely navigate into and out of harbours and other areas where obstacles could impede the progress of the vessel. A PPU provides the pilot with accurate, real-time, reliable navigational information to make critical decisions and to provide early detection of variations from the planned route and to take corrective action quickly.
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Radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging) with target plotting is accepted by mariners as the primary tool for collision avoidance and a radar is a legal necessity for the safe navigation of vessels of 300gt and above. The IMO definition of the purpose of a ship’s radar is “to assist in the safe navigation and in avoiding collision by providing an indication, in relation to own ship, of the position of other surface craft, obstructions, hazards, navigation objects and shoreline’’.
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Vessel Traffic Service (VTS)
A vessel traffic service (VTS) is a marine traffic monitoring system established by harbour or port authorities, similar to air traffic control for aircraft. Typical VTS systems use radar, closed-circuit television (CCTV), VHF radiotelephony and automatic identification system to keep track of vessel movements and provide navigational safety in a limited geographical area.
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Voyage Data Recorder (VDR)
The purpose of a voyage data recorder (VDR) is to maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, of information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a vessel over the period leading up to and following an incident having an impact thereon. Information contained in a VDR should be made available to both the Administration and the shipowner. This information is for use during any subsequent investigation to identify the cause(s) of the incident.
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Voyage Planning
Voyage planning is a procedure to develop a complete description of a vessel's voyage from start to finish. The plan includes leaving the dock and harbor area, the en route portion of a voyage, approaching the destination, and mooring, the industry term for this is 'berth to berth'. According to international law, a vessel's captain is legally responsible for voyage planning which consists of four stages: appraisal, planning, execution, and monitoring. These stages are specified in the IMO Resolution A.893, Guidelines For Voyage Planning.
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  Additional Information for Navigation systems including developments in e-navigation
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   Lessons Learned
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   Information Sources
  IHO S-100 Standards
International Electrotechnical Commission
International Standards Organisation
International Hydrographic Organisation
International Telecommunications Union
Internatonal Association of Lighthouse Authorities
Irish Lights
EMSA - EU Maritime Safety Agency
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