Relying on experience from more than 4,000 Navi-Sailor installations around the world, Transas Marine has added a number of features to further enhance the functionality of its Navi-Sailor marine navigation systems
. Transas' ongoing R&D efforts are primarily focused on expanded integration with other systems, in providing a wider range of data which can be displayed on the electronic chart screen; and development and improvement of chart plotting features and presentation. Current efforts include:
Integration with VDR
Seamless integration between navigational software
and VDR provides for instantaneous display of all vessel parameters during the entire sailing duration. After the voyage, the information can provide exhaustive data. Such data is proving increasingly valuable for accident investigations, or for analysis by ship operators, who are able to assess the behavior of their ships with greater confidence than ever before.
Integration with AIS(Automated Information System)
As of 2002, all ships of 300 gt and over will be required to carry a transponder. ECS and ECDIS are certainly the most effective platforms to display the transponder information, to be viewed by the navigator. The use of transponder information in combination with radar and ARPA information is especially efficient on an electronic chart background, when all functions and advantages of this equipment can be properly implemented. For ships, which are for example engaged in patrol or surveillance operations, the use of transponders provides a highly effective method of target identification. An automated comparison with the database available on board allows instantaneous discrimination between a friendly or hostile target, between ships holding a fishing license and those without for instance.
Transas has designed a new version of the dedicated Radar Integrator Board. Interfaced with any existing radar, the Radar Integrator converts the radar's video signal to digital form, which allows a radar picture to be overlaid onto an electronic chart. The Radar Integrator Board starts
processing and tracking the target, as well as recording its parameters onto a computer hard disk from the moment the target appears within the radar operating range. Even if the target is beyond the reach of the screen display, the related information is gathered and processed in the same way as when a target is displayed on screen. If the target should become dangerous, CPA and TCPA alarms are generated. Whenever the operator needs data on any of the targets, it is immediately available without the several minutes delay required for the data processing, which is currently the case with ARPA's.
Display of Weather Information
The facility for automated display of weather information on the Navi-Sailor screen, is another significant development on the way to the establishment of a one-man bridge. Unlike other existing weather forecast packages, five-day animated forecasts sourced from the U.K. Meteorological Office can be displayed over the electronic chart, which is an extremely useful tool for proper passage planning. The integration of weather information on the electronic chart helps determine the weather effect on vessel voyage times and fuel consumption, and allows the navigator to avoid dangerous weather conditions. Monitored parameters include pressure, wind speed and direction, as well as a variety of sea state conditions. Delivery of forecasts is completely under control of the user, who can receive the data via e-mail from ship or shore.
Incorporation of Navtex Information
Transas has been able to connect a Navtex receiver to an ECDIS. The dedicated software which is automatically connected, reads off messages arriving via Navtex, extracts the co-ordinates, area, transmission station, topic and other parameters, saves the message onto the hard disk and displays the message mark on the electronic chart. Implementation of the Navtex interface with a navigational system is a further significant step towards automated chart updating service.