3D displays the next step in efficiency
The C-Vu technology displays radar and AIS data in a 3D format
As part of its VTS technology assessment, ABP Southampton is expected to try some software unlike anything else in existence.
The C-Vu display technology which is already on trial at Milford Haven has created much interest among VTS operators elsewhere because it takes the data provided by a port’s radar and AIS servers and combines it with approved ECDIS charts and reconfigures them into a 3D format.
Developed by GeoVS of Cardiff, C-Vu transforms a traditional radar display into a 3D panorama. Instead of featureless radar and AIS targets, vessels are depicted graphically so that tankers appear like tankers and tugs look like tugs and their relative size, drafts, locations and orientation are drawn accurately and in real time. The trial is now assessing whether this clarity of presentation genuinely enhances situation awareness and ease of interpretation as expected.
To the VTS operator already comfortable with interpreting AIS messages and predicting the behaviour of dots on a radar screen, a C-Vu display may look like a computer game but that is where the similarity ends. The image belies its real-time cartographic accuracy which is achieved by taking the high quality chart data that the VTS operator is already using and converting into a three dimensional image of the port and its traffic. VTS operators can then re-locate their point of view to anywhere within the port and gain an outlook normally denied them. This might be the view from the bridge of a visiting ship or from an angle that shows tugs manoeuvring more clearly.
The system will, in addition, be creating a permanent record of what is happening so any incident can be examined in detail afterwards as clearly as if every vessel was carrying a Voyage Data Recorder.
Although the Milford Haven trial is using AIS and not radar data, Alastair MacDonald, managing director of GeoVS believes that it is already capable of improving safety awareness in any port.
“Our software engineers are adding the radar integration capability and this will complete the picture for the user. Yet we already have a system that can add a vital dimension of safety and reassurance for the tired operator. When the targets on a busy radar display are demanding careful study and interpretation, we believe that a glance at the nearest C-Vu unit will provide the VTS operator with the instant visualisation that will help to cut the risk of mistakes and misunderstandings,” he says.
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