Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
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46 Proceedings Summer 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings In the early 1990s, the RDC investigated methods to elec- tronically display navigational information for mariners. This involved developing and testing electronic chart dis- play and information systems (ECDIS). By superimposing charts, a ship's real-time position, and radar on one display, human factors testing showed improved navigation accu- racy, increased awareness of dangerous conditions, and reduced mariner workload. The availability of DGPS infor- mation was critical to developing the Automatic Identifca- tion System (AIS) and ECDIS to enhance safety and aware- ness in the maritime domain. In the mid-1990s, the Research and Development Center spearheaded AIS technology development. After 9/11, the Coast Guard looked to the RDC's experimental network of AIS receivers, as a readily available solution to enhance maritime domain awareness. With the initial network of AIS receivers deployed in 2008, in major U.S. ports, coastal regions, and along inland waterways, the Coast Guard was able to receive signals from AIS-equipped vessels operating as far out as 50 miles from shore. In 2007, the RDC investigated using the AIS VHF data link (VDL), as a method of pushing information to the mariner, while avoiding further congestion on marine voice radio channels. Originally, the VDL allowed shore-based AIS base stations to manage the AIS information traffc fow from the vessels within radio range of the base station. The RDC con- ducted VDL traffc studies and found that it had additional capacity that could be exploited for transmitting critical navigation safety information to mariners. This informa- tion could also be a navigation aid that is displayed on a vessel's electronic navigation display, as either an overlay of an actual physical ATON (synthetic ATON), or as a virtual ATON where no physical ATON is present. The emergence of enhanced navigation technology, such as GPS and other vessel electronic navigation aids, coupled with nationwide AIS deployment, led Coast Guard leaders to look for solutions to optimize the ATON system, while maintaining a high standard of safe navigation on the waterways. The Navigation 2025 Efort In late 2011, the Research and Development Center received a request to assist the Coast Guard in its transition to a 21 st century maritime aids to navigation system, under the aus- pices of the Navigation 2025 program. In early 2012, the RDC held a workshop to facilitate research and development efforts, supporting that transition from predominately physical ATONs toward an optimal balance of physical and electronic ATONs. Concur- rently, the RDC remained heavily involved in AIS development and implementation and related tech- nologies that could be leveraged in this transition. One of the frst RDC tasks under the Navigation 2025 effort was to develop some risk-modeling tools for planning the ATON mix. The tool was a risk-informed, quantitative methodology that compared the perfor- mance of existing and future alternative waterway designs for the western rivers. Initial results indicated that an optimized mix of electronic and physical ATONs could be used without increased risk of colli- sions, allusions, or groundings. The RDC also assisted in building a business case for using a mix of physi- cal and electronic ATONs. These initial actions have paved the way forward for feld tests and demonstra- tions of a mix of physical and electronic ATONs on selected waterways. Solar LED lights used on aids to navigation at Coast Guard Station, Crisfeld, Maryland. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Offcer Lisa Ferdinando. Virtual and synthetic ATONs ("A" icons) mark navigation lanes for San Francisco Bay. U.S. Coast Guard image by Mr. Lee Luft.