4

Vision of the Future: Next Steps

A principal goal of the present study is to set forth a vision of future maritime information systems that will enhance safe and efficient maritime commerce and to analyze the role of technology in achieving that vision. Because of time constraints, this interim report can introduce only briefly some elements of that vision, which will be developed further as the study proceeds and will be incorporated into the final report.

Based on the comments of many stakeholders and the knowledge and experience of committee members, it is apparent that certain components of maritime information systems and certain types of information are especially important in most U.S. port and waterways operations. When future systems are designed, they will be most useful if they can include these diverse components and provide this information, either in the original configuration or in a future expanded design.

Although existing Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), Vessel Traffic Information Services (VTIS), and other navigation information systems in U.S. ports have some technological shortcomings, the state-of-the-art components that are available usually meet or exceed any and all functional requirements as well as requirements for accuracy, reliability, and user adaptability. Thus, technology is seldom the limiting factor in the development and implementation of successful systems. Rather, the most common limitations are related to the compatibility of data and components and the nature of institutional and organizational structures. Resolving these issues will require responsible leadership and consensus on the definitions of needs and management mechanisms.

Taking into account the information and analyses already presented in this report, the purpose of this chapter is to look forward and outline elements and issues to be considered when maritime information systems are developed and deployed in the future. In the first section, some emerging technologies that may be useful in future VTS systems are discussed. The second section is a description of how the study will proceed from this point.

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

Although most of the technology required for implementing VTS is readily available, some advances are emerging that could change the way future systems are designed and operated. New components and systems may offer significant advantages under certain conditions. Technologies of interest range from advances in electronic charting to precise positioning techniques and automatic ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore identification. A number of advances, in combination, may make the automatic plotting of vessel locations, identification, and movements possible using a laptop device that can be carried aboard each vessel. If all vessels within a given area were equipped with proper transponders, then these automated systems could replace the costly radar surveillance of large port regions.

The precise positioning of single vessels with the global positioning system (GPS) and differential GPS (DGPS) is already available in many U.S. ports and waterways today. The DGPS system combined with an electronic chart is the basis of the laptop navigators used by the Delaware Bay pilots (see Appendix D ). This technology can locate every vessel with a pilot on board within the channel in the port. Under these conditions, the pilot can navigate the vessel precisely but cannot receive information about other vessel traffic. Other new technologies that might be developed over a longer period of time include: intelligent or expert systems; virtual environment technology to enhance user options; nanotechnology and miniaturization that will make smaller, portable devices available; and shared models of situations or solutions to navigation problems.

To monitor all vessel traffic within a given region, most VTS systems rely on radar or closed-circuit television (and, more recently, automatic identification systems) for surveillance data. However, new systems have been developed that can provide automatic locations for many vessels and then plot their positions automatically on digital charts carried aboard vessels. Extensive testing is under way of an automatic identification system developed in Sweden (International



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VESSEL NAVIGATION AND TRAFFIC SERVICES FOR SAFE AND EFFICIENT PORTS AND WATERWAYS: Interim Report 4 Vision of the Future: Next Steps A principal goal of the present study is to set forth a vision of future maritime information systems that will enhance safe and efficient maritime commerce and to analyze the role of technology in achieving that vision. Because of time constraints, this interim report can introduce only briefly some elements of that vision, which will be developed further as the study proceeds and will be incorporated into the final report. Based on the comments of many stakeholders and the knowledge and experience of committee members, it is apparent that certain components of maritime information systems and certain types of information are especially important in most U.S. port and waterways operations. When future systems are designed, they will be most useful if they can include these diverse components and provide this information, either in the original configuration or in a future expanded design. Although existing Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), Vessel Traffic Information Services (VTIS), and other navigation information systems in U.S. ports have some technological shortcomings, the state-of-the-art components that are available usually meet or exceed any and all functional requirements as well as requirements for accuracy, reliability, and user adaptability. Thus, technology is seldom the limiting factor in the development and implementation of successful systems. Rather, the most common limitations are related to the compatibility of data and components and the nature of institutional and organizational structures. Resolving these issues will require responsible leadership and consensus on the definitions of needs and management mechanisms. Taking into account the information and analyses already presented in this report, the purpose of this chapter is to look forward and outline elements and issues to be considered when maritime information systems are developed and deployed in the future. In the first section, some emerging technologies that may be useful in future VTS systems are discussed. The second section is a description of how the study will proceed from this point. EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES Although most of the technology required for implementing VTS is readily available, some advances are emerging that could change the way future systems are designed and operated. New components and systems may offer significant advantages under certain conditions. Technologies of interest range from advances in electronic charting to precise positioning techniques and automatic ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore identification. A number of advances, in combination, may make the automatic plotting of vessel locations, identification, and movements possible using a laptop device that can be carried aboard each vessel. If all vessels within a given area were equipped with proper transponders, then these automated systems could replace the costly radar surveillance of large port regions. The precise positioning of single vessels with the global positioning system (GPS) and differential GPS (DGPS) is already available in many U.S. ports and waterways today. The DGPS system combined with an electronic chart is the basis of the laptop navigators used by the Delaware Bay pilots (see Appendix D ). This technology can locate every vessel with a pilot on board within the channel in the port. Under these conditions, the pilot can navigate the vessel precisely but cannot receive information about other vessel traffic. Other new technologies that might be developed over a longer period of time include: intelligent or expert systems; virtual environment technology to enhance user options; nanotechnology and miniaturization that will make smaller, portable devices available; and shared models of situations or solutions to navigation problems. To monitor all vessel traffic within a given region, most VTS systems rely on radar or closed-circuit television (and, more recently, automatic identification systems) for surveillance data. However, new systems have been developed that can provide automatic locations for many vessels and then plot their positions automatically on digital charts carried aboard vessels. Extensive testing is under way of an automatic identification system developed in Sweden (International

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VESSEL NAVIGATION AND TRAFFIC SERVICES FOR SAFE AND EFFICIENT PORTS AND WATERWAYS: Interim Report Maritime Organization, 1995; Pettersson, 1995). The heart of this system is a shipboard transponder that operates with the GPS satellite system and is commercially available worldwide. The transponder determines the position, course, heading, speed, and navigation status of each vessel and transmits these data to all vessels. Equipping all vessels with transponders so they could receive and plot the data on electronic charts, would be a major advance in navigation information systems. The same data could also be transmitted to a shore-based VTS, which would use the information for managing regional traffic. Under the proper conditions, this technology (among other approaches) could be a lower-cost alternative to radar surveillance. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is developing standards for a shipborne automatic identification system using VFH digital selective calling techniques. This is a general system that could accommodate many technical advances for improving VTS operations and making them compatible worldwide. These new technologies are a few of the possible additions to standard VTS components in use today, some promising overall cost reductions and others potentially reducing voice radio traffic, which can be more of a distraction than an aid to navigation. New technologies must, of course, be proven before they are adopted, but they should be considered in a long-range development program such as VTS2000. The development strategy of a long-range program should allow for innovations that were not anticipated when the program was initiated, both to optimize system performance and to minimize cost. NEXT PHASE OF THE STUDY In this report, the committee has discussed and evaluated VTS and VTIS systems, which can provide vessel identification, tracking, and monitoring data through shore-based radar and closed circuit television, wireless and land-line communications for both data and voice messages, operations centers, ship navigation data for integrating and distributing information, and ship particulars and vessel planning data. The general category of navigation information systems also includes other traditional navigation aids; paper and electronic charts; and systems that provide water depths, data on tides and currents, weather data, and other environmental information. In the next stage of the study, the committee will consider not only these systems but also the following categories of information: other data, related to safety such notification and monitoring dangerous cargo, plans for loading and unloading vessels, port information on the movement of dangerous cargo, incident alarms, and communication networks linked to emergency response organizations data on scheduling and terminals necessary for planning shipments and loading or unloading operations, terminal operations, and identifying connections to other modes of transportation such as rail and truck law enforcement information necessary for Coast Guard vessel inspections, enforcement of environmental and safety laws, and drug interdiction, and for the U.S. Customs Service role in cargo inspection and enforcement of import/export restrictions information for enhancing the Coast Guard role in search and rescue operations information for national defense planning and protecting national security in an emergency information for collecting fees and duties on cargoes, imports, and exports, including port, terminal, and user fees and U.S. Customs Service duties data for tracking and managing cargo to improve planning and scheduling as well as for real-time notification of shipment locations and scheduling When these categories of information are incorporated into the analysis, new issues are likely to emerge. Some of them will concern coordinating public and private systems and the needs and opportunities for improving efficiency and reducing duplication. Other issues will relate to system design and adaptability. Major constraints to implementing information systems in U.S. ports include system architecture and the institutional management approach to operation. Most existing information systems were developed independently of each other and are incompatible. Current management structures, although some are effective, are often not set up in a way that promotes cooperation and long-term stability. These constraints can be overcome, in part, in the following ways. At the outset, formulating a generic, high-level information architecture for whatever maritime information system is envisioned is vital. This architecture would promote the development and use of compatible components and the interconnectivity of systems. Development should focus on how to link information systems among ships and between ships and shore locations so that appropriate communications protocols, data standards, and software operating systems can be established. Establishing standards is also important, so that vessels transiting U.S. waters can count on uniform procedures, reliable and comprehensible information and directions, a clear line of authority, and criteria for ship-based equipment. Uniform standards can contribute markedly to safe passage by letting all parties know what is expected or required and who is in charge. The standards must be responsive to nationwide needs and responsibilities, such as security, law enforcement, environmental protection, and the promotion of efficient commerce. A final important element is facilitating the establishment of local port management partnerships to coordinate overall design and acquisition, a concept introduced in Chapter 3 . Where appropriate, both public and private

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VESSEL NAVIGATION AND TRAFFIC SERVICES FOR SAFE AND EFFICIENT PORTS AND WATERWAYS: Interim Report sectors should be involved. These partnerships would establish the requirements for and the specific design of individual local port systems and address specific problems with system implementation and operation. Once a system is in use, these groups could also provide a structure for operating management. SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE In the next phase of the study, the committee will investigate the development of the architecture of a generic system. The investigation will probably involve consideration of elements for making the system scaleable, evolutionary, and logically distributed as opposed to a system that meets specific requirements. A scaleable design enables system capacity to be expanded or reduced as needed. An evolutionary design allows the system to be expanded incrementally to meet evolving functional needs. A logically distributed design allows the capabilities of each node in the system to be changed without affecting operation of the rest of the system. The preferred approach is to develop a system that supports “learn as you go” operations. The software systems—operating systems, product generation and applications, interface management, data repositories, communications protocols and standards —must be designed to allow for relatively easy modification and addons to accommodate technological improvements and changing needs. Current commercial systems, such as client/server and object-oriented designs, provide such capabilities. If a generic national system were developed, it might allow easy revisions of system-level standards and products, common approaches to information security, and standards for data repositories. A well formulated architecture for the information system that could be combined with a local port management partnership could mean the successful implementation and operation of a state-of-the-art maritime information system. The port management structure must be able to deal with the constraints noted above and to manage future operations. The committee plans to employ process modeling methodology to investigate the most appropriate information architecture. Process modeling is a graphical representation of functions or processes that capture, manipulate, store, and distribute data between a system and its environment and among components within a system. From the point of view of information systems planning, it is important to determine who works with a given system, what data or information they require, when events occur that require data, how the data are processed, where the data need to be maintained or be made available, and why the data are needed (i.e., accurate charts are needed to determine both air draft and bottom clearance). Each organization that uses ports and waterways or oversees operations has different requirements for information to support its objectives. To develop an information system architecture that meets all these requirements and promotes safe and efficient maritime commerce, it is important (1) to identify these organizations and their business processes, (2) to determine the data to be collected and the information to be provided, (3) to map this information among organizations, (4) to define the gaps or discontinuities (i.e., areas where timely and accurate data are not collected, provided, or disseminated appropriately), and (5) to provide a plan that integrates technologies that fill gaps and promote the efficient flow of information. Information needed for safe operations cannot be separated from information needed for efficient operations. Similarly, a well conceived system that meets the needs of vessel masters would probably improve operations for other stakeholders, such as terminal operators. Although various stakeholders have unique requirements, they all have a stake in improved safety and efficiency. SUMMARY State-of-the-art components are available to meet navigation information system requirements for accuracy, reliability, and user adaptability. However, emerging technologies and future advances may improve performance and reduce costs. Chief among these recent advances are precise positioning transponder technology combined with digital charting to facilitate automatic tracking and voiceless communications. This interim report is limited in scope and does not address some key elements of a future vision for maritime information systems. Issues such as waterways management, port operations, and cargo management will be addressed as the study progresses. A key focus of the next phase of the project will be the development of a high level system architecture that can accommodate technological advances and the changing needs of users. The final report is expected to encompass a broad assessment of maritime information systems and the most appropriate technology and institutional structures for developing and deploying it. The committee will also attempt to address the issue of the lack of adequate, usable data in U.S. ports for the purpose of measuring the benefits of specific maritime information systems in terms of safety and efficiency. The issue (discussed in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 ) relates to whether or not VTS and other systems reduce the rate of accidents and increase efficiency as well as how lessons from successful foreign systems could be used to justify enhancements at U.S. ports. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that world class ports in other countries benefit economically from VTS and related systems, the committee has not yet prepared a factual assessment of these benefits. In the second phase of this study, the committee expects to analyze specific aspects of foreign VTS and other systems.

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VESSEL NAVIGATION AND TRAFFIC SERVICES FOR SAFE AND EFFICIENT PORTS AND WATERWAYS: Interim Report REFERENCES International Maritime Organization (IMO) . 1995 . Navigational aids and related matters: VHF transponder using the GP&C (GNSS) technique . NAV 41/INF. 11. Technical information paper submitted by Sweden to the Subcommittee on Safety of Navigation. July 19 . London : IMO. Pettersson, B. 1995 . Automatic ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore transponders . Seaways (March 1995) : 3–5 .