ECDIS Evolves

By: 

Wendy Laursen

MULTIPILOT with FarSounder Integration

Excerpt from the article:

FarSounder, a developer of 3D forward-looking sonar systems for navigation and obstacle avoidance, recently announced an integration partnership with Wärtsilä SAM Electronics. 3D sonar data from FarSounder's navigation systems can now be visualized and controlled directly from all Nacos Multipilot workstations.

Just as GPS changed marine navigation 3D forward-looking navigation sonar is the 21st century's cutting edge tool

FarSounder has dramatically improved its 3D sonar display over the last year. These improvements include target persistence via new image stabilization techniques, improved color mapping and expanded chart overlay, including full 3D images. "All of these innovations are really part of a comprehensive effort to improve situational awareness", says CEO Cheryl Zimmerman. "We recognize that the bridge is very busy and that vessel operators have extremely high task loads. We want to make sure that we are adding valuable information, not noise."

When FarSounder initially launched its products, they were installed as stand-alone systems. The rollout of new ECDIS products emphasizes an ongoing technological transformation. "More and more of our customers are moving toward integrated bridge systems", says Zimmerman. "This integrated approach removes the issue of information overload, where the operator has to analyse information from too  many displays and sensors."

Zimmerman says forward-looking 3D navigation sonar will become more important in polar regions as well as in other challenging, relatively unexplored areas. Even the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that the nautical charts for U.S. Arctic waters are "severely deficient in many of the capabilities that NOAA extends to the rest of the nation."

Adds Zimmerman: "Just as GPS coupled with electronic charts, and previously radar, changed marine navigation in the 20th century, I believe 3D forward-looking navigation sonar is the 21st century's cutting edge tool for marine navigation. It is the logical technological innovation that opens up the real-time view underwater in front of vessels, just as radar has been used above the water."

For the full article see The Maritime Executive January/February 2016 pages 74-79