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The Use of Portable Pilot Units (PPU) Lee Alexander,  MJ Casey
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The Use of Portable Pilot Units (PPU) Lee Alexander, MJ Casey

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The use of electronic navigation equipment onboard maritime vessels continues to increase, worldwide. The results of a recent Canadian study provide clear evidence that maritime pilots know what …

The use of electronic navigation equipment onboard maritime vessels continues to increase, worldwide. The results of a recent Canadian study provide clear evidence that maritime pilots know what types of equipment to use -- and how to use them.

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  • Dr. Lee Alexander is a Research Associate Professor in Electronic Charting.
  • Coastal Explorer
  • Traffic loads at 0700 and 1700
  • ARINC PilotMate
  • Raven WheelHouse
  • Marin
  • Transcript

    • 1. Use of Portable Piloting Units by Maritime Pilots Dr. Lee Alexander University of New Hampshire Michael J. Casey IIC Technologies
    • 2. Portable Piloting Unit (PPU)
    • 3. Background
      • On St. Lawrence River, a federal government initiative to improve navigation safety by increased use of electronic chart-related equipment and services.
      • St. Lawrence River E-Navigation Project
        • Voyage preparation
        • Voyage and portable navigation system
        • Voyage condition analysis
      • For Laurentian Pilots, to use PPUs with:
        • Electronic charting
        • ENC data
        • AIS broadcast
        • Internet access
    • 4.
      • Laurentian Pilotage Authority and Port of Montreal commissioned a study:
        • Find out what other Pilotage organizations are using for PPUs.
        • Investigate options on financing, ownership, and operational/technical aspects.
        • Use results to make informed decisions on acquisition and use.
    • 5. Study Approach
      • Financial – What is the cost? Who pays?
        • Initial cost of components
        • Ongoing operational costs
        • Operational financing options
      • Organizational – Who is in charge?
        • Ownership options
        • Legal and regulatory considerations
      • Operational – What is the optimum type equipment?
        • Technical requirements
        • Use in relation to other shipboard nav equipment
        • Direct/indirect benefits
        • Estimated life-cycle costs
    • 6. Study Methods
      • Seek advice on key persons to contact
      • Develop a List of Questions to ask
      • Conduct telephone interviews
        • Conference call; often with two pilots from same pilotage organization
      • Interviewed 20 pilots :
        • Canada
        • USA
        • Europe
        • Australia/New Zealand
    • 7. Findings
      • No single PPU system is capable of meeting all needs.
      • Consensus we found pertains more to process of choosing or designing a system.
      • Each Pilotage organization:
        • Formed a group of seasoned pilots.
        • Determined what are the crucial navigation-related pilotage issues in their region.
        • Focused attention on most important issue.
        • Built a PPU system to solve that specific problem.
        • Worked in cooperation with port authorities and other government agencies.
    • 8. Fraser River
      • Main Concern : the river bed is constantly
      • changing…
      • PPU system:
        • Use sounding data 12-24 hrs after it is acquired by Port Authority.
        • Apply as overlay on chart data.
        • Rely on real-time water level information.
        • Establish partnerships with port authority & public works.
    • 9. Fraser River Pilotage
    • 10. Fraser River Pilotage
    • 11. Fraser River Pilotage
    • 12. Colombia River
      • Main Concern : knowing the location and
      • movement of other vessels
      • PPU system:
        • Use of AIS is crucial.
        • PPU computes a “meeting point” (time and location for ownship other vessel(s).
        • Use recent dredging and channel survey information obtained from Army Corps of Engineers.
    • 13. Electronic Chart + AIS = Decision Support Source : Capt. Paul Adams, Columbia River Pilot Assoc. Display of Portable Pilot Unit (PPU) used by Columbia River Pilots
    • 14.  
    • 15. Halifax Harbour
      • Main Concern : air draft underneath two suspension
      • bridges
      • PPU system:
        • Relies on DGPS mounted on bridge to provide precise height (centimeter level, 24/7/365)
        • Employs real-time and tidal model information to forecast predicted water levels
        • Uses AIS binary broadcast to send information to PPU
    • 16. Halifax Harbour
    • 17. Halifax Harbour
    • 18. Tampa Bay Pilots
    • 19. Delaware Bay
    • 20. European Ports
      • Main Concern : maneuvering/ docking VLCCs and LNGs
      • PPU system:
        • Use state-of -art DGPS receivers (dual-antenna & RTK ) for positioning
        • Laser-gyro sensors for rate-of-turn and closing distance.
        • Have both “Full” system PPUs (for docking) and “Lite” for transiting
    • 21. Port of Antwerp
    • 22. PPU Equipment
      • Hardware
        • - Of 500 PPUs surveyed, over one-half are ruggedized notebooks
        • - Most pilots allowed to chose their own equipment
        • - Screen size 10-15” ; 15” is most popular
        • - Most use ship’s power, but carry batteries (3 hrs)
        • - Weight not a major concern; use both hard & soft packs
      • Software
        • - No consensus on what to use (widely differing views)
        • - Most software is “customized” to meet specific needs
        • - N. Am pilots prefer simple displays, but with a wide selection of options (based on current situation or task at hand)
      • EC Data
        • - Most use S-57 ENC or RNC data provided by hydrographic office
        • - But, rely on much larger scale data provided by other government agencies
        • - Innovative use of other geo-spatial info (i.e., Google Earth)
    • 23. Sensor Interfaces
      • GPS/DGPS
        • - Most pilots use ship’s GPS/DGPS position provided by Pilot Plug
        • - Many carry their own GPS/DGPS units and will deploy – if needed
        • - European pilots use RTK GPS for precise docking
      • Heading
        • - Obtain heading info via Pilot Plug
        • - Some now use special dual-antenna DGPS for heading
        • - European docking pilots use rate-of-turn sensors
      • AIS
        • - All pilots access via Pilot Plug
        • - But, Pilot Plug often performs poorly (wiring problems, wrong baud rates, poor mechanical design); this is improving.
      • VTS – Only pilots in very busy ports feel a need to integrate VTS info
      • Internet access – Very few want to access while underway; see future benefits, but currently have “wait and see” attitude.
      • Wireless or hardwired – Widely differing views as to what is suitable; among wireless supporters, two different camps ( Bluetooth & WiFi )
    • 24. Financial
      • Most pilots use conventional, notebook computers costing ~$2,500.
      • Portable DGPS: $1,000 - $3000.
      • Software: varies widely from $400 - $8,000; depends on supplier and what approach taken.
      • Docking systems: $70,000 - $80,000
      • Hardware is owned by Pilotage Organization or separate legal entity of it.
    • 25. Operational
      • Once onboard, pilots have PPUs up and running within 2-3 minutes.
      • If using own DGPS, adds additional 5 minutes.
      • Updating and route planning done prior boarding.
      • Ship parameters (length, beam, draft, etc.) usually done prior to boarding.
      • Maintenance carried out yearly; with more than 30 PPUs, often have a full-time technician.
      • Some Pilotage Organizations take PPU training very seriously, while others less so.
    • 26. Legal/Regulatory
      • Most pilots were reluctant to discuss.
      • Any information provided was usually qualified as personal views – not policy.
      • Relatively few were overly concerned about liability issues.
      • Felt that a PPU was primarily a tool to be used in performing their job.
    • 27. Main Finding
      • There was no general agreement as to what is the “best” PPU. No one PPU system is capable of meeting all needs.
      • In using PPUs:
      • Maritime Pilots know what information is needed, and how to obtain and use it.
    • 28. Implications for a HO
      • The timeliness of the data is often more important that its accuracy or level of content.
      • Overlays of decimeter contour lines or depth areas are relied on more than the information contained in ENCs.
      • Specialty ENCs are widely used and made for specific uses (e.g. docking charts)
      • Pilots can be a constant source of new information about the quality of the chart data as they are often the first mariners to use it.
      • Qualifying the data in terms of accuracy and currency is now perhaps a HO’s most important role in promoting the use of electronic charts.
      • The evolution of the nautical chart is underway and being led by mariners who are largely unconstrained by tradition.
    • 29.
      • To obtain a copy of the complete Report:
      • “ Use of Portable Piloting Units by Maritime Pilots”
      • Go to: http:// ftp.ccom.unh.edu
      • Enter: your e-mail address
      • Click on: Download
      • Look in folder: “ Use of PPU Study ”