Applying Marine GPS

Pilot Boat Beeline - Using Global Positioning Systems to Improve Safety

Commercial and non-Canadian government ships entering or leaving the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia are obliged to engage the services of the Halifax Marine Pilots, who are administered by the Atlantic Pilotage Authority.

The outer approaches to the port of Halifax are exposed to the full force of the North Atlantic, making standard marine navigation a challenge. Pilots are transferred to and from the ships they are conducting via an 18 meter pilot launch. These transfers take place in the outer approaches, compelling pilots at times to transfer during periods of rigorous sea conditions.

To minimize the risk to pilots transferring to and from assignments, and to maintain the safe and efficient movement of shipping during periods of extreme weather, the Halifax pilots assembled an integrated marine GPS navigation package suitable for carriage on the pilot launch for the purpose of improving marine navigation in that harsh environment.

The primary function of the integrated marine GPS navigation package is to allow pilots to use the pilot launch to lead ships inward from the pilot boarding station, to an area where the pilot can be safely transferred to the ship.

This marine GPS navigation package must be able to withstand the high motion dynamics created when maneuvering the pilot launch in heavy seas, and be able to maintain its accuracy and reliability at all times. For these reasons, the NovAtel Beeline global positioning systems Heading sensor (dual antenna, 16 channels, L1/L1, C/A-code) was chosen to be the core of the marine navigation package, interfacing with ARPA radar and an electronic chart display. The Beeline provides the dual function of highly accurate heading and position. The Beeline derived heading is not plagued by acceleration errors associated with more conventional heading sensors used in marine navigation, thereby enhancing the reliability of the ARPA tracking.

The pilot leading a ship from the pilot launch is now able to track that ship by radar, and have the global positioning systems tracking information displayed on the electronic chart. This marine GPS system was fully implemented for the 1999 winter operations. It resulted in the first winter operations in the past ten years free from transfer injuries, and man overboard situations, a significant development in the history of maritime marine navigation.

The use of global positioning systems for marine applications is a growing trend and NovAtel remains a top provider of marine global positioning systems technology.

About NovAtel

NovAtel Inc. is a leading provider of precise global positioning and augmentation technologies designed to afford its customers rapid integration and exceptional return on investment. For information on our products or services, please contact us for more information.

Marine GPS • Marine Navigation • Global Positioning Systems

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