Within the Next Generation Recognised Maritime Picture (NG-RMP) project, two major objectives have been focused on: firstly the integration of several vessel information data sources that are not currently used by the Irish Navy Services for generation of the RMP, ranging from S-AIS data, CCTV footage available in major ports, and vessel data from port and shipping authorities; secondly the addition of an automated decision support system which will use the underlying data captured from the multiple data sources to generate a dynamic and improved RMP. The decision support system will use state of the art data mining, data analysis and simulations to provide for early identification of unusual behaviour of vessels and to alert RMP operators for planning of future investigation of these vessels by the INS. By using these emerging and state of the art technologies and the approach described above, the Irish Naval Service expects to improve its efficiency and capabilities through a better assessment of potential "vessels of interest" that need to be investigated further by both personnel within the operations centre and deployed naval vessels.
Users and their needs
The primary users of the NG-RMP system are personnel interested in the recognised maritime picture of the Irish Coastal Waters within the Irish Naval Services (INS). These personnel would be operators and commanders within the command centre at the INS HQ who are monitoring the coastal waters. Additionally, captains of INS vessels patrolling the area of interest will use the NG-RMP system to obtain a common operational picture and information on identified vessels. External organisations such as the Irish coast guards and the government customs services would also be end users of the NG-RMP system.
The needs defined by the end users are to integrate a number of vessel information data sources each from diverse domains, which can be correlated and interpreted to form a single RMP of the Irish Coastal waters. Highly accurate electronic naval charts (ENC) are required for representation of the RMP to an operator. The need for such accuracy is due to different naval laws being applicable depending on the distance of a ship from a coast line. The system uses standard NATO symbology for the representation of vessels. Automatic identification of ‘vessels of interest’ based upon the interpretation of a number of rules is performed by the system. The users also have the ability to create exports of information within the system for possible legal court cases. Furthermore, external access for organisations to view the RMP using standard web technology is provided. Finally, the NG-RMP system provides a comprehensive security system for access to data and features based on a user’s defined role and rights.
User country: Ireland
Service/ system concept
The service concept is the provision of a complete end-to-end solution for the generation of an advanced recognised maritime picture (RMP) for the Irish Naval Services (INS). The system will provide support using multiple disparate external data sources ranging from space to terrestrial assets for RMP generation. The service visualises the solution onto operators workstations and provide support during daily INS HQ Irish coastal water monitoring with the INS operations centre.
Unlike other Recognised Maritime Picture (RMP) systems, the key advantage of the NG-RMP system is its functionality, enhanced automated decision making, inexpensive costs and use of satellite AIS vessel location technology. The system is developed using commercial off the shelf technology.
Key Benefits of Next Generation RMP:
- Integration of existing inputs to enhance maritime picture
- Integration of diverse, novel and emerging data sources to improve vessel data
- Enhances decision making and data mining with procedural support
- Developed using Commercial off the shelf products
- Intra agency integration possible.
The NG-RMP system was developed primarily for use within the operations centre of the INS. The system has external interfaces to allow two key categories of external access to the system. These are:
- INS Vessels with workstations for displaying the RMP. Access to the RMP is through a satellite communication link from the vessel back to the operations HQ.
- External organisations through the use of web browsers for access to the RMP.The following deployment diagram shows the main device nodes along with the major subsystem components that are deployed on each node.The NG-RMP makes use of a number of external data feeds to generate the information for the RMP. This information is provided from a number of sources and through different communication medium. The NG-RMP also distributes the generated RMP to a number of external observers using different communication infrastructures. The diagram below provides an overview of the different external communication networks that was used for the NG-RMP demonstrator system.
The key issues of the system are:
- Weather, Earth Observation to S-AIS,
- Integration of multiple external data sources ranging from CCTV,
- Data mining and correlation of retrieved data.
- Generation of a real time RMP
- Identification of ‘Vessels of Interest’ automatically
- Visualisation of the RMP along with support information
- Ability to export data packs of results from the system
- Provision of external access in a secure manner to the RMP information
- Deployment of solution onto INS IT infrastructure working within the
- enforced security policies and rules.
Space Added Value
Services from three different space assets were involved in the development of the Next Generation RMP project.
Satellite AIS (S-AIS): Providing information on positioning and movements of maritime vessels. The benefit of S-AIS to terrestrial assets is that the range from land based AIS receivers is maximum 70 miles from coast. This doesn't cover the Irish coastal waters which can be covered through S-AIS systems.
Satellite Communication: Providing the communication means between the command and control centre of the Irish Naval Service and its own vessels. This provides contact between the vessels and INS HQ not possible if deployed far from the coast line.
Human Space Flight: The International Procedure Viewer (IPV) developed by Skytek for the manned space programme will be the starting point for the targeted intelligent decision support tool. Building on the advanced decision support and procedural systems provided by the IPV system will allow the NG-RMP system to offer automated suspect vessel detection with related operational procedures.
The project has successfully completed the Demonstration phase which was held between September 2016 and February 2017. Following the demonstration phase, the final presentation of the project was held in ESA’s ECSAT UK facility in March 2017. During the demonstration phase the NG-RMP system which has been fully integrated into the INS IT infrastructure was deployed within the INS operators centre.
The fully integrated system had live operational S-AIS feeds that were provided by the project partners ExactEarth and LuxSpace, in addition to several ground based feeds that the INS received from a number of sources. External data sources ranging from live weather data, Earth Observation images and third-party vessel information were also deployed and available within the NG-RMP system. For the demonstration phase, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and expert system components was configured with the latest set of monitoring and ‘vessel of interest’ detection rules provided by the INS operational centre experts.
The demonstration phase fully validated the features and functionality of the NG-RMP system both during operational usage and in dedicated trials. End user feedback was captured during the demonstration phase which will form the basis of future extensions and enhancements for the next major version of the NG-RMP system.
Following on from the demonstration phase a major marketing and sales campaign has been started to promote the NG-RMP system to other potential end users within the identified market. In parallel, an activity has started to enhance and modify the core system for the needs of newly identified marketplaces who will benefit from the functionality provided by the NG-RMP software.