A transnational cooperation involving six countries in the North Sea region is conducting an evaluation of the use of 3D visualisation in navigational displays.
The Bringing Land and Sea Together (BLAST) project seeks to provide new and innovative solutions for the harmonisation and integration of land and sea data. It is divided into four different work packages, and one of them will deliver a 3D test model of the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium. The model will contain a seamless terrain model of the seabed and topography, allowing for real-time visualisation of the water level. It will also contain land and cultural features and 3D models of selected buildings in the port.
As ships are getting bigger, with minimum under-keel clearances and increased requirements for the use of locks and swinging space, port navigation is becoming increasingly challenging. The BLAST test model will be delivered with a 3D viewer, which will allow navigators to follow their own ship in correct real-time position through a GPS interface, using the near real-time water level. The ship will also be modelled in 3D. In this way, the navigator will see exactly where the ship is in relation to the seabed and port constructions during the manoeuvring – and all movements can be recorded for post-manoeuvring evaluation.
Pilots and navigators operating out of Zeebrugge will participate in the evaluation, which will be conducted by Mälardalen University in Stockholm. The results of the evaluation will provide input to the discussions on how to improve safety of navigation in confined and trafficked waters, and also potentially improve the regulatory processes at the IMO.
Since April 2010, this work package has also been building a maritime data collection system. This system will demonstrate how web technology and IHO data models can be used to simplify and harmonise the collection across different nations, as well as process new port information – like construction and dredging plans, AtoN maintenance, port regulations and VTS procedures, as well as corrections to charts and publications. The maritime data collection system should make it easier for mariners and port stakeholders in an international context to accurately report what is happening in ports and waterways.