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BYDRNICKWARDx13RESEARCHDIRECTORInthefuturemethodsotherthanAISmayalsobeavailabletogeneratevirtualaidstonavigation.InJanuary2010IALAheldaworkshopatwhichaRecommendationandGuidelineweredevelopedforVirtualAtoNs.Thedefinitionandamplificationbelowformpartofthosedocuments.DefinitionAvirtualaidtonavigationdoesnotphysicallyexistbutisadigitalinformationobjectpromulgatedbyanauthorisedserviceproviderthatcanbepresentedonnavigationalsystems.AmplificationVirtualaidstonavigationcanbeusedtoinformthemarineraboutdangerstonavigationaswellassafewaterwaysareasinwhichextracautionmaybenecessaryandareastobeavoided.Theymaybeusedtorepresentalineareapositionorotherformthatmaybedisplayedgraphically.Virtualaidstonavigationmayhavefixedstatusorbedynamicandmaybecolour-coded.Theyarenotintendedtoreplacephysicalaidstonavigation.VirtualaidstonavigationaretypicallyusedwherethereisatimecriticalconsiderationandmustbelinkedtoMaritimeSafetyInformation.Theymayalsobeusedinplaceswherepermanentphysicalaidstonavigationcannotbesitedandintheseinstancesvirtualaidstonavigationshouldbecharted.ApplicationsVirtualAtoNscanprovidetimelywarningofanincidentbeforephysicalaidsaredeployed.TheconceptrequiresuseoftheAutomaticIdentificationSystemtosendvirtualAtoNinformationtothevesselfordisplay.Potentialapplicationsincludewarningofanewdangersuchasawrecktemporarychannelmarkingandmarkingofdriftingdebris.VirtualAtoNscanprovideadditionalinformationfordecisionsupportandcouldeventuallybeusedtomarkMotorwaysoftheSeaorMarineElectronicHighways.Insomeapplicationsitmaybeappropri-atetouselinespolygonsorshadingratherthanpointmarks.TheremayalsobelocationswheremarkingwithphysicalAtoNsisnotpracticalforlogisticalreasonsorwherethehazardisdynamicsothatamarkingmethodthatcaneasilybechangedisbeneficial.Examplescouldincluderegionsaffectedbyiceorveryhightidalranges.TheapplicationsofvirtualAtoNshavebeeninvestigatedbytheGeneralLighthouseAuthoritiesResearchRadioNavigationDirectorateusingabridgesimulatorTransasMarineUKwithpartici-pationfromtheUKMaritimeCoastguardAgencyUKHydrographicOfficeIrishCoastGuardandFrenchDepartmentofMaritimeAffairs.Anumberofscenariosweresetupincludingasemi-sub-mergedwreckinatrafficseparationschemewithalineofvirtualmarksseeFigures1and2andafloat-ingcontainermarkedwithfourvirtualcardinalmarksseeFigures3and4.AmongtheconclusionsdrawnwereavirtualAtoNswillnotreplaceexistingsystemsandmustbeassociatedwithnavigationalwarningsbmethodsofprovidinglinesandhatchedareasneedtobeinvestigatedcthedangersoftargetfixationdistractionandtrafficcompressionneedtobeconsidereddtheareaofuncertaintyforanon-fixedhazardwillincreasewithtimeandaccountshouldbetakenofavailablesea-roomeexclusionareasmayhaveknock-oneffectsfmultiplevirtualAtoNsFigures1and2maybeimpossibletointerpretusingtheMinimumKeyboardDisplayMKDgthenetworkprovidingvirtualAtoNsmusthaveguaranteedintegrityhtrainingandawarenesswillbeessential.LimitationsVirtualAtoNscanprovidetimelyinformationtowarnmarinersofimpendingdangersduringthetimetakenforphysicalaidstobedeployed.HoweverforthissystemtodeliveritsfullbenefitsallmarinerswillneedtobeabletoobservevirtualAtoNs.Atpresentthisisnotthecasex13itwillbesometimebeforethenecessaryequipmentstan-dardsareineffectandavailabilitytonon-SOLAScraftwilldependonvoluntaryfitting.Howeverthedevelopmentofe-Navigationandthecloseintegrationandstandardisationitisexpectedtodelivershouldhelptoachievethisaim.StudieshaveshownthattheextraloadplacedbyAtoNsontheAIScommunicationslinkwillnotbesignificantandforvirtualAtoNsusedforshortperiodsitwillbenegligible.Applicationsinvolvinglongertermdeploymentarelikelytobeinareasoflessheavytraffic.Figure1LeftLineofvirtualAtoNsmarkingawreckshownonanECDISTransasbridgesimulator.Figure2AboveLineofvirtualAtoNsmarkingawreckshownonradarTransasbridgesimulator.Figure3RightVirtualcardinalmarksshownonanECDISTransasbridgesimulator.Figure4AboveVirtualcardinalmarksshownonradarTransasbridgesimulator.VIRTUALAIDSTONAVIGATIONBackgroundTheuseoftheAutomaticIdentificationSystemAISasanaidtonavigationhasbeenenvisagedsincethesystemwasfirstintroduced.Ithasthepotentialtoimprovesafetyandenhanceservicestomariners.AISAidstoNavigationAtoNscanbeimplementedinthreewaysrealsyntheticandvirtual.IALARecommendationA-126OnTheUseoftheAutomaticIdentificationSystemAISinMarineAidstoNavigationServicesandIALAGuidelineNo.1062OnTheestablishmentofAISasanAidtoNavigationprovidetechnicaldetailsontheuseofrealsyntheticandvirtualAISaidstonavigation.PAGE6horizonsummer2010