Previously, Dutch Mobile Traffic Controllers had to ask for many nautical details by maritime radio telephone to obtain current information about commercial ships in the vicinity. Nowadays, this information is presented digitally in the cabin via ‘InformatieDienst op Schepen’ (IDoS; Information Service on Ships). This makes it easier to respond appropriately to breaches of the rules and to calamities.
All nautical information on a single screen
IDoS presents all of the information on a single display screen. The crew can see on an inland waterway map what other ships are sailing nearby, including their exact location, cargo and destination. The server that collects all of the information from existing systems and links it all together is located on the shore. The server determines what information the ship needs for the location that it is in and transmits this information via a 3G connection. Because a 3G connection is not suited for large data files, the map material is installed in the on-board system. The server sends only the most up-to-date information, and the system synchronizes with the server on the shore whenever possible. This means that the crew can continue to work even if the connection is temporarily down.
“Technolution is a reliable partner, they do what they promise and they think along with us. If you want to make a note about a ship that is passing, you just click on the ship on the IDoS map, the digital journal is opened and the location details and vessel information have already been added. All you have to do then is to add your observations”, says Patrick Loggen, IDoS project manager at Rijkswaterstaat.
User takes center stage
Prior to the development of the system, Technolution developers joined patrol vessels on their rounds on a few occasions. This enabled them to gain some experience of everyday practice, which helped them during development. In addition, a representative user group was set up at an early stage: practitioners who are able to give an expert assessment of the functionality. We demonstrated the progress made during a number of user sessions, also creating the opportunity for an open dialog about the development. This helped create a user-friendly system.