Providing Meteorological and Hydrographic Information via AIS Application-Specific Messages
AIS Application-Specific Messages (ASMs) transmitted in binary format are increasingly used to digitally communicate maritime safety/security information between participating vessels and shore stations. This includes time-sensitive metrological and hydrographic (met/hydro) information that is critical for safe vessel transits and efficient ports/waterways management. IMO recently published a new Safety-of-Navigation Circular (SN.1./Circ.289) that includes a number of meteorological and hydrographic message applications and data parameters. IMO also issued general guidance for the presentation/display of ASMs (SN.1/Circ.290). This includes specific mention of conforming to the e-Navigation concept-of-operation. For any new IHO S-57 or S-100-related product specifications dealing with dynamic met/hydro information, IHO Member States should use the same data content fields and parameters that are specified by IMO. This will enable the provision to time-critical information via existing communications infrastructure, in a standard data format that can be displayed on existing shipborne equipment/systems (e.g., ECDIS).
Lee Alexander is a Research Associate Professor at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Brunswick (Canada). Previously a Research Scientist with the U.S. Coast Guard, he was also a Visiting Scientist with the Canadian Hydrographic Service. His area of expertise is applied RDT&E on electronic charting, international standards development, and the use of electronic charts for safety-of-navigation and marine environmental protection. He serves on several international committees/working groups dealing with electronic charting, including the International Hydrographic Organization, the International Electrotechnical Commission, and the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities. He Chairs the Harmonization Group on Marine Information Overlays (MIOs). He has published over 100 papers and reports on electronic chart-related technologies, and is a co-author of a textbook on Electronic Charting. Lee received his M.S. from the University of New Hampshire, and Ph.D. from Yale University in Natural Resource Management. He is also a Captain (now retired) in the U.S. Navy Reserve.