KINETIC ALGORITHMS FOR HARBOUR MANAGEMENT
Keywords: Marine; Navigation; Algorithms; Data Structures; Decision Support; Graphics; Real-time; Three-dimensional
Abstract. Modern harbour management for a busy port needs to resolve a variety of simultaneous problems. Harbour traffic may be busy and the waterways congested, both by the major shipping and by the attendant harbour tugs. The harbour channel may be narrow and tortuous, and rapidly changing tides may require frequent course adjustments. Navigation aids must be clearly specified and immediately identifiable, in order to permit safe passage for the vessels. This requires a GIS with attributes not easily available with traditional products.
The GeoVS system is a kinetic GIS with full three-dimensional visualisation, so that ships, bathymetry and landscape may be viewed in a form that is immediately understandable to both harbour pilots and the harbour authority. The system is kinetic because the data structures used to preserve the topological relationships between ships, seafloor and coastline are able to be maintained on a real-time basis, taking account of ship movement recorded on the compulsory AIS (Automatic Information System) beacons. Maintenance of this real-time topology allows for easy detection of potential collisions, as well as real-time bathymetric estimations, necessary to prevent ship grounding in highly tidal environments. The system, based on previous research into kinetic Voronoi diagrams, as well as development of a completely new graphical engine, is now in commercial production, where its advantages over simpler twodimensional models without automatic collision and grounding detection are becoming evident. Other applications are readily envisaged, and will be addressed in the near future.