ΑΜSA Navigation Safety and International Division hosted an E-navigation Usability Workshop on 5-6 March at Kingscliff, New South Wales. The aim was to assist in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) with the development of an e-navigation strategy implementation plan by creating guidelines for the usability of navigation equipment and systems. There were 45 delegates representing 10 countries, including 2 delegates who participated from overseas via Skype. Delegates represented four key stakeholder areas for e-navigation – academia, maritime administrations, the marine electronics industry, and users (seafarers and shore organisations such as Vessel Traffic Services).
For the past six years the IMO has been leading international efforts to harmonise and coordinate the introduction of modern digital navigation equipment and systems used when navigating ships. E-navigation also recognises the increased use being made of Vessel Traffic Services and other electronic shore-based services that assist navigation – hence a growing connection between ship and shore. Whilst it is a broad area of endeavour, in essence e-navigation is all about how ships will safely ‘get around’ in the future in a way that will limit environmental consequences and help facilitate maritime optimisation.
Scene setting presentations were provided by David Patraiko, Nautical Institute; Axel Hahn, University of Oldenburg; Yasuyuki Niwa, National Martime Research Institute; Yasuhiro Urano, Japan Ship Technology Research Association; Antonio Di Lieto, Australian Maritime College; Peter Liley, Australasian Marine Pilots Institute; Michael Bergmann, Jeppesen; Margareta Lutzhoft, Chalmers University of Technology; Jonathan Earthy, Lloyds Register; Ben Brooks, Australian Maritime College; and Michelle Grech, AMSA. Following the presentations delegates formed working groups to tackle the task of developing draft usability guidelines.
Coordinator of the IMO Correspondence Group on e-navigation, John Erik Hagen (Norway) stressed the importance of addressing usability in the IMO’s e-navigation strategy implementation plan. In his closing remarks, John Erik praised the workshop delegates for their efforts in helping to achieve guidance for the effective usability of future navigation support equipment and systems. The guidance will be understandable, succinct and adhere to the terms of reference that have been set by the IMO.
We will provide the outcomes of the workshop to the coordinator of the IMO Correspondence Group who will in turn share the work with the e-navigation Correspondence Group and provide it to the next meeting of the IMO’s Safety of Navigation subcommittee (NAV 59) in September 2013.