weather forecasts via satellite
Sudden changes in weather conditions are the biggest single peril
facing seagoing craft. Storms and gale-force winds drive smaller boats into port and can
cause bigger ships significant problems too. Yet many mariners have to rely on radio
updates to their pre-trip weather forecast.
The NOWCASTING project is giving mariners the ability to receive weather forecasts
while at sea by developing an on-board terminal for the automated reception of high
resolution forecasts. The specific target is a low cost microprocessor based system for
pleasure boats and small fishing vessels, using low data rate satellite communications via
the Orbcomm system. Work is also being directed at producing an ergonomic user interface
that uses three-dimensional representations of information.
Initiated in the aftermath of the Estonian ferry tragedy, this product aims to save
lives. In addition to the safety benefits, wider availability of satellite communications
for seagoing vessels has the potential to aid the management of European Union policies on
shipping traffic and the regulation of fishing vessels. The project partners have an
ambitious business plan in place, with an early emphasis on the North American market.
The NOWCASTING stand is demonstrating a prototype on-board terminal for receiving
weather forecasts. There is also the chance to view a best practice methodology for
embedded system design.