High-resolution marine 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.

Contact Patrick HARTIGAN, Moher Technologies Ltd
tel +353 65 905 27 31
fax +353 65 905 27 33
email hartigan@moher.iol.ie
website www.nowcasting.ie

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