Glossary of Terms

AIS
ATONS
DHS
DSC
ESA
ESP
FCC
GMDSS
GPS
IEC
IMO
ITU
LNA
MDA
MMSI
MURS
NOISESION
RTCM
SBIR
SOLAS
STM
UAIS
VTC

AIS

An Automatic Identification System (AIS) is used for identifying and monitoring maritime traffic. AIS sends and receives vessel identification information which can be displayed on a laptop computer or chart plotter. Information such as vessel name, radio call sign, navigational status (eg. at anchor, under way using engine), speed, heading, type of ship/cargo, destination, and estimated time of arrival are all examples of information that can be displayed.

AIS Broadcasts:

  • MMSI Number
  • Location (GPS)
  • Name of Ship
  • Radio Call Sign
  • Speed
  • Vessel Type
  • And more!
Some applications for AIS include:

  • Stewardship
    Monitoring marine sanctuaries for environmental protection
  • Safety
    Detailed information for collision avoidance and emergency response
  • Security
    Accident and crime prevention through Maritime Domain Awareness

Further details on AIS can be found on the USCG website.


ATONs

Aids To Navigation (ATONs) are man made objects created to assist mariners in determining the safest course to travel. These objects include buoys, day markers, and lights which employ the use of color, shape and sound to assist in navigation.

Further details on ATONs can be found on the USCG website.


DHS

Department of Homeland Security

Excerpt from http://www.dhs.gov:

The National Strategy for Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 served to mobilize and organize our nation to secure the homeland from terrorist attacks. This exceedingly complex mission requires a focused effort from our entire society if we are to be successful. To this end, one primary reason for the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security was to provide the unifying core for the vast national network of organizations and institutions involved in efforts to secure our nation. In order to better do this and to provide guidance to the 180,000 DHS men and women who work every day on this important task, the Department developed its own high-level strategic plan. The vision and mission statements, strategic goals and objectives provide the framework guiding the actions that make up the daily operations of the department.

Vision

Preserving our freedoms, protecting America … we secure our homeland.

Mission

We will lead the unified national effort to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation. We will ensure safe and secure borders, welcome lawful immigrants and visitors, and promote the free-flow of commerce.

Strategic Goals

    • Awareness — Identify and understand threats, assess vulnerabilities, determine potential impacts and disseminate timely information to our homeland security partners and the American public.
    • Prevention — Detect, deter and mitigate threats to our homeland.
    • Protection — Safeguard our people and their freedoms, critical infrastructure, property and the economy of our Nation from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies.
    • Response — Lead, manage and coordinate the national response to acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies.
    • Recovery — Lead national, state, local and private sector efforts to restore services and rebuild communities after acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies.
    • Service — Serve the public effectively by facilitating lawful trade, travel and immigration.
    • Organizational Excellence — Value our most important resource, our people. Create a culture that promotes a common identity, innovation, mutual respect, accountability and teamwork to achieve efficiencies, effectiveness, and operational synergies.

For more information about the DHS click here.


DSC

Digital Selective Calling

Excerpt from http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AboutDSC

Digital Selective Calling (DSC), allows mariners to instantly send an automatically formatted distress alert to the Coast Guard or other rescue authority anywhere in the world. Digital selective calling also allows mariners to initiate or receive distress, urgency, safety and routine radiotelephone calls to or from any similarly equipped vessel or shore station, without requiring either party to be near a radio loudspeaker. DSC acts like the dial and bell of a telephone, allowing you to “direct dial” and “ring” other radios, or allow others to “ring” you, without having to listen to a speaker. New VHF and HF radiotelephones have DSC capability.

For more information about DSC click here.


ESA

Enhanced Signal Analysis

See ESP


ESP

Enhanced Signal Analysis Package

Enhanced Signal Analysis for AIS


FCC

Federal Communications Commission

Excerpt from http://www.fcc.gov/about/overview

The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the Commission is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications law and regulations.

For more information about the FCC click here.


GMDSS

Global Maritime Distress & Safety System (GMDSS) was developed by the United Nations agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as the internationally accepted system of coordinated radio communications (ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore) using satellite and terrestrial networks for commercial vessels.

The GMDSS consists of several systems, some of which are new, but many of which have been in operation for many years. The GMDSS radio carriage requirements depend upon the ship’s area of operation, rather than its tonnage. The system also provides redundant means of distress alerting, and emergency sources of power. Recreational vessels are not required to carry GMDSS equipment; however it is strongly encouraged for all vessels on international voyages or traveling greater than 25 nm offshore because of the very efficient communications and rapid distress response. All vessels near shore and on the high seas are strongly encouraged to apply for an MMSI number to allow the use of Digital Selective Calling (DSC) in the case of an emergency.

Automatic Identification System (AIS) has become an important element of the GMDSS monitoring system because of its ability to provide immediate and accurate contact between vessels. To help with the coordination of vessel identity AIS users use the same MMSI numbers assigned to the vessel for GMDSS purposes. The system is backwards compatible with DSC, allowing shore-based GMDSS systems to affordably identify and track AIS-equipped vessels, and is intended to eventually replace the existing DSC-based transponder systems.


GPS

The Global Positioning System (GPS) was designed as a dual-use system with the primary purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of U.S. and allied military forces. GPS is rapidly becoming an integral component of the emerging Global Information Infrastructure, with applhttp://www.uscgboating.org/safety/metlife/aton.htmications ranging from mapping and surveying to international air traffic management and global change research.

The basic GPS is defined as the constellation of satellites, the navigation payloads which produce the GPS signals, ground stations, data links, and associated command and control facilities which are operated and maintained by the Department of Defense.GPS permits land, sea, and airborne users to determine their three dimensional position, velocity, and time, 24 hours a day in all weather, anywhere in the world.

Further details on GPS can be found on the USCG website.


IEC

International Electrotechnical Commission

Excerpt from http://www.iec.ch/

The IEC is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies — collectively known as “electrotechnology”. IEC Standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, semiconductors, fibre optics, batteries, nanotechnologies, solar energy and marine energy converters, to mention just a few. Wherever you find electricity and electronics, you find the IEC supporting safety and performance, the environment, electrical energy efficiency and renewable energies. The IEC also manages conformity assessment schemes that certify that equipment, systems or components conform to its International Standards.

For more information about IEC click here.


IMO

International Maritime Organization

Excerpt from http://www.imo.org

A specialized agency of the United Nations with 167 Member States and three Associate Members, IMO is based in the United Kingdom with around 300 international staff.

IMO’s specialized committees and sub-committees are the focus for the technical work to update existing legislation or develop and adopt new regulations, with meetings attended by maritime experts from Member Governments, together with those from interested intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

The result is a comprehensive body of international conventions, supported by hundreds of recommendations governing every facet of shipping. There are, firstly, measures aimed at the prevention of accidents, including standards for ship design, construction, equipment, operation and manning – key treaties include SOLAS, the MARPOL convention for the prevention of pollution by ships and the STCW convention on standards of training for seafarers.

For more information about IMO click here.


ITU

International Telecommunications Union

Excerpt from http://www.itu.int

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies. As the global focal point for governments and the private sector, ITU’s role in helping the world communicate spans 3 core sectors: radiocommunication, standardization and development. ITU also organizes TELECOM events and was the lead organizing agency of the World Summit on the Information Society.

ITU is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and its membership includes 191 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates.

For more information about ITU click here.


LNA

Low Noise Amplifier


MDA

Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) has been defined as the effective knowledge of all activities associated with the global maritime environment that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States.

For more information about MDA click here.


MMSI

All vessels operating on the high seas require a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number to participate in the Global Maritime Distress & Safety System (GMDSS). In addition to GMDSS participation the MMSI number also serves as a unique identifier of the vessel for all communications. As the international governing body for telecommunications the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set the international conventions for the use of MMSI numbers. MMSI number is a 9-digit code issued by the host country agency for use in VHF marine radio equipment, AIS transponders, EPIRB’s, and all INMARSAT satellite terminals. By international agreement, the ITU sets the rules that determine how MMSI’s are assigned and used. In the United States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and in Canada Industry Canada (IC) are responsible for actually assigning MMSI’s to commercial and recreational vessels.

Further detail on the format for US MMSI numbers can be found on the USCG website.


MURS

The Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is a low power, short range VHF Citizens Band service in the 150 MHz band reserved world-wide for two-way communications, which allow for transmission of data such as terrestrial and marine movements.


NOISESION

An demodulator technology created exclusively by Shine Micro (patent pending), which demodulates AIS packets both forward and backward for superior reception of noisy, weak signals.


RTCM

Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services

Excerpt from http://www.rtcm.org/overview.php

The Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) is an international non-profit scientific, professional and educational organization. RTCM members are organizations (not individuals) that are both non-government and government. Although started in 1947 as a U.S. government advisory committee, RTCM is now an independent organization supported by its members from all over the world.

For more information about RTCM click here.


SBIR

Small Business Innovation Research

Excerpt from https://www.sbir.gov/about/about-sbir#sbir-program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

For more information about SBIR click here.


SOLAS

Safety of Life at Sea


STM

Short Text Messaging


UAIS

Universal Automatic Identification System

See AIS


VTC

Vessel Traffic Control