Global Marine Networks LLC (GMN) has developed a new automatic vessel tracking service that uses the Iridium satellite system to transmit location reports from ship to shore. GMN, an Iridium value-added developer, is offering the vessel tracking service as a new feature with its XGate satellite e-mail system. Four expedition cruise ships and multiple passenger vessels operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters have already installed the XGate vessel tracking system.
Iridium’s constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites ensures seamless vessel tracking anywhere on the globe, including the extreme Polar Regions beyond the coverage area of geostationary satellites, according to the company. The XGate vessel tracking system provides flexible choices for transmitting position reports. The data – including GPS time, latitude and longitude, course and speed, and selected weather parameters – can be embedded in the header of ship-to-shore e-mail messages, and/or can be reported to a central database with every e-mail session. Alternatively, the shipowner can specify automatic tracking reports on a predetermined schedule. The ship owner can easily combine reports from multiple ships to create a fleetwide reporting and tracking solution.
The XGate software-based solution allows shipowners to add automatic vessel tracking without investing in additional third-party hardware, according to the company. The software includes a GPS repeater that interfaces with existing on-board navigation systems to extract data for transmission through the ship’s Iridium satellite terminal. No additional hardware is needed.
The company has recently released an enhanced Web-based vessel tracking system for shore-based offices. Shore-based offices can now track their entire fleet by logging into a Web site. The Web site provides the latest position, course, and speed for each vessel as well as past position tracks. Vessels offshore can also benefit from viewing fleet tracks by using XGate’s on-board tracker, which downloads position reports for the entire fleet (efficiently via Iridium) to be displayed on a local PC.