Sensor Interaction for Small Ship Tracking and Awareness in Harbour


  1. Leadbeater, N.
  2. Pelot, R.
  3. Hammond, T.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN);Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems, Dartmouth NS (CAN);Dalhousie Univ, Halifax NS (CAN)
This study examined the benefits derived by using interacting sensors for small ship tracking and awareness in harbour, so that port authorities could better understand the implications of deploying integrated security systems. The role of human operators in maintaining vigilance against threats arising from small craft was also examined. The study employed techniques from operations research, data analyses from a relevant scientific trial in the approaches to Halifax harbour, and interviews. These techniques resulted in the following findings: Layered, overlapping sensors, deployed in an interacting manner, will produce a situational awareness picture that cannot be obtained by utilizing sensors in standalone configurations. Despite using networked, interacting sensors, detecting and tracking small boats still poses a challenge within harbour environments. There is still a reliance on human operators within port security regimes. Cameras are an important sensor because they can validate what type of vessel has been detected and tracked. In some Canadian harbours, there may be a lack of overlap between those organizations with the capability to monitor small craft activity and those with the mandate or responsibility to respond to small craft incidents. These findings suggest that there is value in deploying overlapping sensors because multiple, networked sensors creates a situational awareness picture that cannot be achieved otherwise. Perhaps more importantly still, there i

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Report Number
DRDC-ATLANTIC-TR-2011-238 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Apr 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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