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Old 26-11-2011, 20:39   #121
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

So I have a gps. It tells me exactly where I am all the time. I also have an autopilot, so I can leave the helm to take bearings to confirm my position, or to trim the sails or whatever. I have a chartplotter on which I can access radar, AIS, tide and weather information.

I had always considered that these integrated systems made my boat a much safer, and more comfortable place to be. But now there are those who would tell me that they just give me a false sense of security, that they will lead me blindly into danger.

So perhaps I should go back to the old ways; hand steering for hours on end in all weathers, heaving too every time I wanted to look at the chart, check the depth, take a sun sight or even just eat something.

Or perhaps not.
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Old 26-11-2011, 20:53   #122
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

NOT. Situational awareness at all times is the key. Except of course when you are single handing and need to sleep, eat, wash, shave, eliminate waste, or read.
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Old 27-11-2011, 14:51   #123
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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But now there are those who would tell me that they just give me a false sense of security, that they will lead me blindly into danger.
Never suggested that we dispense with modern nav and control systems for recreational boats...

Only pointing out that as a similar degree of automation has been introduced in other venues, some time later followed puzzling mishaps that had everyone wondering, "how could this happen?!?!!?"

And even after the problem of insidious complacency with regard to automated processes was identified years ago, its still a struggle to mitigate the danger.

Point is that if you go all e cockpit, then make sure you keep your head in the game.

Use the functionality to leave the helm to take visual bearings?

Great!

I would recommend that it be a habit you not let go fallow though.

Lest those Sirens sneak up on you.....
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Old 27-11-2011, 14:58   #124
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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I hate to say this, but since this guy is apparently a danger, why not turn him to the Harbor Police? Unsafe sailing is just that and maybe he needs to know?

Long story but it wasn't worth it. As for "Harbor Police," we weren't in a harbor. Believe it or not, it was not congested in any way, and he had so many options for missing us it truly wasn't funny. I'm just lucky that the woman who had my helm was able to steel her nerves. She was brilliant.
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Old 17-01-2012, 19:03   #125
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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Better take another look there Dave...

Aviation researchers have discovered disturbing trends among the crews of the new generation of automated aircraft. Among those are aberrations in the ways in which flight crew workload is affected. Remembering that automation was supposed to reduce workload to free the crew to perform higher level tasks, they are finding that most workload reductions are occurring when work levels were already low, such as during cruise. As workload is decreased, there seems to be an insidious trend toward increased complacency, lack of vigilance and even boredom among the crews of highly automated aircraft. In historically high workload situations, such as departure and arrival, automated systems can actually increase crew activity, detracting from critical vigilance for outside traffic and awareness of position, terrain, and the general ATC situation.


As documented in my previous comment, the USN has found the same human factors problem with their ECDIS automated nav system.

Take a look at that sobering pic of the USS San Franciso (the sub with the smashed bow)...She was very nearly lost because of what I would describe as automation induced complaceny:

A preliminary report on the submarine that hit a seamount in the Pacific three months ago concludes that numerous warnings of shortcomings in the ship's navigation department existed at least a year before the accident.
In a January 2004 inspection, the USS San Francisco crew did not properly use its fathometer warning system and its electronic Voyage Management System, or VMS, which were both factors in the accident a year later, according to the report, a copy of which was provided to The Day.
In August 2004, during another inspection, the San Francisco navigation team was found deficient in the chart review process, and in a certification process in October 2004, the team failed to adequately highlight hazards to navigation on the charts, the report found.

As you see Dave, even professional crews are struggling to cope with automation....

While its true that there have always been idiotS on the water...These new whizbang nav systems which do everything for you are ushering in a new, more efficient way for them to spread their mayhem.

But more importantly, even for those of us who want to use them properly, its imperative to understand that its easy to develop a personal process that can leave your head out of the game at a critical time.

Not saying throw all your electronics away....Just saying that as you "integrate" them into the way you sail, consistently ensure that you are not allowing these alluring sirens to seduce you.

On the island of an aircraft carrier there used to be painted in 10 foot high letters:

THINK

Since this thread slid below the horizon, the Sirens have bagged a couple more...




and across the globe...

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Old 18-01-2012, 02:07   #126
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Neither of those incidents have anything to do with electronics or autopilots. They are down to human error
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Old 18-01-2012, 03:22   #127
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

Not necessarily true - human error yes, but often due to a false sense of complacency induced by excessive reliance on 'navigation systems' as opposed to basic seamanship. My company built a series of ships recently which had fully integrated bridge systems, all the bells and whistles you could ever want. The problem was it was too integrated. Even basic things like switching on deck lights required an operator to follow a series of steps on multiple computer menus rather than a single flick of a switch. In the event of equipment failures there was often a cascade effect running through the entire system. There were a series of incidents which saw the latest generation of ships (such as the one I am currently on) step back to a bridge layout which is only partially integrated and has more stand alone systems.

Incidentally the 3 worst incidents were:
1) a ship lost entire integrated bridge system for 12 hours due to a 'mysteriously' introduced computer virus. At the time she was approaching the pilot off Rotterdam - busiest port in the world.
2) ship went aground due to believing the ECDIS was correct despite radar picture showing otherwise. All 4 deck officers sacked and master subsequently committed suicide.
3) Vessel in South Pacific narrowly missed hitting island. ECDIS showed vessel to be passing 1.5 miles north, actually the vessel was heading straight for the island. Subsequent investigation showed the chart data was from the 19th century.

On the subject of 3 above, all those folks who believe there electronic chart gizmos over the paper charts - just where do you think the base data comes from?
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Old 18-01-2012, 03:42   #128
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When people believe chart+GPS over radar then they are not qualified. If pro's than they must have cheated during their exams.

Still, all human error. You can never blaim your electronic aids when they function like supposed to. We all know the charts are wrong. Paper charts are printed electronic charts.

cheers,
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Old 18-01-2012, 04:09   #129
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

Unfortunately not everybody knows the charts are wrong?

In the case of cheating for exams I knew one of the officers and he surely did not cheat his exam. What he did do was allow himself to believe one source of information over another more old-fashioned one. Absolutely human error, and if it did not exist there would never be a plane crash, ship running aground, doctor screwing up etc etc. People do make mistakes, unfortunately in some lines of work the consequence are a bit more visible to the general public than others!

If anyone on this forum can say they have never made a mistake then either he is the second coming of Christ or a liar.
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Old 18-01-2012, 04:10   #130
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

I will take my Electronic GPS Maps against my Paper charts any day,

My Paper Charts had a revision date of 2007

But it also depends on the Cartographer who did the actual measurements and soundings that are what the charts are made up from,

Some of these depths havent been updated since the second world war.

How many of these depths and how long ago were they done with reliable electronic measuring equiptment,

They have been done by many different Countrys. Some of whom were at war with each other, So how accurate are some of these depths,

I want your Battleship to run aground, Make the water depth, very deep when it isnt, Hahahahahaha.

I wouldnt be surprised if some of the depths were done by lead sinker and line, Which were reasonably accurate at the time,

The Ocean has moved around a bit since then,
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Old 18-01-2012, 04:17   #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveT
Unfortunately not everybody knows the charts are wrong?

In the case of cheating for exams I knew one of the officers and he surely did not cheat his exam. What he did do was allow himself to believe one source of information over another more old-fashioned one. Absolutely human error, and if it did not exist there would never be a plane crash, ship running aground, doctor screwing up etc etc. People do make mistakes, unfortunately in some lines of work the consequence are a bit more visible to the general public than others!

If anyone on this forum can say they have never made a mistake then either he is the second coming of Christ or a liar.
Then it was the training institute to blame. I know the one in Rotterdam will put 4 years of emphasis on charts being less accurate than todays positioning and always "the radar never lies and overrules all other aids". I repeat that last one here on CF many times and indeed only few believe me

ciao!
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Old 18-01-2012, 06:40   #132
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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.......
On the subject of 3 above, all those folks who believe there electronic chart gizmos over the paper charts - just where do you think the base data comes from?
Absolutely right, Steve. It's uncanny how many folks believe their electronic charts and chartplotters are more accurate than paper charts.

Here in the U.S. the NOAA paper charts of U.S. waters indeed are the basis of all electronic charts, both ENCs (vector) and RNCs (raster). While there is the intent to develop a centralized electronic chart database from which charts would be directly produced, the charting gurus at NOAA report that we are several years away from that. In other words, PAPER CHARTS ARE STILL THE BASIS OF ALL NOAA CHARTS.

Moreover, raster charts are exact copies of paper charts. Vector charts -- those used in virtually all chartplotters -- are not. They are thus subject to errors of omission and errors of commission during the digitizing process.

All charts have errors...paper, raster, vector. Even if they don't, they sometimes use different datums than the WGS84 which is the "standard"; this can result in significant errors and cause groundings.

Bottom line: believe your RADAR!!

Bill
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Old 18-01-2012, 06:51   #133
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PAPER CHARTS ARE STILL THE BASIS OF ALL NOAA CHARTS.
So updates are done with pencils and crayons on paper instead of using a computer? I do not believe these paper charts can be produced without computer aid; no human can produce that by hand!

If done by computer like I expect it is, creating an electronic chart can be done using a "Save as" menu option. Who wants to make me believe that instead they first print it on paper, then scan it back into the computer and then do the "Save as" menu option they could have done right away. It makes no sense.

We still have the same old secrecy about accurate charts like we had in the 14th century. Frakking Google Earth is more accurate than official charts and we are to believe we're better off with those charts ?! It's time for a group to stand up and revolutionize the whole nautical chart business.

cheers,
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Old 18-01-2012, 07:00   #134
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Re: Why Integrate the Autopilot ?

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So updates are done with pencils and crayons on paper instead of using a computer? I do not believe these paper charts can be produced without computer aid; no human can produce that by hand!

If done by computer like I expect it is, creating an electronic chart can be done using a "Save as" menu option. Who wants to make me believe that instead they first print it on paper, then scan it back into the computer and then do the "Save as" menu option they could have done right away. It makes no sense.

We still have the same old secrecy about accurate charts like we had in the 14th century. Frakking Google Earth is more accurate than official charts and we are to believe we're better off with those charts ?! It's time for a group to stand up and revolutionize the whole nautical chart business.

cheers,
Nick.
Nick,

What I posted is accurate. Believe it.

Computers are used in the digitizing process for vector charts, i.e., creating an electronic chart (ENC) from a paper chart. In fact, this is mostly done by hand...don't know if you've ever seen a by-hand digitizing process take place....it's laborious, painstaking work. In an earlier life I was for a time quite close to the map and chartmaking process, working with the EROS Data Center, NOAA, and other government entities. Producing an accurate map or chart is much more complex than you might imagine, even with the aid of computers and satellites.

NOAA has two different sections which are responsible for the production of raster charts and of vector charts. They try their best to collaborate and coordinate in an attempt to make the electronic charts agree as closely as they can, and generally seem to do a very good job of it. Vector charts produced by other entities -- both public and private -- often seem not to have the same degree of care taken in their production.

While Google "charts" may be quite accurate insofar as coastlines are concerned, they can't/don't contain all the information found on nautical charts, particularly soundings, nav aids, prominent shore structures, obstructions, restricted areas, traffic lanes, etc., etc.

I'm sure NOAA would love to undertake a project to re-do all charting....are you prepared to finance it?

Bill
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Old 18-01-2012, 07:43   #135
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Re: Why integrate the autopilot?

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You're right of course - not a real compass but a calculated compass course from the GPS if the boat's moving.

You are also right that the integration of chart plotter and autopilot could adjust for cross track error from current -- if you are lucky enough to get them working. But it gives me the shivers that some boat coming at me is in command of an electronic "Captain Ron".

Carl

You can't fix stupid. If someone is so stupid that they think autopilot REALLY replaces a person on watch, be careful. A jackass hit me that way -- got VERY close, suddenly, too late for us to avoid the hit -- then something went wrong and his boat suddenly fell off 75 degrees to port. Took out the dinghy we were towing. By the way, he had 50 sq miles of water to sail in. Long story why we tolerated him getting close at all, but there was a reason, but ... we didn't know there was NO ONE at the wheel!

But if he didn't have autopilot he'd be a dangerous, stupid sailor in some other way. By the way, two weeks later I left a marina and didn't notice that he exited right behind me. as I left the last set of channel markers I looked behind me (very crowded there, have to have a head like an owl) ... and there he was, JUST beyond the marked channel, already on autopilot in a very congested area -- by himself, standing on top of his cockpit fumbling with tangled lines (if he needed them and was single-handing, why didn't he clean up his lines before he left!) He was right off my stern, gaining on me, and never looking up. We turned and got him off our ass.

But I do think the autopilot enhances his core stupidity.

Not going to go into more details on that accident. For all I know he reads this forum.
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