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User manual
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What Is the Vessel Monitoring System

The Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Victoria is intended for real-time vessel monitoring and Inmarsat-C communications via satellites  e-mail. The system privides archiving the collected routing data of vessels to analyze them.

VMS Victoria is available online in the Internet. A friendly user interface with data mapping makes an education cycle very short because it applies a standard browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari. Three powerful servers are connected to the fast Internet line that provides the capability to serve few hundred users simultaneously.

VMS Victoria employs three advanced technologies:

  • satellite positioning GPS,
  • satellite communications Inmarsat-C,
  • Internet.

Hardware and Software Requirements

A standard work place is a computer connected to the Internet either with a dedicated line or dialup connection. The browser Internet Explorer or Netscape Communicator version 4.0 or later is required.

If you use the old browser of the version 3.0 then the system suggests you to update the browser with downloading the last free version.

Using a map user interface you have to download the additional client software Autodesk Mapguide Viewer. The downloading session is a one time procedure made only once for the first entry. It takes few minutes. Other entries from the same computer use the downloaded viewer.

Notice that the Active-X component downloading is initiated automatically with the first entry to the map interface if your Internet Explorer setup is default. 

User Interface

1. Standard Graphics User Interface of the Victoria-Standard

    It allows you to emloy all main features which are implemented in the system. It required either a dedicated line or dialup access to the Internet with throughput of at least 19200bps.  If the throughput is lower or the line is noisy then downloading maps of 100 to 150Kb takes too much time to be comfortable. The Victoria-Text version is recommended for use in the case.

2. Text User Interface in the lite version Victoria-Text

    It cuts the required Inernet traffic to the minimum level because data are not represented on a map. The text interface is recommended for poor Internet connection. 

3. Advanced Technical Graphics User Interface of the Victoria-Technics

     It requires technical knowledge on how a mobile Inmarsat-C unit works. However it pays back you with an extended set of operations to program mobile units and optimize polling. It allows you to poll in a circle, rectangle etc area. Telemetry is supported that provides the opportunity to collect data from different devices and sensors onboard a vessel. 

Initial Entry

Enter the website using a browser. If you are going to use a graphics user interface with maps then first download Autodesk MapGuide Viewer.

If you use Internet Explorer with default settings then you computer download and install the viewer automatically. If your browser is Netscape Communicator then download the viewer from the website , unzip it and start setup.exe to install the required plugin.

You may check if vessels of your interest are included in the system database. To perform the check use the button Seach Vessels at the home page.

How to Begin

Enter the Internet with a browser and type the website name Then you see the Victoria home page. There are few versions to select on the page. A demo version does not need in a password. To use other three versions Text, Standard, or Technics you have to login with a password assigned in a registration. The registration provides you with access rights to specific vessels and features of the system. Select the version and press the button Enter.

The following text below describes how to work with the Standard version. Differences of alternative versions are described at the end of the manual.

Main Menu

After the login and version selection are made you receive a world map on the screen. There is a list of vessels which you are autorized to monitor at the left side of the screen.

Checkboxes for groups and vessels are intended for selection of those you would like to view on the map. The checked square button marks all the checkboxes, the empty box button cancels the selection.

Press the button View to put the selected vessels on the map. All vessels are represented with red circles which are placed at points where last data reports with latitude and longitudes were received. The black arrow is directed according to the course.

Further control is assisted with: 

  • seven positions of the picture menu located on the top of the map,
  • three positions Info, Dates, and Reports at the top of the vessel list,
  • pulldown menu of the right mouse buttion.

The five left buttons of the picture menu control the map representation.

 The features are: 

  • zoom in and window selection,
  • zoom out,
  • back to the world map,
  • move the window,
  • refresh the map on request. The system does the refreshing operation every ten minutes and updates vessel positions on the map automatically if new data are received. Mandatory data reports for all vessels in the system are sent usually twice a day. The system provides an opportunity to poll selected vessels and update position data with the shorter period up to ten minutes.  

The left field of the map shows a legend for map layers. The layers look like transparent sheets with different data on them. The layers can be either visible or invisible.

The layer with a checked box is visible on the map. The example is the layer called Vessels. On the contrary, the layer Grid is invisible until the box is checked. Vise versa, you have to empty the checkbox to make the layer invisible. It is a useful operation particularly for the layer Routes since a white line of the route can be redundant if rivers are only ways for the vessel of interest. When a map scale changes then a set of layers changes sometimes. If you zoom in far enough then additional layers like Inland waters appear on the map, and the layer Grid becomes visible by default.

Major layers:

  • Vessels provides positions of vessels of interest,
  • Waypoints consists of positions where data reports were sent from the vessels,
  • Routes is connection of the waypoints with white lines to highlight temporal succession of the data reports,
  • Cities shows positions of populated places with names,
  • Grid makes the screen looking like a regular paper map with latitudes and longitudes.

The world map is generalized. However the greater a scale the better a basemap. While you zoom in then the portion of the detailed map is loaded to your computer if the scale threshold of the map representation is crossed. The most detailed map of the world coastline is of the scale of 1:1,000,000. If it is loaded then the layers Inland waters and Rivers are invisible by default since they implies heavy Internet traffic if requested.

New child windows are created if you select buttons below the title:

  • Info provides information about selected vessels from a database,
  • Dates allows to specify a period to show routes and data reports in all requests that follow the date input,
  • Reports produces a table with data reports within the period specified.

The child windows consist of text information.

The period is of one day by default. There is a simple choice to specify either the last week or the last month. The most flexible way is provided with setting dates in two white rectangles where you may enter an initial date and an final date of the period of interest. A date format is presented in the example below:

You may specify any  period including historical that is the final date is not necessary means today. Then data reports and messages of the period are available for analysis from the database. The final date can be a date in a future. If you enter the present date then you have to update it for new portion of data very soon. It is recommended to set the last day of the year as the final date of the period that is in the future. The shorter period the faster data loading through the Internet.

The text window can be exported from the system. It is easy to save data as a dbf-file or csv-file in your computer for further processing with Excel or another software.

To select a vessel you have to click the left mouse button near the vessel position on the map. A request for the info or reports is related to the selected vessels only. However if there is no vessels selected in the session then the request is made for all vessels you are authorized to monitor.

Specifying a scale and a period you receive a map of your vessels with routes for the period from the system. The routes are shown as white broken lines with segments between red dots of data reports. The less time between consequitive data reports the better approximation of the real route with  the broken line. On the contrary, if data reports are received just once a day then the broken line might cross the land on the map. It is common for rivers. Then it is more convenient to make the layer Routes invisible if you monitor river vessels.

If a cursor is near an object then a wellow rectangle with information on the object appears. The object means either a symbol of a vessel position, or a line of a route, or a red dot of a data report. The information is either a vessel name, or time, etc.

Sometimes it is useful to save a map and data as a whole like a bookmark. It provides you an oportunity to retrieve the information when a new session starts. Two buttons of the picture menu allow you to save and retrieve a configuration:

  • Retrieve configuration that is saved for last time when the button Save configuration is pressed,
  • Save configuration that consists of information about a map scale, borders of the map, a list of selected vessels, and a specified period.

If the configuration is saved then it is easy to get the same picture on the screen as at the moment when the button Save configuration has been pressed for the last time. The configuration is saved in your computer. Press the button Retrieve configuration and get the last configuration on the screen without extra operations.


Active Control of Vessels

The following consequitive operations are typical for VMS Victoria:

  1. A user registers a vessel with the VMS Victoria provided the vessel is equipped with an Inmarsat-C mobile unit.
  2. Staff of the Monitoring Centre registers the mobile unit for use with the LES Eik in Norway.
  3. The LES initializes the mobile unit via satellite communications for the service and makes remote programming of the unit with a Data network id (DNID).
  4. Staff of the Monitoring Centre makes remote programming of the mobile unit with the DNID to receive regular data reports automatically with the period adapted to requirements of the present national regulations.For example, it might be twice a day. The data report consists of time, latitude, longitide, speed and course.
  5. The mobile unit transmits data reports automatically twice a day to the LES, the LES delivers the data to servers of the VMS Victoria via the Internet.
  6. VMS Victoria receives the data reports, puts them in a database, and provides mapping.
  7. A user enters the VMS Victoria via the Internet with a personal login and password. Using an Internet browser the user can monitor vessels which he is authorized to work with. 

An Inmarsat-C mobile unit can be included in few groups provided few DNID's are registered. When the additional DNID's are employed you can poll your vessels any time you want. The poll provides updated information on positions of the vessels. The VMS Victoria allows to make easier e-mail exchange with  vessels. The first registered DNID is usually intended for mandatory data reports according to national regulations. Optimal division of the fleet onto groups minimizes communication charges since an individual poll is just twice cheaper than a group poll which can serve up to 255 vessels simultaneously.

To provide a user with a capability to poll vessels  the Monitoring Centre staff follows the guideline:

  • User provides a fleet name.
  • User divides the fleet onto groups (optional).
  • Staff of the Monitoring Centre assigns a DNID to the fleet.
  • Staff of the Monitoring Centre assigns an individual DNID to each group (optional).

Registering a single group you get an opportunity to poll the whole fleet and individual vessels. If few groups are registered then you benefit of flexible polls of separate groups. Any period of automatic data reports can be set by youself.  Since DNID's are different the programming does not influence the mandatory data reporting.

Either a single vessel, or a selected group of vessels, or the whole fleet can be mapped on the display. To select a vessel for further requests you have to click the left mouse button when a cursor is near the symbol of the vessel. Few vessels can be selected with click and drag.

If the right mouse button pressed then the following pulldown menu appears: 

You may specify one of the following operations:

  • Polling
  • Group polling
  • Send message
  • Read messages
  • Group call
  • Other functions

If the position Other functions is selected then a list of special functions is proposed for further operations:

  • Distance
  • Print
  • Copy
  • Scale
  • Bookmark
  • Select
  • View

The special functions add convenient features for an active user but not necessary for regular operations.



1. Polling is a procedure to request information on position, speed and course from a mobile unit.The Poll command allows you:

  • Poll a vessel.
  • Program an Inmarsat-C mobile unit for regular unreserved data reporting, a period between data reports, and an initial moment for the first report.
  • Stop regular unreserved data reporting.

The window Poll shows a selected vessel with a mobile unit onboard. Select an option once if you need just a single poll. If you select regular data reporting then few parameters should be specified. There is an opportunity to send a brief text message within the poll command, for example, You will be met by captain Smith. A white field is dedicated for the text. To send the request press the button Send.

The request goes through  the chain of communications  User - Monitoring Centre server - Internet - LES - Vessel mobile unit - Reply of the unit - LES - Internet - Monitoring Centre server - The User. You can look at how the request goes through the chain using a special window that is shown below. Press the button Check delivery to update the information.

The following messages Data report not received or Positive Delivery Notification not received  are shown until the proper message is received. After the Positive Delivery Notification or Data Report is received you can read the message in a separate window clicking the underlined message type requested.

2. Group poll

There is another economical way to send a poll command to a group of vessels. The group poll provides the opportunity to do it. The option Group Poll is in a pulldown menu of the right mouse button.

You can poll or program for regular data reporting all vessel of a group with a single operation. The group is associated with a Data network id (DNID) which is downloaded once to individual vessels before polling can be used. The group or DNID is made according to your request by the Monitoring Centre after your registration. The group can include the whole fleet or its portion, they can be many. The poll window allows you to select the group that provides the best communication and minimizes total communication charges.


Send message

You can use Victoria to send and receive e-mail messages to and from vessels. The special window Send message assists you to make it as easy as possible. Just select a vessel, specify the option Send message in the pulldown menu and type you message in a white rectangle. Then press the button Send to complete the operation:

Read message

Choosing the option you get  an access to all messages from vessels and the LES which are located in the system database. The messages are divided into sections. Regular text messages from vessels can be found under the head Non-classified Messages. To get a list of messages in a section, you have to double click the section title in the left frame of the window. To read an individual message, double click the message title in the upper frame of the window. The text is immediately shown in the down right frame. The example is represented below.

Group Call

The option  provides an opportunity to brodcast a common text to many vessels with repetitions. Before you have to register an EGC network id (ENID) with the Monitoring Centre. The ENID is downloaded once to individual vessels before the vessel will recognise it.

Other Functions

The functions are intended to an advanced user to save time in the intensive work. They employ built-in functions of the GIS core Autodesk Mapguide

The main options are following:

Distance provides a range measurement tool.

Print allows you to print the map from the screen. 

Copy copies the screen as a bitmap file. 

Scale privides  an opportunity to specify it by numbers but not graphically.

Bookmark provides an easy way to get selected areas on the screen.

Select is an advance tool to select vessels and other objects on the map within a circle or a polygon.

Implementation of Features for Lite Version Victoria-Text

If your Internet channel is slow then  the Lite version is a proper solution since it minimizes the Internet channel load. The Lite version may be selected on the main page. Its interface is based on text and tables but not graphics. Therefore no need to download the Mapguide Viewer for mapping data. 

Many features of the Standard version are supported in the Lite version. The followings are among them:

  • select vessel
  • polling
  • view route
  • vessel info access
  • read message
  • send message
  • group call
  • specify period

You receive all the information with tables and text including a list of selected vessels in a table instead of a map. The information is identical to the Standard version. 

Additional Features of the Advanced Version Victoria-Technics

The advanced interface requires technical knowledge on how a mobile Inmarsat-C unit works. However it pays back since the advanced features include poll optimization using an extended set of poll operations. It supports telemetry that is polling  multiple devices and sensors which are connected to the mobile unit.

The extended set includes:

  • Circular area poll,
  • Rectangular area poll,
  • Navarea poll.

You can specify a sub-address at the mobile unit  which selects connected devices or sensors like a GPS device. Using the feature enter the sub-address number which is any value from 0 to 255. It corresponds to a device for the poll. The feature is especially useful for telemetry. The data can be collected from multiple devices provided each is supplied with a unique sub-address.


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