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Towards an Automatic Ice Navigation Support System in the Arctic Sea

Department of Civil Engineering, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Suzana Dragicevic, Xiaohua Tong and Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(3), 36;
Received: 18 January 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 8 March 2016 / Published: 14 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bridging the Gap between Geospatial Theory and Technology)
PDF [4951 KB, uploaded 14 March 2016]


Conventional ice navigation in the sea is manually operated by well-trained navigators, whose experiences are heavily relied upon to guarantee the ship’s safety. Despite the increasingly available ice data and information, little has been done to develop an automatic ice navigation support system to better guide ships in the sea. In this study, using the vector-formatted ice data and navigation codes in northern regions, we calculate ice numeral and divide sea area into two parts: continuous navigable area and the counterpart numerous separate unnavigable area. We generate Voronoi Diagrams for the obstacle areas and build a road network-like graph for connections in the sea. Based on such a network, we design and develop a geographic information system (GIS) package to automatically compute the safest-and-shortest routes for different types of ships between origin and destination (OD) pairs. A visibility tool, Isovist, is also implemented to help automatically identify safe navigable areas in emergency situations. The developed GIS package is shared online as an open source project called NavSpace, available for validation and extension, e.g., indoor navigation service. This work would promote the development of ice navigation support system and potentially enhance the safety of ice navigation in the Arctic sea. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea ice; Arctic; navigation; GIS; Isovist sea ice; Arctic; navigation; GIS; Isovist

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Liu, X.; Sattar, S.; Li, S. Towards an Automatic Ice Navigation Support System in the Arctic Sea. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 36.

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