Topical matters

Planning and Reporting of Testbeds in the Maritime Domain

Dublin Bay Digital Diamond

  • Location of testbed: Dublin Bay, East Coast of Ireland
  • Time and duration of testbed: 2013-2015
  • Status (planned, completed or on-going): Completed
  • Contact person(s): Deirdre Lane-
  • Testbed website:
  • Organisation(s) involved: Irish Lights, R&RNav and various members of the DBDD Technical Advisory Committee including representatives from; the Irish Naval Service, Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin Port, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC), University of Limerick, Irish Cruising Club, Irish Ferries, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Smart Bay, Irish Coastguard, Integrated Mapping For the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource (INFOMAR), Sea Safari, Burkes Shipping and the RNLI.
  • Funding programme and budget: INTERREG


The Dublin Bay Digital Diamond (DBDD) was an e-Navigation demonstrator established by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.  The purpose of this project was to improve safety & efficiency of maritime transport and deliver stakeholder value.  The project took advantage of existing Irish Lights and partner organisation infrastructure to provide platforms for the core communications network required.


Initially the project concentrated on engaging the maritime community and a number of stakeholder meetings were held to ensure user focussed outcomes.  A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was convened to provide advice on the technical feasibility of tests.

The primary objective of the project was to bring together key shipboard and shore interests to demonstrate the harmonised services which can be delivered and the cross sector benefits that can be achieved.  A key objective throughout was communication of the potential of e-Navigation to the maritime community and the public.

With the end user in mind, we conducted a small number of bridge surveys to establish the mariner’s opinion on e-Navigation and the current status of electronic bridge equipment.  Publication of our online magazine “e-Navigation News” helped keep our stakeholders informed of the status of the project and the development of e-Navigation at the International Maritime Organisation.

Details of enavigation solution/s considered in the testbed:

The “AIS to Text” Tool addressed the IMO’s Strategy Implementation Plan  S2: Means for standardized and automated reporting .

The Stereoscopic Positioning Trial addressed S3: Improved reliability, resilience and integrity of bridge equipment and navigation information.

 The category of enavigation solution/s considered in the testbed:

Included technical, operational and established users knowledge of e-Navigation.


A Wi-Fi trial was conducted across the Dublin Bay area to enable data transfer between the four nodes at Irish Lights, Kish Lighthouse, Baily Lighthouse, and Dublin Port, all feeding data back to Irish Lights Head Quarters.

A Stereoscopic Positioning trial was set up, where two photos of the same object/view were taken a few meters apart to establish if they could be compared with real-time on board camera images and processed for a match at a particular bearing.

The Dublin Bay Buoy was fitted with Met/ Hydro sensors and a water quality sonde.   This data was then brought back to Irish Lights via an Automatic Identification System (AIS) message.

Finish Company Meritaito provided two Spar buoys, in an e-Navigation context they can be used to place sensors in particular on constant tension mooring buoys in order to provide the mariner with real time data.

An “AIS to text” tool was tested to establish if a Very High Frequency (VHF) voice reporting point could be replaced using AIS to send an automated Short Message Service (SMS) text message.

A Video Surveillance System demonstration took place to display remote visual monitoring of activity in Dublin Bay to the stakeholders.


The Wi-Fi trial found that the receiver had good signal strength, however a lot of noise from external access points was found across the bay.  The Stereoscopic Positioning test found that the performance of this system is highly dependent on quality and spread of land marks.

Stakeholder value was delivered by the Dublin Bay Buoy Met/ Hydro tool and the water quality sonde.  As an organisation we learned more about sensors, their correct mounting and maintenance.  We practiced safe deployment of Spar Buoys, but we also learned of their conspicuity issues.


In conclusion, valuable lessons were learned.  It was found that improved safety & efficiency of maritime transport could be achieved by the “AIS to text” tool and that elements of this tool could be expanded in the future.


Irish Lights e-Navigation News Issues 1-5 Available at: