Surveying in cyberspace

27 May 2010
Olav Nortun, DNV’s coo responsible for global development

Olav Nortun, DNV’s Chief Operating Officer responsible for global development

DNV has inaugurated a 3D survey simulator at Gdynia, Poland, designed to improve safety in the shipping industry. Using this, DNV says, virtual ships are used for training, knowledge sharing and development.

DNV says that class surveyors and port state inspectors are able to take major steps forward through improved and accelerated training. Use of the tool will later be extended to ship officers and superintendents.

Based on the same principles as those used in computer games, trainees are able to navigate around all parts of a vessel. Inspections can be carried out from the upper part of the superstructure to the lower part of a cargo hold or the ship’s double bottom. Even a drilling rig can be surveyed in cyberspace.

“For DNV, it’s important to develop technology and invest our money where the whole maritime industry can be brought new steps forward to improved safety. I’m proud of what we have achieved and the fact that, after years of intensive in-house software development, we are today presenting a unique tool,” says Olav Nortun, DNV’s COO responsible for global development.

A new building has been opened to house the training facilities designed for the 3D simulator. But, as Nortun stresses, the equipment will be made portable and surveyors can be trained almost everywhere.

The 3D survey simulator allows trainees to conduct inspections on virtual vessels, indentify non-compliances and safety issues and optimise workflow processes in a controlled, interactive and guided environment. Using images taken from existing vessels, the 3D-enabled software replicates onboard conditions with remarkable fidelity.

“Not only has the technology developed. So have the surveyors too. Especially the younger surveyors have used computer systems as a more integrated part of their education. They are a modern generation of gamers. They are often named the ‘PlayStation generation’. This tool meets their expectations,” Nortun adds.

The software has been designed with flexibility in mind. Numerous different findings can be included so that surveyors can visualise what they will face in a real situation. Trainees are allowed to adjust conditions, such as the degree of corrosion and weather and light conditions, to fit different purposes. Safety conflicts are also built into the program to encourage trainees to be more aware of potential hazards while inspecting.

“Over the past few years, the number of ships in operation has increased a lot. Recruiting skilled professionals to all parts of the industry has become a challenge. Nothing can replace onboard training when it comes to achieving experience and improving knowledge, but the 3D simulator is the closest we can come on shore,” Nortun concludes.

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