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SPx ECDIS Radar Kit

SPx ECDIS Radar Kit

The SPx ECDIS Radar kit provides a set of components for primary radar video acquisition, radar display, chart display and tracking, any or all of which may be easily incorporated into an ECDIS application. Aimed at system integrators developing Windows-based ECDIS solutions, SPx ECDIS provides a radar interface card, high-performance software scan converter, ENC display, image mixer and target tracker in a cost-effective, flexible package.

The SPx ECDIS package provides:

  • Radar input using the HPx-200C card
  • Radar scan conversion (PPI)
  • Electronic Chart (ENC) display
  • Target tracking
  • Display Mixing
  • Sample ECDIS client application with source code
  • Full documentation and support during development

The block diagram below shows how the SPx ECDIS software is used. The components shown in blue are part of the SPx ECDIS kit. The component in orange is provided by the client application.

Cambridge Pixel is an established provider of radar processing and display components, with many successful installations in commercial and military applications. Solutions are designed for ease-of-addition into existing application software, allowing system integrators to develop with Windows MFC, or .NET. The SPx ECDIS package provides an easy-to-use software architecture that allows the radar image to be combined with application graphics, including charts. Solutions are available for simple radar addition into a single PPI window, and for complex multi-radar, multi-window applications including radar pre-processing and recording.

SPx ECDIS Coprocess

The SPx ECDIS Coprocess is the software module that handles the radar capture, processing and display. It runs as a Windows process, which is separate to the client application. The client application communicates to the SPx ECDIS Coprocess over a socket interface (process-to-process communication). A lightweight API is used by the client software to interface with the Coprocess. This interface is used for commands sent to the software and for track and status data returned from the software. The radar image generated by the software is automatically inserted into the graphics application created by the application software.

The SPx ECDIS package is supplied with sample application code to illustrate typical applications.

SPx ECDIS Block Diagram

The table below shows the features provided by SPx ECDIS and the features assumed to be provided by the client ECDIS application.

SPx ECDIS Features

ECDIS Radar Input

The HPx-200C PCI or HPx-200Ce (PCI express) radar input cards are used to acquire primary radar from standard video, trigger and ACP/ARP signals. The cards provide significant flexibility in terms of the signal types and voltages allowing a wide range of commercial radars to be accommodated.

A summary specification for the HPx-200C and HPx-200Ce is given below:

Form Factor: PCI, half-length (HPx-200C) or PCI Express x1 lane (HPx-200Ce)
PCI Bus: 32-bit, 33/66MHz
Processor: x86
Radar Inputs: Analogue (-5v to +5v), 75/500 Ohms input impedance
ACP/ARP (RS422, RS423, or 75 Ohm terminated discrete with opto-coupler)
Trigger (RS422, RS423, or up to 30v, 75 Ohms terminated discrete signal)
Gain Control: Programmable gain and offset adjustment control
Test Generator: Built in analogue and digital test generator
Return Length: Programmable up to 4k samples per return
Bandwidth: 25 MHz
PRF: 100Hz to 10kHz
Scan Rates: Up to 60rpm
Sample Rate: Programmable up to 50MHz
Trigger Delay: Programmable range zero trigger delay
Range Correlation: Programmable range decimation
Output: Digitised radar video on PCI/PCIe bus
A to D: 8-bit sampling
Front Panel: 37W D connector for radar video, trigger and ACP/ARP azimuth inputs.

SPx ECDIS Radar Display

Cambridge Pixel is a leading supplier of advanced software-based radar display solutions, having supplied many hundreds of display solutions to world-wide commercial and military applications. Our advanced scan conversion and display solution provides exceptional accuracy, clarity and fidelity, allowing highly detailed radar images to be displayed.

Inside SPx ECDIS, the radar scan converter converts the incoming radar data into a PPI image. It regularly updates the display to permit a smoothly updating radar image to be seen as an overlay/underlay to graphical data such as charts.

A software API allows the client application to change the view of the scan converted radar to match the view of the displayed graphics. As soon as a view change request is received, the scan converter immediately refreshes the display at the new scale. The colour and brightness of the radar image can be configured and trail history can be displayed in a different colour to the most recent video.

The radar image created by SPx ECDIS may be inserted into a window created and maintained by the application software. The insertion process supported the presentation of the radar video as an underlay or overlay to existing graphics data. A number of display combining modes are supported to ease the integration of the radar display with the ENC charts maintained by the application. As an option, SPx ECDIS can also handle the display of the charts itself.

A summary specification for SPx ECDIS radar display is given below:

Display Type: PPI
Number of windows: 1 (option for multi-window)
Display Mode: North Up or Ship Heading Up
True or Relative motion
Radar Colour: Configurable 24-bit RGB colour
Brightness: 0 to 100% adjustable
Radar Video Resolution: Up to 256 levels
Trail History: Configurable from 1 to 255 scans
View: Continuously adjustable for radar centre and range
Graphics Mixing: Radar video image is blended with application graphics or provided as bitmap for application compositing.
Overlays and underlays to radar supported
Display Resolution: Up to 1920x1200, dual or single heads

SPx ECDIS Target Tracking

SPx ECDIS has a built-in target tracker, which processes incoming video to extract and track targets. The acquisition process can either be manual (an API provides a method of specifying the desired range and azimuth of a track) or fully automatic. For automatic track initiation (ATI) the area for acqusition may be configured by a set of lat/long polygons, or else may be defined automatically using SPx ECDIS's built in world map. This map permits the acquisition to be specified as a distance from the coastline, for example.

Targets are updated with the incoming radar video using a process of track association and filtering. The resulting track reports, comprising position, speed and course, are reported back to the ECDIS client software or may be displayed automatically by SPx ECDIS.

A summary specification for SPx ECDIS radar tracker is given below:

Initiation Type: Manual (through API) or Automatic (ATI) in programmed area
Area for Auto Initiation: Selectable as any combination of:
  • Sea areas only with configurable distance threshold from coast (uses built-in world vector shoreline database to automatically identify land and sea given current ship position)
  • Polygons defined by lat/long cordinates
  • Ship-relative range/heading
Detection: CA-CFAR threshold
Target Sizes: Configurable target dimensions
Number of Tracks: 100 (Standard version), 250 (Extended version)
Reporting: Track reports generated as network messages
Display: Ability to display tracks directly by SPx ECDIS and overlay on existing chart
Target Speeds: From 0 to 50 knts (options for higher speed targets)
Acquisition Time: Configurable from 2 scans upwards (M from N detector)
Track Filter: Adaptive gain filter with manoeuvre detection
Tracking Range: 0.1 to 100NM (options for longer ranges for specialist applications)
Coasting: Automatic coasting for configurable number of scans before auto deletion
Deletion: Auto deletion or reclassify as lost requiring manual confirmation
Navigation Data: NMEA-0183 Input required (e.g. RS232)