Keywords : focus, network

Focus on the IT Network

The IT Network

The multiservices network

The IT systems on the Pourquoi pas? are based on a huge multiservices network which must not only provide the scientific community with all the services of a typical corporate network, but also convey information from the acoustic sensors on the ship's hull and video images from the surveillance cameras. On the ship, the cameras are digitised in real time to Mpeg4 format, enabling different onboard videos to be easily intigrated into all IT graphic displays.

The GigaEthernet IT network is available in almost all office areas of the ship using universal mutli-application RJ45 cabling (Ethernet, telephony and sensors) with 800 sockets, giving those onboard major flexibility in terms of use and integrating the sensors and external systems required for each mission.

Furthermore, the whole ship is fitted with WiFi network points for transmitting data electronically and for mobile telephones. Finally, this network includes an IP telephony system.

It integrates all computers on the ship by class, including the navigation systems, the acquisition, storage and real-time sensor data broadcasting systems, as well as the data processing systems.

Whilst the computer systems are available everywhere onboard, accessibility and operation is helped by division into real-time and batch-processing subunits, ensuring that the systems function well and that missions are successful.

Real-time navigation systems

Situated on the bridge (deck 8), it is composed of 2 main elements:

  • CINNA (Integrated navigation control unit): acquires the parameters for navigation of the ship, the submersible device, for dead-reckoning and contour following. It was developed by Genavir.
  • ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System): allows the ship to be located, among other things, on electronic charts.

Real-time data acquisition and storage systems

Situated chiefly in the scientific control room (Control and Aquisition Zone), mainly on a configurable wall-mounted screen, these are composed of:

  • TECHSAS (TECHnical and Scientific sensors Acquisition System). This system for acquiring data from technical and scientific sensors is one of the principal parts of the ship. It enables measurements to be acquired from a majority of sensors, the dating of measurements, their storage, technical monitoring display and finally real-time distribution over the onboard Ethernet network in XML frame form.
    Techsas is also fitted on the hydro-oceanograhic ship, the Beautemps-Beaupré, ensuring interoperability between the civil and military fleets.

  • RESON MBS and TECHSAS-MBS (MultiBeam Sounders). The two acquisition and data visualisation systems for the data from the RESON multibeam sounders (7K and PDS 7000) are connected to the TECHSAS-MBS centre which stores and distributes the data in real-time over the data network.
  • Specialised acquisition systems for the more complex sensors such as the 2 ADCP (VMDAS), the vectorial and scalar magnetometers, the pinger (SEPIA), the Sippicans, the attitude control unit, the single beam sensor, the penetrating sensor and the SABINA acoustic noise measure.
  • QUARTAO(computer assisted monitoring management software) designed for electrical engineers to monitor and check the quality of data acquired.

Real-time mission monitoring systems

Situated chiefly in the scientific control room (Mission monitoring area and Device monitoring area) (desk 7), where tools for monitoring the development of the mission can be found.

  • SUMATRA (Real-time mission monitoring). This software enables all data relevant to the mission (position of the ship and the devices, surveys by the multibeam sounders, data from the sensors, ADCP, etc.) to be viewed and superimposed on geographic information systems. It also runs two thermal plotters for continuous printing of imaging from the sounders. It is accessible to all and includes a simplified operating mode and an expert mode for more complex viewing and settings.
  • CASINO+ (Scientific monitoring logbook). This allows scientists to automatically collect a set of scientific and technical data, whilst recording operations carried out onboard during a mission. This information is dated and georeferenced, which helps scientists when analysing the mission. This tool can also be used to define the route and the projected schedule for the ship.

Real-time videosurveillance and information displaying systems

Situated at 35 points around the ship (from deck 1 to deck 8), information screens are the responsibility of the people working in the offices in which they are located.

Batch-processing systems: Posts for data processing and office automation

Situated chiefly in the processing room (desk 3), the multi- or single-purpose computer posts (Linux Redhat, Windows XP) feature the following software:

A set of A0 plotters for printers and scanners, which allow the data to be valorized are fitted in the processing room

Finally, a full office environment (PC, MAC and associated software) is available to scientists. Office software is installed on a Windows XP operating system for PC and on Mac OSX for MACs.

Equipment in the conference room

This room has equipment for computer and video projections. The main equipment is a conference lectern, a permanent PC, a DVD/VHS player and a video projector.

Electronic Messaging

An electronic messaging system using the INMARSAT-FLEET 77 satellite is available for scientists and navigators on the ship. The tools used are the same as those available in the laboratories on land (message management with Netscape, individual mailboxes, standard email address, etc.).

Situated in two email offices (deck 5 for the scientific teams and deck 6 for the crew), open-access posts are dedicated for email.