Towards an automatic ice navigation support system in the arctic sea

Xintao Liu, Shahram Sattar, Songnian Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic
  • GIS
  • Isovist
  • Navigation
  • Sea ice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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