NOC Vessel Calibrator (NOViCe)

Lead Research Organisation: National Oceanography Centre
Department Name: Science and Technology


Marine radar is a powerful tool for environmental monitoring and survey with commercially available solutions to calculate water depth and tidal currents using radar images of waves on the sea surface. The majority of work in this field (both academically and commercially) uses ground-based, static radar installations. Increasingly however, interest is turning to making these remote measurements with radars on moving vessels.
In order to make oceanographic observations using radar from a moving vessel a number of 'calibration' parameters must be accurately determined in order to generate radar data of a sufficient standard for oceanographic analysis. These parameters are based on the physical installation of components on a vessel (and thus change from vessel to vessel) and are very difficult to determine manually. Recent developmental work at the NOC has generated a set of tools (the NOC Vessel Calibrator system: NOViCe) that are capable of accurately determining these offsets simply and robustly.
These developments have drawn considerable interest from Rutter Inc. - a radar company that sells radar-based environmental monitoring hardware and software (through their subsidiary OceanWaveS GmbH). The proposed pathfinder project will serve as a preliminary investigation to determine the applicability of the NOViCe software to data supplied by a commercial partner ahead of a potential license agreement and NERC Follow-on Fund. Supplying the NOViCe software to Rutter under license will enable Rutter to provide greatly enhanced vessel-based oceanographic radar data to their customers in the maritime sector.

Planned Impact

The project will give Rutter a clear indication of what developmental work (and therefore funding) is required in order to transition the currently research-grade NOViCe algorithms to a commercially exploitable form ready for a license agreement between NOC and Rutter. Rutter are keen to have the work progressed to the licensing stage as the inclusion of the NOViCe software in their centralised software suite will greatly enhance vessel-collected radar data going in to their commercial products. This will have a direct benefit to Rutter's sales of the OceanWaveS WaMoS II wave and current monitoring system and decrease the cost associated with individual set up of vessel-based radar monitoring systems.


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Description NOViCe set out to determine what developmental work would be required to advance the 'NOC vessel calibrator' software to a state suitable for licencing; with a potential initial licence with the project stakeholder company. The project was successful in determining the further work required (the software was not determined suitable for licence in its present state) and was found to work with data provided by the stakeholder company.
Exploitation Route The IP inherent in the NOViCe software has been submitted to patent. The findings of the project may be taken forward in future work, potentially through a Follow-on Fund application to increase the technology readiness level (TRL) of the developed technology. With sufficient further development the technology might be licensed for commercial use by a third company, potentially the stakeholder company.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment,Transport

Description The IP inherent in the NOViCe software has been submitted to patent with a current application for a PCT International patent (original filing date January 1st 2018).
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Description NOC Vessel Calibrator (NOViCe)
Amount £14,411 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S002391/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 08/2018
Title NOViCe radar vessel calibration method 
Description A method to discover the independent, systematic installation offsets ('patch-testing') inherent within a vessel-mounted marine radar system in order to generate accurately geographically-registered radar imagery. 
IP Reference US Patent App. 16/966,110 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2021
Licensed No
Impact None as yet