MYWAY is the navigation system employed during Oceanographic Cruises
of the Italian Antarctic Research Program (PNRA).

The system, based on web technologies, was developed by ENEA
and uses only Open Source Software.

MYWAY·AT·HOME is the system section that allows you to follow
live the current Oceanographic Campaign.


reports the current track of the LAURA BASSI vessel in a geo-referred map with other useful data like current ice concentration and bathymetric curves.


is a panel that shows the cruise information grouped in current and next waypoint position, vessel and meteo information.


Position shows the current vessel position with useful navigation information to the side.


The Myway system is a set of hardware and software which, in an integrated way, ensures all the functions necessary for carrying out the activities of the Navigation Laboratory during the PNRA's oceanographic cruises.

The primary system's functions are

  • acquisition and real-time display of the ship's position besides weather and sea conditions
  • storage of the received data in a geographic database
  • displaying the operative area map with useful information like as:
    - ship's tracks
    - Polarview's ice map concentration
    - satellite images by GIBS
    - scientific activities positioning
  • automatic mailing for ship's position notification
  • COMNAP Asset Tracking System (CATS) data feeding
  • scientific and logistic activities memorization

Myway's architecture design aimed to separate its main functions into independent and autonomous three components shown in the following figure.

Myway's architecture schema

According to this approach, the data generated by the navigation tools (measuring component) are injected into the Ethernet local network (LAN), and the heart of the system (processing component) acquires and display them in real-time and can store them in a geographic database. All-in-one personal computers (visualization component) allow to access and view information concerning navigation.


The measuring component of the system acquires navigation data and make them available on the ship's local network. In particular, two multiplexers (MiniPlex) receive NMEA serial data from onboard instruments and inject them into LAN according to UDP protocol. In such a way, the information about navigation, like GPS position, weather conditions, vessel speed and heading, is available to each device connected to the local network.

The instruments connected to the multiplexers are:

  • ship GPS antenna (time, speed and ship position)
  • ship gyro compass (ship heading)
  • motion reference unit (pitch, roll and heave)
  • echosounder (sea depth)
  • ship wind sensor (relative wind speed and direction )
  • meteorological station (atmosphere temperature, pressure, humidity, dew point and sun radiation)

Often, legacy scientific instruments require serial NMEA GPS signal. Single-board computers (Arduino YUN) programmed to convert NMEA signals from UDP to serial are applied to satisfy such a request. This method is the right solution because Arduino boards are cheap and can easily be deployed almost everywhere on the ship.


The processing component is based on a Linux Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS deployed as a virtual machine on a high-availability Oracle VM platform. The server runs Myway, the three-tier web application developed by ENEA that only use open-source software and implements the navigation function mentioned above.

Myway components are shown in the following schema.

Myway's architecture schema

Myway grabs the LAN NMEA packets at a 1 Hz rate and the last value of each instrument is temporary stored in a buffer. At the lower frequency of 1/30 Hz, the buffer values are stored into the database. Both grabbing and storing frequencies can freely be set-up.

A web browser connected to the server can continuously show the values of the buffer (Conning) or display those stored into the database (Reports).

The geographic data stored in the database or files are visible on a browser through a map server (Geoserver). The software applied to build the geographic component complies with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards, ensuring Myway high interoperability.


The visualization component comprehends all-in-one computers that show useful cruise information; one of them deployed on the bridge supports the crew during the navigation. Further, the Myway web pages responsiveness allows the users to display navigation data on their own devices such as smartphones or notebooks.


Myway At Home (MAH) is a web application that allows you to follow the oceanographic campaign live as if you were aboard the ship.

For narrowing internet traffic and security reasons, access to the Myway system is restricted to onboard users only. To succeed such a limit and let the public follow the ship, a Myway server mirror, namely MAH, has been deployed on Italy's mainland. The following figure shows how the database replication allows MAH users to display the same navigation information available to Myway users, non-increasing internet traffic to the ship.

MAH architecture schema

Apart from temporary communication interruption, the MAH data are updated at the same rate of Myway storer (1/30 Hz). Further, after a disconnection, the replication system can realign the content of the databases.


Server side

  • Java EE
  • Struts
  • Postgresql
  • PostGis
  • Pglogical
  • Geoserver

Client side

  • DataTables
  • Jsgauges
  • Openlayers
  • Plotly
  • Html5up


System Design & development

Stefano Ferriani

Pictures & Video

Stefano Ferriani, Riccardo Scipinotti

Ma la terra con cui hai diviso il freddo mai più potrai fare a meno di amarla.

Bene!, Vladimir Majakovskij, 1929