This isn't your father's Amver! What started as a computerized search and rescue system using vacuum tubes and punch cards has evolved into a 21st Century vessel tracking system using new Blade server technology.
Amver, a global search and rescue system, was facing obsolescence due to aging technology. Doug Horton, the Amver Team Project Control Specialist at the United States Coast Guard Operations Systems Center summed it up best when he challenged his team. “Team, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to improve the world’s best search and rescue system. Amver will be better then it was before. Better, stronger, faster," he stated.
Over the last eighteen months the Amver team replaced aging Hewlett Packard 9000 series equipment with state of the art Blade technology. “With the number of enrolled Amver vessels doubling in the last decade to over 22,000 and a tripling in daily messages sent to Amver at over 10,000 per day, it is imperative to keep this system in line with technological advances and continue to take advantage of the opportunity to improve performance for our customers,” stated Delfina Tomaini the Amver Project Officer.
The Amver team worked over 18 months to install new hardware running on a more efficient operating system. A new middleware infrastructure product called the Enterprise Service Bus is now incorporated into the system. This technology, coupled with Extensible Markup Language, makes processing of message traffic and documents faster, requiring less manual involvement for incomplete information. A new spatially infused database processes the calculations necessary to produce more accurate vessel positions providing higher quality surface pictures. What does that mean? More lives can be saved more quickly.
The project also provides a direct link between the Amver surface picture capability and the U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System, or SAROPS. The team successfully kept the legacy Amver system running while implementing the modernization. During the process Amver averaged 3,700 vessels on plot each day, added over 3,000 ships to the system, produced over 2,100 surface pictures, and saved over 300 lives.
Many thanks to the Amver team for a job well done!
Photo credit: USCG photos by Rick Caruso