Planning a safe navigation route for Navy ships involves poring over charts and maps for potential hazards, analyzing possible routes, double-checking information and cross-referencing against other digital and paper information sources. It can take days or even weeks to plan a mission route, and even then something can go wrong, such as when the USS Guardian ran aground last year partly because of overlooked errors in nautical charts.

That process could soon get a whole lot faster, as well as safer. The Office of Naval Research’s Mission Planning Application, initially developed in 2012 as a software tool for planning submarine missions, is now being adapted for surface vessels.

The interactive software application is being installed this month on the USS Mobile Bay, guided-missile cruiser, where researchers will work on refining the software with an eye toward expanding its use throughout the fleet, according to an ONR release.

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