SPx ECDIS Radar Kit

For system integrators looking to build a localised or customed ECDIS solution, Cambridge Pixel’s kit provides components for radar acquisition, radar display, ENC display, target tracking and more. A sample ECDIS client, with source code, provides the starting point for customised solutions.


SPx ECDIS Radar Kit

What is ECDIS?

An ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) is a computer-based navigation system used by commercial shipping.

The SPx ECDIS Radar Kit

The SPx ECDIS Radar kit provides a set of components for primary radar video acquisition, radar display, chart display and tracking, any or all of which may be easily incorporated into an ECDIS application. Aimed at system integrators developing Windows-based ECDIS solutions, SPx ECDIS provides a radar interface card, high-performance software scan converter, ENC display, image mixer and target tracker in a cost-effective, flexible package. The SPx ECDIS package provides:

  • Radar input using the HPx-200C card
  • Radar scan conversion (PPI)
  • Electronic Chart (ENC) display
  • Target tracking
  • Display Mixing
  • Sample ECDIS client application with source code
  • Full documentation and support during development

Cambridge Pixel is an established provider of radar processing and display components, with many successful installations in commercial and military applications. Solutions are designed for ease-of-addition into existing application software, allowing     system integrators to develop with Windows MFC, or .NET. The SPx ECDIS package provides an easy-to-use software       architecture that allows the radar image to be combined with application graphics, including charts. Solutions are available for simple radar addition into a single PPI window, and for complex multi-radar, multi-window applications including radar pre-processing and recording.

The block diagram below shows how the SPx ECDIS software is used. The components shown in blue are part of the SPx         ECDIS kit. The component is orange is provide by the client application.

SPx ECDIS Coprocessor

The SPx ECDIS Coprocessor is the software module that handles the radar capture, processinf and display. It runs as a        Windows process, which is separate to the client application. The client application communicates to the SPx ECDIS         Coprocessor over a socket interface (process to process communication). A lightweight API is used by the client software to interface with the coprocessor. This interface is used for commands send to the software and for track and status data returned  from the software. The radar image generated by the software is automatically inserted inti the graphics application created by  the application software.

The SPx ECDIS package is supplied with sample application code to illustrate typical applications.

The table below shows the features provided by SPx ECDIS and the features assumed to be provided by the client ECDIS application.

ECDIS Radar Input

The HPx-200C PCI or HPx-200Ce (PCI express) radar input cards are used to acquire primary radar from standard video,       trigger and ACP/ARP signals.


HPx-200C PCI card for ECDIS applications HPx-200Ce PCI express card (x1 lane) for ECDIS applications


The cards provide significant flexibility in terms of the signal types and voltages allowing a wide range of commercial radars       to be accommodated.


HPx-200C and HPx-200Ce Summary Specification

Architecture Form factor PCI (half-length) Interface (HPx-200C) or
PCIexpress (HPx-200Ce)
PCI Bus 32-bit, 33/66 MHz
Processor x86
Functional Radar Inputs Analogue ( -5v to 5v), 75/500 Ohms input impedance
ACP/ARP (RS422, RS423, or 75 Ohm terminated discrete with opto-coupler)
Trigger (RS422, RS423, or up to 30v, 75 Ohms terminated discrete signal)
Gain Control Programmable gain and offset adjustment control
Test Generator Built in analogue and digital test generator
Return Length Programmable up to 32 k samples per return
Bandwidth 25 MHz
PRF 100 to 10 kHz
Scan Rates Up to 60 rpm
Sample Rate Programmable up to 50 MHz for each channel.
Trigger delay Programmable range zero trigger delay
Range correlation Programmable range decimation
Output Digitised radar video on PCI/PCIe bus
A to D 8 or 12 bit sampling
Connector Front Panel 37W D connector for radar video and ACP/ARP azimuth inputs. Parallel azimuth is accessible      through header connector on the card



SPx ECDIS Radar Display


Cambridge Pixel is a leading supplier of advanced software-based radar display solutions, having supplied many hundreds of display solutions to world-wide commercial and military applications. Our advanced scan conversion and display solution     provides exceptional accuracy, clarity and fidelity, allowing highly detailed radar images to be displayed.
Inside SPx ECDIS, the radar scan converter converts the incoming radar      data into a PPI image. It regularly updates the display to permit a smoothly updating radar image to be seen as an overlay/underlay to graphical data    such as charts.
A software API allows the client application to change the view of the scan converted radar to match the view of the displayed graphics. As soon as a    view change request is received, the scan converter immediately refreshes     the display at the new scale. The colour and brightness of the radar image     can be configured and trail history can be displayed in a different colour to      the most recent video.
The radar image created by SPx ECDIS may be inserted into a window      created and maintained by the application software. The insertion process supported the presentation of the radar video as an underlay or overlay to existing graphics data. A number of display combining modes are supported     to ease the integration of the radar display with the ENC charts maintained      by the application. As an option, SPx ECDIS can also handle the display of      the charts themselves.



SPx ECDIS Radar Display Specification

Display Type PPI
Number of Windows 1 (option for multi-window)
Display Mode North Up or Ship Heading Up
True or Relative motion
Radar Colour Configurable 24-bit RGB colour
Brightness 0 to 100% adjustable
Display resolution Up to 256 levels
Trail History Configurable from 1 to 255 scans
View Continuously adjustable for radar centre and range
Graphics Mixing Radar video image is blended with application graphics or provided as bitmap for application compositing.
Overlays and underlays to radar supported
Display resolution Up to 1920 x 1200, dual or single heads.


SPx ECDIS Target Tracking

SPx ECDIS has a built-in target tracker, which processes incoming video to extract and track targets. The acquisition process       can either be manual (an API provides a method of specifying the desired range and azimuth of a track) or fully automatic. For automatic track initiation (ATI) the area for acqusition may be configured by a set of lat/long polygons, or else may be defined automatically using SPx ECDIS’s built in world map. This map permits the acquisition to be specified as a distance from the    coastline, for example.

Targets are updated with the incoming radar video using a process of track association and filtering. The resulting track reports, comprising position, speed and course, are reported back to the ECDIS client software or may be displayed automatically by SPx ECDIS.


SPx ECDIS Target Tracker Specification

Initiation Type Manual (through API) or Automatic (ATI) in programmed area
Area for auto initiation Selectable as any combination of:

  • Sea areas only with configurable distance threshold from coast (uses built-in world vector shoreline database to automatically identifyy land and sea given current ship position)
  • Polygons defined by lat/long cordinates
  • Ship-relative range/heading
Detection CA-CFAR Threshold
Target Sizes Configurable target dimensions
Number of Tracks 100 (standard version), 250 (extended version)
Reporting Track reports generated as network messages
Display Ability to display tracks directly by SPx ECDIS and overlay on existing chart
Target Speeds From 0 to 50 knts (options for higher speed targets)
Acquisition Time Configurable from 2 scans upwards (M from N detector)
Track Filter Adaptive gain filter with manoeuvre detection
Tracking Range 0.1 to 100NM (options for longer ranges for specialist applications)
Coasting Automatic coasting for configurable number of scans before auto deletion
Deletion Auto deletion or reclassify as lost requiring manual confirmation.
Navigation Data NMEA-0183 Input required (eg RS232)



Cambridge Pixel Ltd
New Cambridge House,
Litlington, Royston,
Herts, SG8 0SS,
Phone: +44 (0) 1763 852749

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