Dr. Glenn Wright

United States of America
Dissertation Title: Virtual Aids to Navigation

What attracted you to WMU and/or why did you choose WMU?  My research could have been performed at preeminent technical universities worldwide. However, to effect problem solutions requires more than investigating their theoretical underpinnings and devising approaches to advance knowledge and the state of the art. WMU is the only university with resources to support the highest levels of academic research that can also place the results into a proper framework where a path to implementation can be accomplished. Access to WMU’s faculty knowledge, and experience with international organizations such as the IMO, the many national authorities as well as non-Governmental organizations is invaluable to accomplish such endeavors.

Why did you select the research topic you worked on?  My topic, Virtual Aids to Navigation, involved research for ships to navigate where existing methods are not available. Mariners invented navigation of the seas, and through millennia have advanced the state of the art. The aviation and aerospace industries adopted these concepts, and have extended them so aircraft can navigate the skies and spacecraft the universe with great precision. Yet, maritime navigation charts of large areas of the planet are still blank, aids to navigation do not exist, and mariners today still find themselves exploring uncharted waters with few advantages over Columbus, Magellan, Cook and other explorers of antiquity.

What is the highlight of studying at WMU?  Prior to coming to WMU my experience involved many years in industry since completing my previous academic studies. Here I have been exposed to what is essentially a new world of academia where the approaches towards thought follow a different path. The basic principles of the issues are considered in furthering knowledge, rather than merely applying knowledge to achieve the means to an end. Academic journals and the peer review process, resources that are relatively unknown and rarely used by industry, have provided new insight into how thoughts may be communicated, and what considerations are important as well as significant.

What are your plans after graduation?  The journey begun at WMU accelerates. Support is pending for advancing my concepts to survey the ocean’s unknown littoral spaces and to place Virtual Aids to Navigation in the Arctic and elsewhere. The Navigation Sonar Project has been initiated, through which large scale, high resolution crowdsourcing of data representing large swaths of the sea floor are captured by thousands of vessels of opportunity worldwide. New navigation capabilities on and beneath the oceans’ surfaces are being created that can be extended to explore beyond this planet to the lakes and seas of Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa.