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Radar-based positioning system

Artemis is high-precision microwave locating and positioning system of the range-bearing type, developed in 1964 by the Dutch Radar Laboratory (NRP) (later: CHL) [2]. It was used in the days before GPS 1 for precision-positioning, for example for sinking the caissons in the Dutch Delta Works. 2 Artemis is manufactured today (2016) by Guidance Marine in the UK [3] and is still the most reliable system for offshore purposes, despite the arrival of satellite-based GPS navigation.

Current Artemis logo, Copyright Duidance Marine, UK [3].

Development of Artemis started on a free-lance base in 1957 aiming to develop an antenna that was able to follow an active (mobile) target. The first prototype was ready in 1958, but it took many experiments and improvements before the system could be used as intended in 1961 [1].

Experiments with one of the first Artemis sets in 1964 [1]

The first three complete systems were delivered to Dutch authorities (Rijkswaterstaat) in 1964, to follow live television transmissions from moving ships. The image above shows one of the 1964 experiments in Hindelopen (Netherlands). At the time, the name Artemis was first used for:

Automatisch Richtend Telecommunicatie Microgolf Systeem
Automatic Bearing Telecommunications Microwave System.

As the system was capable of acurately determining the bearing (angle) and distance (range) to the target, it was later converted into the ranging and positioning system as we know it today. Consequently, the name ARTEMIS was used as the abbreviation of:

Automatic Ranging Theodolite Eradating Microwave Signals

In 1972, Artemis was linked to an HP calculator with plotter, allowing the acquired position to be directly plotted on paper. The big breakthrough came after a series of demonstrations in various parts of the world in 1973. In 1976, the system was first used for dynamically positioning and sinking of the caissons in the Dutch Delta Works [4]. The NRP developers would later receive the VEDER price for this. By 1982, 100 Artemis systems had been delivered, and two years later this number had doubled to 200 units [1]. In 2016, Artemis was still available from Guidance Marine.
  1. GPS = Global Positioning System.  Wikipedia
  2. The Delta Works (Dutch: Deltawerken) was a series of construction works in the southwest of the Netherlands to protect a large area of land from the sea.  Wikipedia

Modern Artemis system as sold by Guidance Marine in 2016 [3][

CHL   Christiaan Huygens Lab
Spin-off of the Dutch Radar Laboratory (NRP) and successor to part of the activities of the NRP, based in Katwijk (Netherlands) [2].

NRP   Nederlands Radar Proefstation
Dutch Radar Laboratory, at the time located in Noordwijk (Netherlands).  More

  1. Nederlands Radar Proefstation 40 Jaar / 1947-1987
    July 1987. Page 34-36.

  2. CHL, Reference Artemis
    Retrieved January 2017.

  3. Guidance Marine Limited, Artemis®
    Retrieved January 2017.

  4. Wikipedia, Delta Works
    Retrieved January 2017.

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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 15 January 2017. Last changed: Sunday, 15 January 2017 - 16:23 CET.
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