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Application Note

Marine - Dynamic Positioning Systems

WindObserver provides accuracy and environmental robustness for a precision system


Many marine applications require the vessel or platform position to be consistently maintained to ensure efficient and safe operation. This can range from vessels such as oceanographic research vessels, cable laying ships and cruise ships to offshore drilling units.

A dynamic positioning system (DPS) actively compensates for the forces exerted on the vessel, automatically maintaining position and orientation. To achieve this, information from a series of on-board sensors, including wind sensors, directly informs the DPS allowing it to calculate the forces thrusters must produce to control the vessel’s motion.


Wind speed and direction can significantly affect ship or platform position and anemometers provide this key information to the DPS. The wind sensor measurements must be both accurate and totally reliable to ensure accurate control of the vessel. In addition, the anemometers themselves must be able to function reliably long term in some of the most hostile marine environments – enduring corrosive conditions as well as extremes of temperature. Loss of position resulting from poor sensor measurements or other factors can be a threat to safe operations and the environment as well as potentially causing damage to property and reputation.


Gill Instruments’ WindObserver is used extensively in dynamic positioning systems worldwide. WindObserver’s high measurement acquisition rate allows disturbed measurements to be disregarded without affecting normal data flows. In extreme circumstances where measurement is not possible, the instrument also provides status codes to alert the user, providing assurance that any data delivered can be trusted.

WindObserver is constructed from stainless steel ensuring effective, maintenance-free operation in marine environments over many years. WindObserver is also available with optional heating allowing measurements to continue in the most challenging environments.

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WindObserver anemometers are critical sensors within marine and offshore applications used on board vessels like the Bibby WaveMaster (pictured)

WindObserver 65 Industrial Anemometer


Designed for use in arduous conditions: IP66, Lloyds Register approved, measures wind speeds up to 75m/s (168mph), high power heating option, NMEA.

Recommended wind sensors for dynamic positioning systems...

WindObserver 90 2D sonic anemometer

Gill WindObserver 75 is a precision industrial anemometer, offering wind speed (0-75m/s) and direction data in a robust stainless-steel construction. WindObserver 75 has an optional enhanced heating system and is available with a range of mounting and connection options.

WindObserverIS carries intrinsic safety ATEX approval for use in hazardous areas and monitors wind speeds of 0-75m/s. WindObserverIS is particularly suited to offshore oil platform applications.