2007 Fellow

Presented to: Mr. David J. Pietraszewski

Citation: For significant contributions to DGPS and AIS development.


David J. Pietraszewski is the program area manager for Automatic Identification System (AIS) projects at the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center. Since joining the U.S.C.G. in 1970, he has participated in a variety of navigation technology development from solar power systems for buoys to worldwide implementation of the AIS. His early work included a laser optical channel marking system in the Saint Marys River in upper Michigan and a Loran-C based harbor navigation system.

During the 1980s, Pietraszewski studied the characteristics of GPS Block I performance and recommended pursuit of Differential GPS (DGPS) development. During development of the DGPS standard, RTCM SC104, he wrote sections dealing with data handling and details of implementing the differential corrections' data link. He was the U.S.C.G.'s expert on using medium frequency radio beacons for the DGPS data link. He led the project that produced the first RTCM SC104 capable user sets and reference stations, first radio beacon modulators and demodulator/receivers, and put the world's first beacon based DGPS service on air in 1989. In 1987, he conducted sea trials using RTCM SC104 methods and published performance results at the inaugural ION GPS conference and in NAVIGATION, The Journal of The Institute of Navigation. That paper was awarded "best paper" at the 1987 ION GPS conference. In October 1991, he was awarded the Secretary of Transportation (DOT) Award for Meritorious Achievement for his achievements in DGPS research, development, and application.

Following the 1989 Exxon Valdez grounding, Pietraszewski's career turned toward vessel traffic management. He demonstrated prototype satellite and digital selective calling based vessel tracking systems in Narragansett Bay and a wireless Internet based tracking and information system in San Francisco Bay.

Since 1997, Pietraszewski has made significant contributions to the international development and worldwide deployment of the AIS. AIS is collision avoidance technology prescribed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. Pietraszewski is widely acknowledged as the U.S. AIS expert and one of a handful of international experts on the subject. In May 2006, Pietraszewski was awarded the Secretary of Homeland Security Award for Excellence in recognition of his substantial contributions to the development of the AIS. AIS is now implemented worldwide on every vessel subject to the IMO SOLAS conventions, and the U.S.C.G. is building a nationwide AIS infrastructure modeled after the R&D Center's prototype network.

Pietraszewski is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute with B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering and a graduate of the U.S.C.G. Officer Candidate School.