Gateway Late Night
Hitchhiker’s Guide Entry
“DRADIS” is an acronym for “Direction, Range and Distance.” It is the common term for the navigation sensor packages installed aboard most slipships. It incorporates EM rangefinding, magnetic, thermal, and radiological sensors, IFF broadcasts, and telemetry info from AnsNet and shipping beacons to create a 3D representation of the space surrounding a ship.
Most DRADIS packages have two modes: tactical and strategic. Strategic DRADIS relies on ships’ voluntarily broadcasting their locations via AnsNet; these location broadcasts are then shared with other broadcasting ships. By treaty, only ships with location broadcasts enabled are provided with other ships’ location data. The advantages to this are obvious: one knows the location of every other compliant ship in the cluster with only very short delays. The disadvantages, of course, is that everyone with a DRADIS knows where you are.
Tactical DRADIS uses information gleaned from the ship’s sensors and shipping beacon uplinks to provide a detailed picture of the space near a ship. A great deal of information about nearby ships can be gleaned from sensor information, even if those other ships lack IFF or have turned theirs off. However, as T-DRADIS relies on EM propagation, it is subject to c-latency. While the range of T-DRADIS is theoretically unlimited, the further away a contact is, the less accurate the information about that contact will be due to both latency and signal degradation. Thus, the effective range of most DRADIS systems is approximately 100,000 km.