Aside from my love of the Enterprise-A bridge (Undiscovered Country) I have always found the bridge of the USS Voyager to be one of the best looking control centres among Federation Starships. The colour scheme and tones are very much like the Constitution-class, albeit with alot more, but soft, blue tinted lighting. It’s also one the first regular starships with the infamous MSD that sits behind the Captain. (Regularly seen on the USS Defiant but the Enterprise-D has her’s in engineering).
The bridge layout is typical of most Federation starships, except the Captain no longer sits alone, but on the same bank of seating as the Excecutive Officer, much the same as a Galaxy class ship (although the Captain is slightly higher seated). Also there is no seat for the ships councellor. The Intrepid class Bridge sports some of the most advanced technology and command-capabilities.
Rearmost, the Intrepid Bridge is served by a large bank of consoles and data-readout screens. Center of that area is the Master Systems Display. From the MSD, all of the crew can get a compressed view of the ship and major systems for on-the-fly analysis. Control consoles flank the MSD on either side, running everything from incoming sensor data, to communications and auxiliary systems control.
Starboard of the information center, just past the starboard side turbolift, is the Chief Tactical Officer’s console. Behind the forward-facing console is a larger area, with bigger displays and additional control infrastructure. This area is maintained mostly for internal security and manned by the Chief Tactical Officer’s assistant or similar. In typical configuration, the Chief Tactical Officer is in primary control of external security and weapons systems with the sister console configured for more sensor work and management of internal security. Tactical console usage is extremely limited; only Beta-2 Tactical clearance personnel can use it, and the user must input special codes to even get access to the massive amounts of computer links that give tactical nearly limitless information at the ship’s disposal. For full access, the console’s security subsystem can run a battery of scans on the user, including thermal, biological, retinal, and vocal tests. If all of these are passed, full access to the ship’s offensive and defensive systems is made available.
Across from the tactical kiosk is the Operations Manager’s post. From there, he or she has access to and/or control over ship’s internal systems, power flow, sensor data, communications, and transporter control. As one of the most important positions at any one time, the Operations kiosk is always manned.
The two turbolifts on the bridge can handle normal transit around the ship. Also, an emergency ladder connects the bridge to Deck Three. Forward of the upper ship operations areas are doorways on port and starboard sides of the bridge. To port, access to the briefing room is provided. Inside is a large table for seating a minimum of eight officers, as well as displays, and a large set of viewports for vista. Starboard access leads to the Captain’s Ready Room. As the captain’s personal office, many command decisions are made there instead of the bridge.
Directly forward of the command area and sunken down by two steps is the Conn. From this position, the Flight Control Officer serves as helmsman and navigator for the Intrepid class. The Conn has access to a wide array of ship systems, including Engineering data as the Chief of Helm often serves as a bridge liaison to Engineering.
To the right of the Conn sits the Chief Engineer. Though far better served in Main Engineering, the Engineer is often needed on the bridge to provide analysis and control ‘on site’, as it were. This location is manned by a single officer, with wraparound consoles and access to almost all ship controls. . Typical configuration keeps a scaled down version of the master systems display keyed to display problems visually, as well as dedicated screens showing the status of the warp drive and structural integrity systems.
Directly opposite sits the Chief Science Officer in a similar console. It has access to all science, navigational, sensor, and communications systems. It can be configured to operate in tandem with other consoles, although security links and all other non-science data are restricted to the main console.
Center of the bridge is the command chairs – one each for the Captain and First Officer. The first officer’s chair is on the left, when facing forward, and includes screens for reviewing ship status reports on the fly. On the right, is the Captain’s chair. Both face the viewscreen directly behind the unified Helm.
Two pods are reserved for the top four officers in the chain of command on the vessel because they are the last four to leave the ship. These are located on behind the main bridge through an access way. As the number of experienced Captains dwindles in Starfleet, the notion of a Captain going down with his ship has been abolished. If the ship is abandoned, the top four officers in the chain of command will wait until everyone else is off the ship, opt to arm the auto-Destruct (not always necessary, but there if needed), and then leave in the two escape pods. Each pod can support two people for 72 hours in space, and has a maximum speed of half impulse.
Also, check out this video below of Kate Mulgrew, Robert Picardo and Garrett Wang showing us around the bridge, sickbay, engineering and a transporter room, dressed as thier characters Kathryn Janeway, EMH (titled Dr Zimmerman in the video) and Harry Kim.