ECDIS As The Focal Point of E-Navigation


Investing in ECDIS combines advanced functionality, smart navigation, with cost-efficient software.

E-navigation is the most harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment.

ECDIS is based on well-proven, matured and intuitive-to-operate software. It offers a range of other navigation benefits, including advance functionality regarding route and voyage planning that not only improve safety and ship’s efficiency but also reduce workload for the operator.

ECDIS is an important milestone for shipping, marking the industry’s transition from paper to digital navigation. The ECDIS installation schedule has already ended as of July 2018, therefore, more and more vessels are embracing electronic navigation charts as the primary means of navigation over a paper chart system.

To remain compliant with IMO requirements, it is important to identify the risks and not to show over-reliance on this new technology. Proper training of use of e-navigation is essential as a regulatory requirement. The improper use of ECDIS can result in accidents; therefore a change in operator’s mindset is required.


E-navigation Defined

The inception of e-Navigation concept took place way back in the year 2006 when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided to include a well-defined strategy to integrate new and existing navigational tools for enhancing handling and safety of ships at the sea.

Modern ships use digital equipment such as ECDIS and several other sophisticated electronic navigational tools. The main aim of the e-Navigation concept is to develop a system which can properly organize all the ship’s data at once place in order to help improving navigational safety of the ships.

Technology in the shipping industry is constantly changing. Considering the presently used technology and those that are expected to be launched in the future, a “one-stop” system is required which would bring together all the tools in a systematic manner at one place.


Beyond Compliance

ECDIS is a highly complex and sophisticated system, which besides the navigational functions includes components of a computer-based information system delivering a real-time display of the navigator’s own vessel located with reference to the surrounding area.

The ECDIS system is based on the process of information received by several sensors connected to the system and the mapping of this information on a chart display system.

An ECDIS system includes not only the visualization of all paper chart information on a computer screen but also provides a wide range of other data required for navigational purposes.


New IHO-IEC Standards

New standards from the IHO and IEC came into force in 2018, including:

  • IHO S-57 ENC product specification
  • IHO S-58 ENC validation
  • IHO S-63 ENC security
  • IHO S-52 ECDIS display
  • IHO S-64 ECDIS test data
  • IHO’s S-100 framework standard
  • IMO ECDIS performance standard
  • IEC 61174 ECDIS performance testing
  • IEC 62288 navigation display