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The new S-52 ECDIS Standards: What do they mean for you?

UKHO calls for ship owners to liaise with ECDIS manufacturers

IHO announces new ECDIS Standards; 12 months to complete transition



Following the announcement of updated ECDIS Standards by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the UKHO is encouraging all ship owners to speak to their ECDIS manufacturers to ensure a smooth, timely transition.  The technical standards that govern the display of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) within an ECDIS are the responsibility of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the international body that co-ordinates the activities of the community of national hydrographic offices.

Most notable is the updated Presentation Library within ‘S-52'; the standard which is responsible for the portrayal of an ENC on an ECDIS screen. The UKHO takes the safety and integrity of the data they provide as being of paramount importance, and want the mariner to see all the information provided whether it's on an ADMIRALTY paper chart or as an ENC. However, without the latest Presentation Library (version 4.0) this won't be the case with an ENC.

The IHO has listened to mariner feedback. The latest Presentation Library (version 4.0) addresses the number one complaint leveled at ECDIS; constant audible alarms. By providing clear guidance to ECDIS manufacturers on ENC objects that will raise an alarm, the IHO has tackled the issue of alarm fatigue on the bridge. Also, information such as fairway and anchorage area names now appear on screen, with landmarks, lights and buoys viewable via a ‘hover-over' function. Both initiatives reduce the time-consuming need to find information buried in a pick report.

The new ECDIS testing standard publication date is expected to be Aug 15th. From this date the new edition of S-52 will be the reference for the type approval of new ECDIS. Existing ECDIS will have to be upgraded to the latest Presentation Library within twelve months.

Tom Mellor is the UKHO Head of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support & Digital Standards and also the Chairman of the IHO's ENC Working Group.

"Much is being written about the mandatory carriage of ECDIS, but one of the most important initiatives currently underway is the revision to the