The ECDIS Manual

Published Date

October 2019

The ECDIS Manual

(Excludes any applicable taxes)

This is an up-to-date guide to the use of electronic chart display and information systems. It sets out the current regulatory resolutions and compliance requirements and then looks in detail at the use of electronic charts and ECDIS software and functions.

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Understanding ECDIS and selecting the right ECDIS solution is vital for ensuring the safe and precise navigation of a vessel on track, and on time. The ECDIS Manual, written by and for ECDIS navigators, draws on the knowledge of leading ECDIS experts and manufacturers, as well as classification societies and NGOs, to support a vessel's transition to digital navigation in accordance with IMO, IHO, Flag State, PSC, ISM, SMS and SIRE requirements.


This publication is a comprehensive guide to the use of ECDIS systems. It outlines the history and development of digital navigation and provides detailed explanations of electronic charts and operating systems, supplemented by over 500 screenshots and colour images. It includes familiarisation checklists for a number of different systems, as well as the CIRM GL-001 Guideline for ECDIS Performance Test Procedure. The book also summarises the contributory factors in several ECDIS-related incidents.




ECDIS Abbreviations and Useful Info

Photo Acknowledgements

Foreword by Admiral Nick Lambert, Former National Hydrographer UKHO

About ECDIS Ltd

1 History of the Electronic Chart

1.1 International Agreement

1.1.1 Early Solutions to Comparing Radar and Charts

1.1.2 From Navigation Aids to Navigation Systems to Bridge Systems

1.1.3 Types of Electronic Position-Finding Equipment

1.1.4 Integrated Bridge Projects and Bridge Mechanisation

1.1.5 Inventing Electronic Charts: The First Generation

1.1.6 Creating Official International Standards

1.1.7 UKHO ARCS (Admiralty Raster Chart Service)

1.1.8 Organising Worldwide Digital Chart Production

1.1.9 Third Generation Vector Charts, 1995 to 2010

1.1.10 Commercial Electronic Charts for the Leisure Market, 2005 to 2010

1.1.11 Fourth Generation Electronic Charts with Passage Planning Tools, 2010

1.1.12 Fifth Generation Electronic Charts, 2018

2 ECDIS Regulations

2.1 The IHO

2.2 International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

2.3 International Maritime Organization (IMO)

2.3.1 IMO Resolution MSC.232(82)

2.4 CIRM

2.5 Date Changes in Performance Standards

2.6 IMO Circulars

2.7 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention

2.7.1 SOLAS Ch V, Regulation 2, Part 2

2.7.2 SOLAS Ch V, Regulation 19, Part 2.1.4

2.7.3 SOLAS Ch V, Regulation 19, Part 2.1.5

2.7.4 SOLAS Ch V, Regulation 27

3 ISM and Flag Compliance

3.1 Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention

3.2 International Safety Management (ISM) Code

3.3 Generic ECDIS Training

3.4 Type-Specific and Familiarisation Training

3.5 Safety Management System

3.6 Flag States

3.7 Flag State ECDIS Requirements

3.8 Port State Control (PSC)

3.9 Further Legal Considerations

3.10 SIRE

3.11 ECDIS Operator’s Responsibility

4 The Electronic Chart

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Electronic Chart Data

4.2.1 Definitions

4.2.2 Vector Charts

4.2.3 Defining a Vector Chart

4.2.4 Varying Standards of Vector Charts

4.2.5 RENC

4.2.6 The Basics of ENC

4.2.7 Hydrographic Office Approved Electronic Charts

4.2.8 Use of Data

4.2.9 Unofficial or Private Data

4.2.10 Classification of Official Data

4.2.11 Flag State Adoption

4.3 Integrating Digital Publications

4.3.1 Flag Approval

4.3.2 TotalTide

4.3.3 Admiralty Digital List of Lights (ADLL)

4.3.4 Admiralty Digital List of Radio Signals (ADRS)

4.3.5 Admiralty e-NPs

4.4 Creation of Electronic Chart Data

4.4.1 Datums

4.4.2 Horizontal Datum

4.4.3 Vertical Datum

4.4.4 Polar Latitudes

4.5 Understanding the Electronic Chart

4.5.1 Interrogation

4.5.2 Scale

4.5.3 Scale Display

4.5.4 Pre-selected Display Layers

4.5.5 SCAMIN

4.5.6 SCAMIN (Disabled)

4.5.7 Scale Category

4.5.8 Scale 5 and 6 Differences

4.5.9 IHO Scale Categories

4.5.10 Construction Considerations

4.5.11 Disparity and Standards between National ENCs

4.5.12 Source Data Diagram

4.5.13 CATZOC

4.5.14 Current ENC World Coverage

4.5.15 AVCS Regional Folios

4.5.16 Digital Chart Catalogues

4.5.17 E-Navigator and Chart Management Tools

4.5.18 Data Management

4.6 Latest Performance Standards

4.6.1 Introduction

4.6.2 S-52

4.6.3 S-57 Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographical Data

4.6.4 Presentation Independent of Data

4.6.5 Presentation Library (PL) – Version 4.0

4.6.6 S-63 Data Protection Scheme for ECDIS

4.6.7 Permits/Licences

4.6.8 SENC

4.7 ECDIS Chart Products and New Layers (S-100)

4.7.1 Introduction

4.7.2 S-100 IHO Universal Hydrographic Data Model

4.7.3 S-101 ENC Product Specification to replace S-57

4.7.4 S-102 Bathymetric Surface

4.7.5 S-104 Water Level Information for Surface Navigation

4.7.6 S-111 Surface Currents

4.7.7 S-121 Maritime Limits and Boundaries

4.7.8 S-122 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

4.7.9 S-123 Marine Radio Services

4.7.10 S-124 Navigational Warnings

4.7.11 S-125 Navigational Services

4.7.12 S-126 Physical Environment

4.7.13 S-127 Marine Traffic Management

4.7.14 S-128 Catalogue of Nautical Products

4.7.15 S-129 Under Keel Clearance Management (UKCM)

4.7.16 S-201 Aids to Navigation Information

4.7.17 S-211 Port Call Message Format

4.7.18 S-240 DGNSS Station Almanac

4.7.19 S-401 Inland ENC

4.7.20 S-402 Bathymetric Contour Overlay for Inland ENC

4.7.21 S-411 Sea Ice Information

4.7.22 S-412 Weather Overlay

4.8 RNC Charts

4.8.1 The RNC

4.8.2 RCDS Management

4.8.3 RCDS and Appropriate Paper Charts

4.8.4 Appropriate Portfolio of up-to-date Paper Charts (APC)

4.8.5 Risks to be Considered

4.8.6 MCA MGN 285


5 ECDIS Software and Functions

5.1 ECDIS Definition

5.1.1 ECS Definition

5.2 Sailing Paperless

5.3 Alternative ECDIS Screen Displays

5.4 Cyber Security Awareness

5.5 Presentation Independent of Data

5.6 System Electronic Navigation Chart (SENC)

5.7 Investigating Chart Features/Pick Report

5.8 Colour Schemes

5.9 Chart 1

5.10 Setting up the Display

5.11 Selecting Traditional Chart Symbology

5.12 Velocity Vectors

5.13 Defining Safe Water

5.13.1 Multiple Depth Shades

5.13.2 Parallel Index Lines (PI)

5.13.3 Limiting Danger Lines (LDL)/No-Go Areas

5.13.4 Clearing Bearings

5.13.5 User Maps

5.14 Manual Chart Updates

5.15 Official Chart Updates

5.16 Distribution

5.17 Licences and Permits

5.18 Verifying Chart Updates

5.19 Admiralty Information Overlay (AIO)

5.20 Sensors

5.20.1 Continual Fixing Options

5.20.2 NAVTEX

5.20.3 Track Control System (TCS)

5.20.4 Calibrations/Offsets CCRP

5.20.5 Redundancy of Sensors

5.20.6 Verifying Ship’s Position

5.20.7 Radar Image Overlay (RIO)

5.20.8 ARPA

5.20.9 AIS

5.20.10 Echo Sounder

5.20.11 Visual/Radar Fixing Routine

5.20.12 Manual Fixing

5.20.13 Dead Reckoning (DR) Mode

5.20.14 Estimated Position (EP) Mode

5.21 Errors and Alarms

5.21.1 Definitions

5.21.2 The Human Element

5.21.3 Chart Inaccuracies

5.21.4 Datum Shift

5.21.5 Indications during Route Planning

5.21.6 Alarms during Route Monitoring

5.21.7 Sensor Alarms and Indications

5.21.8 Windows Operating System

5.22 IHO Dataset Check

5.23 Route Planning

5.23.1 Principles of ECDIS Navigation

5.23.2 Chart Notes

5.23.3 Creating a Route

5.23.4 Editing a Route

5.23.5 Measuring Tools

5.23.6 Channel Limits

5.23.7 Checking a Route

5.23.8 Import/Export

5.24 Route Monitoring

5.24.1 Configuring System for Sea

5.24.2 Activating Route Monitoring

5.24.3 Position Monitoring

5.24.4 Check Area/Anti-grounding/Safety Frame

5.24.5 PL 4.0 - Developments Related to Chart Alerts

5.24.6 Chart Orientation and Own Ship Motion

5.24.7 Route Display Options

5.24.8 MOB/SAR

5.24.9 Manual Events on Passage

5.24.10 IMO Back-up Requirements

5.24.11 Power and Blackout

5.25 IMO VDR Requirements

5.25.1 VDR Benefits and Recommendations

5.25.2 Playback

5.25.3 Voyage Data Log

5.26 ECDIS Screen Capture

Annex A ECDIS Familiarisation Checklists

Annex B CIRM Guideline

Foreword by Admiral Nick Lambert, Former National Hydrographer UKHO


Technical and procedural standards have evolved substantially since ECDIS was first established at the IMO/IHO Joint Harmonization Group in 1986. Significant enhancements in digital charts have been matched by increasingly refined human user solutions, designed for the interface between human and machine. IHO S-52 version 4.0 has now safely been adopted by all vessels and S-101 will at some point replace S-57.

Whilst there is emerging evidence that digital navigation is reducing the number of grounding incidents when compared with the record of paper ships, there are always improvements to be made. Similarly, whilst the advent of so-called smart ships is steadily changing the nature and performance of shipping, the core seamanship principles of safety of operations, navigation and people remain vitally important.

The modern seafarer now has the advantage of a continual and automatic plotting aid telling them where they are and a system that enhances safety by looking for any dangers in relation to where they are going.

The new IHO suite of standards is the result of an international collaboration that reaps the benefits of the global digital era. The S-100 Geospatial Data Protocol is under full sea trials, several manufacturers have incorporated the layers into their systems, and seafarers are using the standards and the equipment at sea heralding a step change for digital navigation.

ECDIS has come of age – what was once a replacement for a paper chart is now the core of an integrated safe bridge.

Title: The ECDIS Manual
Subtitle: Second Edition
Number of Pages: 172
Product Code: WS1701K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-823-6 (9781856098236), ISBN 10: 1-85609-823-0 (1856098230)
Published Date: October 2019
Binding Format: Hardback
Book Height: 350 mm
Book Width: 217 mm
Book Spine: 15 mm
Weight: 1.20 kg

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