At a press conference in London yesterday, the Boeing-owned company, which completed a takeover of Norwegian chart company C-Map last year, laid out a series of "opinions? that will form the basis of its strategy in the maritime market.
These opinions were stated as:
- "Governments must focus their energies (all of it) on the creation of new navigation content, and let commercial industry compete to create products that drive customer value."
- "In the technology age, precise harmonisation of standards is essential."
- "We must look to the master and help them lighten (not increase) their workload. They need better situational awareness and decision making tools."
- "Everything we do must earn its way onboard."
The first item in this "manifesto" is likely to prove the most controversial. While Jeppesen was careful not to make any explicit references to specific organisations, it would seem to be a thinly-veiled reference to both the UKHO's Admiralty brand and the Primar company operated by the Norwegian Hydrographic Service.
However, there has been no indication to date by either of these bodies that they would consider a cessation of their commercial activities.
Given that the UKHO, in particular, announced at the end of 2007 that it would be shedding approximately 25 per cent of its workforce in an effort to be more effective in what CEO Mike Robinson called a "competitive market", it must be presumed that both UKHO and Primar will remain commercially active.
Jeppesen Marine admitted that any changes are not likely to happen "tomorrow", so the release of these "opinions" may be purely an attempt to rattle some cages and draw the Hydrographic Offices into a debate on the issue.
Be prepared for some interesting times ahead in the navigational chart market.