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UKHO QR codes to bring paper and digital together

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has introduced QR codes to its portfolio of Standard Nautical Charts, allowing users of paper charts to access chart status information on their smartphone or tablet.

All newly printed versions of 3,371 Standard Nautical Charts and Mariners' Routing Guides, including Print-On-Demand charts, now feature a unique QR code.

By scanning the chart’s QR code, the user will be taken to the relevant page on the UKHO's searchable Notices to Mariners database, NM Websearch, and chart status information will be sent to their smartphone or tablet. The chart management tool will help deliver the latest navigational safety information.

Jason Scholey, senior product manager - Charts for UKHO, said: “With the introduction of QR codes to the vast majority of our Standard Nautical Charts, we have been able to bring the paper and digital worlds together for the benefit of our customers.”

“By scanning the QR code on their paper chart, they can instantly access online data for that chart. For a shipping company, this is an invaluable means of checking how up-to-date a chart is before sending it on to a ship, as well as making it quicker and easier for a second officer to check the status of a chart.”

“The QR code will also help from a compliance perspective by allowing Port State Control inspectors to scan the chart when they go on-board a vessel, in order to see how up-to-date it is. This innovation uses new technology to add further value to the trusted Admiralty chart by making customers’ lives easier and by making an important contribution to navigational safety.”

A QR or ‘Quick Response’ code is a two-dimensional bar code with a higher storage capacity than a traditional bar code. It can be used to store website URLs that can be scanned, read and directly accessed on a smart phone or tablet, using widely available QR code reader applications.

The UKHO says that it will continue to add QR codes to its remaining Standard Nautical Charts and also plans to introduce QR codes to its Mariners’ Routing Guides.

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