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IHO updates ECDIS standards Featured

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has published new versions of some of its ECDIS Standards, reviewed and updated to reflect lessons learned from earlier reports of unexpected chart behaviour in some ECDIS.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The updated versions of the Standards aim to ensure that all identified ambiguities and inconsistencies relating to the display of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) in ECDIS have been resolved.

Specifically, the IHO has published new editions for: IHO Specifications for Chart Content and Display Aspects of ECDIS (S-52 Edition 6.1); IHO Presentation Library (S-52 Annex A Edition 4.0); IHO Test Data Sets for ECDIS (S-64 Edition 3.0); and IHO Data Protection Scheme (S-63 Edition 1.2).

“One of the biggest benefits of upgrading ECDIS systems to the latest S-52 Presentation Library will be a reduction in the number of audible alarms triggered by ECDIS, helping ease the issue of alarm fatigue on the bridge, whilst still maintaining safety at sea,” said Thomas Mellor, chairman of the IHO ENC Standard Maintenance Working Group responsible for S-52, the IHO Standard for the display of ENCs in ECDIS.

“The introduction of an alert model, based on the requirements in the IMO ECDIS Performance Standard, will also harmonise ECDIS behaviour across different manufacturers’ systems.”

A number of changes to the Presentation Library have been made to reflect mariner feedback. For example, the names of Fairways and Anchorage Areas will now appear on the ENC display, while a ‘hover-over’ function for certain charted features has also been introduced.

A number of new symbols have additionally been added to the Presentation Library, to help draw attention to features that need to be highlighted, including the location of automatic ENC updates and ENC features that have a temporal (time-based) attribute.

To support the process of ECDIS type-approval, the IHO says it has worked closely with a number of Notified Bodies and improved the ENC tests and test data sets. It is hoped that the restructuring of the data sets and the inclusion of more specific tests will ensure that the proper display of ENCs is more thoroughly checked during the type-testing process in future.

Updates to S-63, the ENC data protection scheme, include specifications for an ENC update status report, which is a provision that had not been available previously. The update status report will allow mariners and Port State Control inspectors to confirm that the ENCs installed in an ECDIS are up-to-date.

It is planned that the new editions of S-52 and S-64 will enter into force on 15 August 2015. This will align with the publication of the new edition of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) ECDIS testing specification IEC 61174.

From this date, the new editions of the IHO Standards will be the normative references for the type approval of new ECDIS.

There will be a 12-month transitional period when the current editions of S-52 and S-64 will remain valid, ending on 31 July 2016, which is intended to provide time for ECDIS manufacturers and national authorities to move towards type approval of new ECDIS based on the revised Standards and to enable shipowners and operators to update existing systems.

A more detailed list of the IHO S-52 changes is available at {/mprestriction}

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