App demonstrates value of new Electronic Navigational Charts


A future standard for Electronic Navigational Charts is being tested by the European project EfficienSea2 in a newly developed test-flight app by Rocket Brothers. The app will be showcased at the EfficienSea2 final conference in April

The Danish software developer Rocket Brothers is among the first businesses to demonstrate the usability of the future IHO S-101 standard for Electronic Navigational Charts [ENC], brought forward by the International Hydrographic Organisation. Using data provided by the Danish Geodata Agency the app demonstrates that the future S-101 charts can be used efficiently even on mobile devices.

The future standard is expected to replace the S-57 standard used on ECDIS equipment across the world, and will allow for a more flexible usage of the electronic charts. The S-101 standard will lead to more consistent chart visualization across software platforms. It will also allow new chart features to be introduced without software updates.

 Carsten Nørby, software developer at Rocket Brothers explains:

   - S-101 enables a more dynamic chart experience since the visualization can take user information into account. The new chart format can express rules that will be evaluated to determine exactly how the chart will be displayed. The existing S-57 format leaves a lot of decisions and interpretations to be made by the developer. The result is inconsistent chart visualization across navigational displays.

Later this year Rocket Brothers plans to release a commercial product enabling users to visualize their own S-101 and S-57 charts including layers of information obtained through the Maritime Connectivity Platform.

Standard allows for greater usability
The data for the test-flight app is provided by the Danish Geodata Agency as part of their contribution to the EfficienSea2 project. For the Danish Geodata Agency, the app serves as a good example of how the future standard can increase the flexibility of electronic navigational charts in the future, explains Sophie Hohwü-Christensen, acting head of department.

   - The S-57 is a standard for ENCs that has served us well, but it has become too inflexible. We want to do our part to assure more dynamic features and richer geometric models in future charts and we are pleased to see Rocket Brothers demonstrate one way to present this.

Demonstration at final conference
The app has been given the name ‘Neptune’ and includes Navigational Warnings and Notices to Mariners provided by the Danish Maritime Authority and weather information along a specific route, provided by a service from the Danish Meteorological Institute. 

Jacob Brinch Nielsen, Business Development Manager at Rocket Brothers, explains that this is just some of the features that Rocket Brothers will demonstrate at EfficienSea2’s final conference on April 5-6. With the new standard more digital features could be added to improve the app:

   - The development work we had to do to implement S-101 on mobile devices actually demanded more sophisticated coding than the old standards for electronic navigational charts. But after the implementation the overall system is now optimized, adding new features is a whole lot easier which will be beneficial for both developers and users, he says.  

Participants can check out the app at EfficienSea2’s final conference taking place April 5-6 at Charlottehaven in Copenhagen.



  • EfficienSea2 runs from 1 May 2015 to 30 April 2018, 36 months’ duration all together
  • 32 partners are involved in the project, which is led by the Danish Maritime Authority.
  • The budget amounts to 11.5 million euros of which 9.8 million euros have been granted by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 636339




Katrine Petersen
AreaDanish Hydrographic Office – Denmark