Testing of new navigational charts underway


The Danish Geodata Agency and a number of partners are testing the next generation of navigational charts in the Baltic Sea region as part of an EU-funded project.

You may recall the days when you had to buy a new, updated map for your GPS whenever you drove across national borders. Back then you would be able to buy a CD-ROM with a new map on it, which you could then transfer to your car GPS via a cable. There’s no doubt that travel has become much easier with Google Maps or similar smartphone applications providing live updates on traffic, highlighting traffic jams or detours, and giving you an expected time of arrival at your destination.

The shipping industry is now facing a similar paradigm shift with the implementation of the new S-100 standard for digital navigational charts. The development of the new generation of digital navigational charts is the focus of a new EU project in the Baltic Sea, funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region.

The project entitled Baltic Sea e-Nav began in November last year, and will run until 2026. The Danish Geodata Agency is a partner in the project, alongside other hydrographic organizations in the Baltic Sea region, led by the agency's Swedish sister organization Sjöfartsverket.

The perfect testing ground
During the project, the Danish Geodata Agency will focus mainly on testing and developing the production of next-generation electronic navigational charts, also known as ENC (S-101) and depth information (S-102). The Baltic Sea is an obvious place to implement the project, as the region has heavy shipping traffic. In Denmark alone, there are more than 60,000 passages of commercial shipping traffic annually.

“It is important for us to be able to collaborate with our sister organizations in the Baltic Sea region so that we can continue to jointly synchronize data and work on developing the S-100 standard. Implementing a new standard is resource-intensive, which is why we are delighted to have received EU funding to carry out this task,” says Elizabeth Hagemann, Head of Department for Navigational Charts and Marine Data at the Danish Geodata Agency.

The regional approach is an important aspect of the project because hydrographic offices are used to collaborate across borders in order to synchronize their products.

The project is funded mainly by the EU through the Interreg Baltic Sea Region, one of the EU's regional development schemes. The project has a total funding of approximately five million euros.

Read more on the Interreg Baltics website.

Facts about S-100

S-100 is a new data standard that will replace the existing data standard used in commercial vessels navigation systems. The standard will cover several different data set such as electronic navigational charts (ENC) (S-101), detailed depth information (S-102), water level (S-104), surface water currents (S-111) and other data layers that will contribute to more efficient shipping.

The first data set made after the new standard is expected to hit the market in 2026. The Baltic Sea e-Nav project includes the implementation of S-101 and S-102, as well as S-104.