The gridding project - preparing for the future of digital nautical charts


Modern technological developments and an increase in the availability of complex hydrographic data are bringing major changes to the maritime world. The Danish Geodata Agency is part of this digital development, which includes everything from detailed bathymetric information to complex geospatial data, with a focus on the upcoming S-100 standard and possibilities for future e-navigation. As a step in this technological development, the Danish Geodata Agency is now launching a project to create a standardised gridded scheme of the Danish waters.

Illustrates an example of the former coverage of ENC cells (marked in red) and the new grid in rectangular divisions (marked in black)

Background and purpose of the Gridding project
The extent and framework of the current electronic nautical charts (ENC cells) are based on the existing paper chart framework, which are irregular in shape and size. The gridding project, which starts in June, will define and implement a well-structured grid, which will make it easier to compile data and ensure more consistent data management.

A growing need for modern and enhanced handling of data
Using a standardised grid makes it easier to ensure consistency in the data displayed on the navigator's ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System). Once the S-100 standard is implemented, beginning in 2026, the navigator will have access to a range of different S-100 products. A standardised grid will facilitate the integration of these data sources and help streamline the production of nautical charts.

User experience – then and now
As the changes primarily relate to backend elements, users will not experience significant differences in their chart products. The main difference will be the naming, size and division of the cells, which users should be aware of when planning routes in Danish waters. Users who have purchased access to current cells will automatically gain access to cells in the same coverage area in the new grid.

Follow project updates at
The gridding project will be launched in June 2024, at which time a page will be published on, where information and updates will be available. On the website, users will be able to follow the process, see when changes are implemented, and get an overview of the project's progress.
If you have any further questions or need information, the Danish Geodata Agency's employees will happily respond to queries emailed to the Hydrographic Office.

What is S-100?

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has developed the S-100 Universal Hydrographic Data Model. S-100 is an international framework that describes standards and specifications for a range of data and products in the maritime field. In the fall of 2022, S-100 was approved as the standard for Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) by the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO). This really accelerates the practical implementation of S-100 and increases the expectation from the maritime industry that data will be delivered in the new standards in the near future. S-100 enables a more integrated and efficient use of maritime data, both for navigation and other uses. For this reason, the Danish Geodata Agency is overhauling its production processes and data to be able to deliver the new S-100 datasets in Danish and Greenlandic waters. The Geodata Agency is also responsible for the Danish implementation of S-100 standard and actively participates in a number of international working groups under IHO.

Infographic of S-100 World by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Image: DFO