From the e-navigation firm Navtor
A system that allows the most up to date electronic charts (ENCs) to be uploaded directly to an ECDIS console from a USB device has been announced by recent start-up e-navigation firm Navtor.
In a conventional set-up, navigators have to work out exactly which ENCs they require for an upcoming voyage, order them in advance and then upload them from CDs that are posted out to them. Navtor argues this is an inefficient and needlessly time-consuming way of doing things and ripe for streamlining.
The USB system, christened NavSync, has been developed to work in tandem with Navtor’s recently launched pay-as-you-sail DNV-approved ENC service, which allows access to charts through a subscription-based model (see MITE Feb/Mar 2012).
Navtor’s Børge Hetland explains how it works: ‘When a new subscriber signs up to our service, we distribute the ENCs on the NAVTOR NavSync USB compatible device, the NavStick. By using the USB port, ENCs can be installed in one simple operation, as opposed to loading multiple CDs. Updates can then be downloaded to the NavStick via any on-board PC with Internet connectivity and transferred to the ECDIS on a rolling basis.’
As an added feature, NavSync also offers a print function for producing relevant port authority reports to verify that vessels are equipped with the most up to date versions of ENCs.
Company marketing manager Willy Zeiler sees the latest development as another step forward towards his firm’s goal of offering ‘a completely seamless ENC service.’ He elaborates: ‘Using a USB bypasses one of the key shortcomings of most current ECDIS systems – the fact they do not offer internet access – and that NAVTOR has now pledged to work with manufacturers to help them tailor models to take advantage of the latest technology on the marketplace.
‘We have commenced a development program in connection with the major ECDIS manufacturers to jointly implement technology developed by Navtor for the future of ENC handling.