E-Navigation, as per IMO definition, is the harmonized  collection,  integration,  exchange,  presentation  and analysis of marine information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation  and  related  services  for  safety  and  security  at  sea  and  protection  of  the  marine environment. It has been observed and reported within last few years that there is a clear need to equip both vessels’ and ashore users responsible for the safety of shipping with modern,  proven  tools  that  are  optimized  for  good decision making  in  order  to make maritime  navigation and communications more  reliable  and user friendly.

The core “e-Nav” products are: ECDIS, Electronics Charts, Digital Books and Publications. Hereby presented few of commercial products you may have already seen or already using.

E-Navigation consists of four major parts:

1.    Hardware : Bridge Equipment - ECDIS

2.    Software: Except ECDIS software there are also the ENCs related software (for presentation and handling), as well as software for presentation and use of Digital Publications & eBooks

3.    Support: Related to Electronic Charts and Digital Publications and related to ECDIS Hardware and Software, including its maintenance and upgrade

4.    Training: Related to Use of ECDIS, via Type Specific and updated ISM procedures and Risk Assessment, as well as use of Electronic Charts, Digital Pubs and relevant updated ISM procedures

ECDIS has now been under its full implementation on board all ships mandated to fit ECDIS. Being now just two years before completion of mandating date a significant number of ships are still due to fit ECDIS systems.

As per regulations there are two options for the practical implementation of ECDIS on board.

  • Option A – “Single Configuration”
  • Option B – “Dual Configuration”

Most common one, and definitely close related to the E-Navigation concept, is option B the so called Dual Configuration OR “Paperless Navigation” solution.

In order to achieve some of E-Navigation characteristics, like Harmonization – Integration or Presentation, technical standards for ECDIS, as well as other hardware on board and Electronics Charts were set and still under revision or development. Short listed but not limited we just refer here, the Standards for ECDIS HW & SW, like general IMO resolutions, IEC technical standards, and latest updates like IEC61174, ed4 (as of 31/8/2017)

With regards to Standards for ENCs Electronic Charts: S-52 ed4.0 (the latest one coming in force by 31/8/2017, S-57 and S-63 v1.1

The ECDIS system, as per definition is an Electronic Chart Display and Information System of the vessel. Based on this, not only its terminology, but actually based on its operation, as it collects, integrates and presents various real-time information for the user; it is the so called core of the “E-Navigation”. An ECDIS includes and integrates ENCs (the official Electronic Charts), GPS and Other Nav sensors related to ship’s operation and voyage such as (Gyro, Speedlog, AIS, Radar, Echo, Anemometer, Navtex etc.)

The integration is shown on the picture below; we have to add the “connection” to the external world, this is ashore, where under specific conditions and set-up via SatComs products and services, the exchange and analysis of information under “E-Navigation” concept can be achieved. 

The SW/Digital Services related to E-Navigation, the ones necessary to use both the ECDIS hardware on board as well as at shore, include the following:

1. OFFICIAL Electronic Charts - ENCs

  • Admiralty Vector Chart Service (AVCS)

2. ADPs (Admiralty Digital Publications)

  • ADLLs (Digital List of Lights)
  • ATTs (Total Tides)
  • ADRS (Digital Radio Signals, vol.1-6)

3. eNPs (Pilot Books & Publications)

  • Nautical Publications (E-books)
  • Weekly NtMs

4. IMO & Other Digital Publications

  • E-Books/Readers on CDs/DVDs
  • IMO & Other Hardcopy Publications
  • in E-format (like INTERTANKO, SIGTTO, OCIMF, INTERCARGO, etc.)
  • Electronic Downloads
  • Accurate equivalent of Hardcopy Publications
  • 350+ titles available

Training is related to Human Element. And to our opinion, even if not considered as such, is probably the most important and crucial factor for the operation of the vessels, running all those new Electronic Equipment and Digital Services and thus the further implementation of e-Navigation. Training can be spilt on a three level concept:


  • On ECDIS and Electronic Navigation general
  • Based on STCW95 (model 1.27)
  • From public or private APPROVED training centers

2. “FAMILIRIZATION” (or “Type-Specific”)

  • On use of specific maker/model of ECDIS fitted
  • Based on materials and tools by specific manufacturer
  • From training centers, companies, persons CERTIFIED by ECDIS manufacturer

3. “On-Going” (or “On The Job” training)

  • Continuous and updated training on personnel using ECDIS - ENCs
  • On use & handling of ENCs and  “new concept” of navigation
  • Personal and ships’ operators driven

Support, is also related to Human Element, and definitely absolutely necessary for the proper implementation and use of ECDIS and digital products. We define this for both Hardware and Software on a “3-LINE/Level” of support.

Coming to the Future then, we can see that actually we have been moving the last few years from the “Paper World” to “Digital World”. On this transition as basis, the “E-Navigation” concept is moving forward in the future, within next years.

The Future of Navigation is about to be different and has been already under an ongoing process, via E-Navigation, which will be certainly based on ECDIS, ENCs and Digital Products full implementation. It is crucial for everyone in the shipping industry, ship owners, ship managers, ship users and service/products providers, manage to become part of this Future.

Above text is an edited article of Kostas Seretis presentation during the 2017 SMART4SEA Conference & Awards

You may view his video presentation by clicking here

The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.


About Konstantinos Seretis, Projects and Product Development Manager, SRH Marine Electronics S.A.

Mr. Kostas Seretis is the Projects & Product Development Manager of SRH Marine Electronics SA. He completed his studies in the Electrical Engineer department of the Polytechnic School of Patras and continued with his MSc in Engineering in Power Electronics & Drives from the University of Birmingham. During last 15 years Mr. Seretis has obtained important experience in the field of marine electronics, having undertaken various positions such as Sales Manager, Project Manager, General Manager of Marine Division, Operations and Marine Manager and completed significant sales and projects activities.