The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has announced its intention to develop options for the withdrawal from global paper chart production by late 2026 to increase focus on its digital navigation products and services.
Plans to withdraw the UKHO’s portfolio of ADMIRALTY Standard Nautical Charts (SNCs) and Thematic Charts are in response to more marine, naval and leisure users primarily using digital products and services for navigation. The ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions digital navigation portfolio can be updated in near real-time, greatly enhancing safety of life at sea (SOLAS).
The decision to commence the process of withdrawing from paper chart production will allow us to increase our focus on advanced digital services that meet the needs of today’s seafarers. As we look to the future, our core purpose remains the safety of shipping operations and delivering the best possible navigation solutions to achieve that.
Peter Sparkes, Chief Executive of the UKHO, said.
The move to digital navigation solutions has been accompanied by a rapid decline in demand for paper charts, driven by the SOLAS-mandated transition to ECDIS and the wider benefits of digital solutions, including the next generation of navigation services, Peter Sparkes further explained.
Shipping is moving quickly towards a future underpinned by digital innovations, enhanced satellite connectivity at sea and optimised data solutions, supporting the next generation of navigation. The UKHO aims to be at the vanguard of this digital transition, continuing to provide the assured and globally trusted ADMIRALTY navigation services that seafarers the world over depend on.
Baroness Goldie, Minister of State at the UK government’s Ministry of Defence, said:
“The world has changed unrecognisably in recent years, driven by digitalisation and rapid technological advancement. When it comes to maritime, one of our priorities at the Ministry of Defence is to make shipping as safe as possible; to achieve this, the industry must continue transitioning to digital tools and technology that share data almost instantly from ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore.
The decision to focus on digital products and services makes strategic and commercial sense, helping usher in a new era of maritime navigation, which will be powered by digital innovations.
…Baroness Goldie added.
Recognising the benefits of official digital navigation products for safe navigation, MCA welcomed the announcement by UKHO as well. Richard Bell, Assistant Director for UK Technical Services Navigation at the MCA, commented that this move ”represents a clear vision for the future of navigation, which will need to be supported by official equipment and data suited to the needs of the different maritime end users.”
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