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Why do you need Online ENCs?

Portrait of Bjørn Kristian Sæstad

Offices don’t travel from A to B, so why should onshore teams have access to ENCs? NAVTOR’s Bjørn Kristian Sæstad explains the benefits of charting developments from dry land.

Inte-great ways of working

NAVTOR has spent the last thirteen years developing smart maritime solutions that connect with one another through a secure digital ecosystem, delivering powerful e-Navigation, performance and commercial benefits to customers worldwide. The secret of our success, or at least part of it, has been the integration of those innovations – how they share data, extract value, and support one another to maximise business and operational impact.

The solutions create better awareness, empower informed decisions and unlock competitive advantage by working together. And, in doing so, they unite teams across our customers’ assets, facilities and functions. Everyone can operate as one. Which brings us onto ENCs.

Out of tune

ENCs have revolutionised vessel navigation, but onshore teams have been left behind. Thanks to the traditional usage restrictions and cost structure of official ENCs - as imposed by hydrographic offices – land-based access has been prohibitively expensive, meaning management teams haven’t been able to sing off the same ‘hymn sheet’ as crews.

This has left office staff resorting to unofficial charts and, in some cases, even applications such as Google Maps to monitor voyages, plan, and even coordinate emergency response activity.

And it’s one thing to function like this today, and yet another to ponder future implications.

Advancing demands

As we all know, the maritime industry is evolving fast. To optimize vessel and fleet planning and performance, adhere to changing regulations, empower new shipping technology and, eventually, run fully autonomous assets from shore-based facilities, shipping companies must have seamless access to the same charts as their crews. The migration of tasks from ships to shore is only just beginning, so teams need the best, most up to date data to ensure the standards all stakeholders demand. This is even more prescient when we consider the extra layers of data that S-100 will bring to ENCs in the years ahead.

In a joined-up digital world, the divide between vessel and onshore ENC access simply doesn’t make sense.

Defining value

But now the good news.. things are starting to change (you can get an excellent insight into the overall process here, in this article by my colleague Paul Elgar.)

One of the first major developments on the transformational pathway is the new NAVTOR offering, ENC Online Service.

This breakthrough subscription service delivers worldwide ENCs to internet-connected shoreside systems at prices that won’t break the bank. Utilizing open software standards (Open Geospatial Consortium TileAPI) it allows fleet and vessel management teams to integrate ENCs directly into applications where nautical charts can unlock real smart shipping benefits.

Illustration of operations room with Online ENCs
Operations room illustration (Shutterstock/NAVTOR)

United front

This means, for the first time, they can use the same platform as their globally scattered crews to deliver truly joined up monitoring, tracking, management and, crucially, emergency response measures, amongst other vital support functions.

The service offers Pick Report functionality to allow for ENC queries, while the charts are automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure that all those vessel and office hymn sheets are perfectly in tune.

The next step

As ever with NAVTOR, this innovation is just the start. We are in a continual process of development to ensure we lead the way in smart shipping solutions for our worldwide customers. The next step, as Paul highlights in his article, will be the advent of ‘ENC Onshore’ later this year, allowing even non-internet connected onshore systems to utilise the very latest digital charts.

Onshore offices may not sail the seas, but every forward-thinking shipping business is now on a voyage towards more sustainable, smarter horizons. We believe a joined-up approach to ENCs will help them on that journey.

To find out more about NAVTOR’s ENC Online Service please see here.


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