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S-100 – The new standard for hydrographic data that will bring big changes for the maritime industry!
With the NAVTOR ECDIS kernel software development kit (NAVTOR SDK) supporting this new generation of maritime data, we are once again showing our commitment to the long-term future of e-Navigation through ground-breaking technology.
As the World’s biggest supplier of ENC, we want to ensure that our OEMs and customers alike have the best experience with all the new possibilities which comes with the S-100 framework.
What is S-100?
Today, ENCs are based on the S-57 standard, which was created decades ago, and no longer meets the requirements for hydrographic information. Although the S-57 has its qualities, it is used almost exclusively for encoding ENCs for use in ECDIS and is ultimately unable to support the coming era of interoperability in the digital hydrographic information.
Consequently, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has developed a new and more versatile standard for exchanging various types of digital hydrographic data – the S-100 framework.
S-100 is intended for developers of digital products and services for hydrographic, maritime and GIS communities. This standard defines the data format, structure, and content for producing professional vector charts and updates. The S-100 standard is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of users, from recreational boaters to professional navigators. The new ability to integrate multiple data streams such as bathymetric surface information (S-102), water level information (S-104), surface currents (S-111) will have a great impact on the entire maritime industry.
Some of the most relevant S-100 products:
S-101 Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC): S-101 is the new product specification for Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) datasets. It includes most of the characteristics of the current S-57 based ENCs but improves elements that will benefit from a more flexible framework. Compared to S-57, S-101 will enable easier data updating processes, software enhancements and improved symbology. Ultimately, S-101 will replace S-57 as the official chart data for ECDIS, as well as provide the base layer for all S-100 products and underpin e-navigation services development.
S-102 Bathymetric Surface: S-102 will provide maritime users with detailed bathymetric data as a coverage layer to improve decision making on ship navigation and for other purposes. S-102 enables end-users to generate 3D visualisations of underwater ocean floors, so-called high-definition gridded bathymetry (HDGB), to support safety at sea, facilitate precise navigation and improve route planning operations for navigators and pilots.
S-104 Water Level Information for Surface Navigation: S-104 is intended for the encapsulation and data transfer of tidal and water level data for use in an ECDIS or any proposed dynamic tide application. Tidal and water level predictions are fundamental in route planning and entry to ports for navigation and other purposes.
S-111 Surface Currents: An understanding of surface currents is an important factor in the safety of navigation as currents affect the motion of vessels. Surface current information may be considered auxiliary information that complements the S-101 ENC.
S-122 Marine Protected Areas: S-122 is intended to encode Marine Protected Area (MPA) information for use in ECDIS and other information systems. MPAs are protected areas of seas, oceans, estuaries, or large lakes. Marine Protected Area information may be considered supplementary additional information that complements the S-101 ENC.
S-129 Under Keel Clearance Management: S-129 intends to support maritime safety and efficiency of marine traffic by focusing on the clearance between vessel keel and bottom.
S-129 will help navigators plan sailings in areas with small margins between keel and vessel and provide information on the optimal sailing time based on water levels.
NAVTOR is focused on being at the forefront of S-100 developments and is consequently engaged in IHO and IEC working groups and has a leading part in several international S-100 based projects together with hydrographic offices and industry partners.
Just as importantly, Navtor has ongoing collaborations with a host of ECDIS manufacturers, supplying them with advanced software tools (NAVTOR SDK ) and engineering consultancy, to ensure they are ready with S-100 ECDIS systems in time for the IMO acceptance of S-100 ECDIS from 2026.
January 2026 may be the first time this data sees the light of day on ECDIS (with all new systems required to be compatible by 2029.
Based on S-100 support in NAVTOR SDK, NAVTOR is looking to introduce S-100 data into own solutions such as NavStation (planning station) when S-100 data products becomes available, which is soon.
S-100 is the next ‘big thing’ for the industry, so we’re committed to being ahead of the curve.
What are the benefits of transitioning to S-100?
The S-100 standard offer a number of benefits for maritime companies, such as improved data resolution and quality, increased safety and greater operational efficiency. Buildt on an open platform for exchanging data, it allows for greater interoperability between different maritime software systems. It also simplifies the development of new applications and services that can be used to further improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.
The industry leaders are working closely together preparing for the transition to a new generation of maritime charts. Preparedness is key for a rapid industry-wide adaptation of S-100.
Collaborating on the S-100 development
"We are open to collaborations with others, already preparing for S-100. I'm confident that those who are ready early, will have a clear advantage in the maritime market."
Bjørn Kristian Sæstad, OEM Business Director
Illustration of the S-100 libraries by IHO. Image: IHO
See the detailed list of all the product spesifications and categories included in the S-100 framework library.
Are you looking to collaborate with NAVTOR?
"S-100 ready" navigational solutions will have a significant advantage in the upcoming transition to the new standard.
NAVTOR works with a range of research teams and organisations to ensure preparedness for the emerging standard.
If you are looking to collaborate - contact us.
Learn more about NAVTORs work on S-100
NAVTOR is excited to be working on the implementation of the S-100 framework,
including the development of our next-generation S-100 compliant SDK.
Learn more, and join the discussion around S-100 with articles from our OEM-experts:
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