e-Navigation and Real-Time GIS

Blog Post created by GNoll-esristaff Employee on Mar 16, 2016

e-Navigation is somewhat like the proverbial elephant surrounded by blind men who each describe the part that they touch, but not one of them realize their piece is connected to the entire animal.  Context is critical!


With that as a preface, I think you may find this article from a new publication to be of interest.

eNav Online: Not Your Father's Nautical Chart


Mariners have long been promised that bridge navigation will get easier, and better, with new tools. Yet most if not all still rely on their existing skills to synthesize the various streams of information into a unified holistic 'picture' of the navigational problem in which they are maneuvering their vessel. Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC, aka vectors) do provide the ability to create what we now call geofence-based warnings for allision or anchorage areas, for example, but the ECDIS systems in which these work are also prone to multiple alarms, non-standard configurations, and procedures based on analog radar limitations. My friend and former colleague Captain Brennan has clearly stated the need for integrated information and improved cartography, and this should support both the mariner at sea as well as the shipping interests ashore. Esri looks forward to assisting maritime interests in their development of these tools.


I expect that Real-Time GIS in a common operating picture such as Esri's ArcGIS for Maritime: Server that leverages ENC and Inland ENC as you see at ArcGIS Capabilities | Real-Time GIS will enable real-time decision-making, not so much as a navigational tool directly, but as a risk assessment and monitoring framework that furthers understanding of the risks of navigating deep-draft vessels and the environment in which they sail. The support of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) standards for data in the S-100 framework, aligned with OGC and ISO standards, also fits this effort, and Esri continues to invest alongside NOAA and other Hydrographic Organizations and stakeholders to match best practicable technology to the standards through S-100 Working Group participation.


If you have questions or wish to learn more about how Esri can help you prepare for the future of vessel and port management, please contact the maritime team at