ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems) are a revolution in terms of navigation at sea. For hundreds of years, seafarers have navigated on paper charts and for much of that time, used only celestial bodies to determine their position. The advent of radio (e.g. LORAN) and satellite (e.g. GPS) positioning systems made positioning considerably easier, but plotting a position was still conducted on paper.
In the early 1980s, the first ECS systems began to emerge, allowing a regular feed, from a source such as GPS, to automatically update the position of a vessel on an electronic version of a chart, displayed on the system. This, however, was not accepted as a replacement to paper charts - merely an additional "aid to navigation".
The performance standards for ECDIS were first published by the IMO in 1995, in resolution A.817(19). This resolution would become the basis for allowing ECDIS, ENCs and digital navigation to replace paper charts as the primary means of navigation. However, it is crucial that an ECDIS remains compliant with these regulations, and a range of additional legislation, in order that digital navigation may remain the primary means for any particular vessel.
In this section we aim to share some of our wealth of corporate knowledge and impartial advice about all things ECDIS. Read about the process and timescales involved in the transition to digital navigation, see the history of the development and implementation of ECDIS on the ECDIS Timeline or read about the specific yacht regulations.