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International Standards for ECDIS: Current Status

IMO Performance Standards Performance Standards for ECDIS were formally adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on November 23, 1995 and issued as IMO Resolution A19/Res.817. These Performance Standards are the same as those first approved in draft form by the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO in May 1994.

Back-up arrangements for ECDIS were adopted by IMO in November 1996 and became Appendix 6 to the Performance Standards. The IMO Performance Standards permit National Maritime Safety Administrations to consider ECDIS as the legal equivalent to the charts required by regulation V/20 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention. IMO has specifically requested that Member Governments have their National Hydrographic Offices produce electronic navigational charts (ENCs) and the associated updating service as soon as possible, and to ensure that manufacturers conform to the performance standards when designing and producing ECDIS.

IHO Data Standards and Display Specifications In conjunction with the IMO Performance Standards for ECDIS, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) developed technical standards for the digital data format and display. IHO Special Publication 52 (IHO S-52) is the IHO Specification for Chart Content and Display of ECDIS.

It includes appendices describing the means/process for updating, color and symbol specifications, and a glossary of ECDISrelated terms. The fourth edition of IHO S-52 was issued in December 1996. IHO Special Publication 57 (IHO S-57) is the IHO Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data that was formally adopted as the official IHO standard at the XIV International Hydrographic Conference, Monaco, May 4-15, 1992. It includes an object catalog, DX-90 format, an ENC Product Specification, and ENC updating profile. The current edition (Edition 3.0) was released in November 1996, and will be "frozen" for three years. Both IHO S-57 and S-52 are specified in the IMO Performance Standards for ECDIS.

IEC Testing Standards The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) developed an ECDIS Performance Standard that identifies and describes the necessary performance tests and checks for an IMO-compliant ECDIS. In September 1997, a Draft IEC publication was completed based on comments received during a sixmonth review period. Upon formal adoption by IEC (likely to occur sometime this month), IEC Publication 61174 will become the basis for type-approval specifications related to operational methods of testing and required test results for an IMO-compliant ECDIS.

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