UKHO: Admiralty Vector Chart Service on CD Upgrades
Monday, September 16, 2013

AVCS S-63 1.1 CD service goes live on 17 October 2013.

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has announced details of its forthcoming upgrade of the ADMIRALTY Vector Chart Service (AVCS) CD Service to S-63 Edition 1.1, the latest international open-format security standard for digital chart data. This is in conjunction with the publication of the UKHO's advice to users on how to make the transition when the upgraded AVCS CD Service goes live on 17 October 2013.

S-63 is an industry standard overseen by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) that provides Hydrographic Offices and ECDIS manufacturers with the tools to protect, via encryption, the data within Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) and to authenticate the originator of the ENCs. It is an open format system that provides a common set of security constructs and operating procedures, followed by Hydrographic Offices and ECDIS manufacturers around the world.

In response to the evolving challenges to data security, the IHO has upgraded S-63 with the latest Edition, 1.1, which is now available. S-63 Edition 1.0 will be withdrawn by the IHO on 31st December 2013 and ENC service providers that deliver data in S-63 format will be required to use Edition 1.1 from 1 January 2014.

In order to comply with these requirements and to give users all the benefits of the upgraded S-63 security standard, the AVCS CD Service will upgrade to S-63 1.1 from 17 October 2013 (week 42/2013). From that date, AVCS CD users will no longer receive 1.0 format disks, unless specifically requested via their ADMIRALTY Chart Agent.

AVCS with S-63 1.1 is already available in a DVD format, with further benefits for customers, including the entire ENC dataset on a single DVD every week, removing the need for base disk re-issues, and improved data loading. There is no extra cost to upgrade to S-63 Edition 1.1 on CD or DVD.

Jason Scholey, Product Manager for AVCS at the UKHO, commented:  "AVCS users need to transition to the latest version of the S-63 security standard by the end of the year in order to remain compliant, but there are plenty of benefits in making the switch as soon as our S.63 1.1. CD service goes live from 17 October. By upgrading to S-63 1.1, users will benefit from fewer warning messages than before and with no requirement to change the security scheme certificate, as newer ECDIS models come with the IHO certificate used by S-63 1.1 (IHO.CRT) pre-installed.

"The UKHO is working hard to provide as much information and guidance as possible to our customers in order to help them to make a smooth, seamless transition and to enjoy all of the benefits. Thanks to S-63 1.1, ECDIS users are assured of the security of their ENC data, the authenticity of their charts and the continued compatibility of all S-63 compliant chart services and ECDIS models, whilst enjoying faster, simpler and more effective ENC handling. Put simply, this means more secure and efficient navigation."

The value of S-63 and the benefits of making the switch to the latest version were also discussed last week at the UKHO's free ECDIS Workshop, held at the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization as part of London International Shipping Week. Led by Captain Paul Hailwood, the workshop provided advice and guidance to the assembled audience of shipowners, managers, training providers, chart agents and others on how to properly embed ECDIS within bridge procedures and ensure compliance with international regulations.

UKHO has an array of resources to support all AVCS customers that are making the transition of AVCS to S-63 1.1, including a list of compatible ECDIS models, individual ECDIS installation guides and videos, all of which can be found under the S-63 tab at

UKHO has also prepared a simple four-step guide for customers that need to make the transition to S-63 1.1:

Step 1: Check ECDIS compatibility
Most ECDIS will be able to transition to S-63 Edition 1.1 with only a minor one-off change. However a small number may require an upgrade before they can use S-63 Edition 1.1 data.

All ECDIS type-approved from January 2009 are compatible with S-63 Edition 1.1. The ECDIS wheel mark will display the year of type-approval.

Most other ECDIS can also use the S-63 Edition 1.1 data providing they have the functionality to change the certificate file that is being used. If an ECDIS cannot change the certificate file, users should contact their ECDIS manufacturer and ADMIRALTY Chart Agent as soon as possible because an ECIDS upgrade may be required.

Step 2: Online Updating Service users only
Users of online updating services should check that their service can support S-63 Edition 1.1 updates.

ADMIRALTY e-Navigator Planning Station (versions 3.1 and higher) supports S-63 1.1 updates. The ADMIRALTY Updating Service (ENC Online Updating Service) will transition to S-63 1.1 from week 42/13.

Step 3: Install the IHO Certificate file onto the ECDIS
Upon receipt of the new AVCS S-63 Edition 1.1 CDs in week 42/13, users will need to change the certificate loaded in the ECDIS before the disks can be installed.

The ENCs on the CD are authenticated against the IHO's digital certificate (IHO.CRT), which must be installed in an ECDIS before the CD can be used. If converting from the older AVCS CD service or another ENC service, the user will have the PRIMAR digital certificate installed (PRIMAR.CRT). Alternatively, if operating a newly installed ECDIS it will be pre-loaded with the IHO digital certificate file but it may have expired in August 2013. In both cases the UKHO recommend the new IHO.CRT file is installed, which expires in 2033.

The new IHO.CRT can be found on the AVCS CD in the root folder and also at <<>>

To install the new IHO.CRT file, use the ECDIS menu to navigate to the section that allows the user to change the certificate file, load the new IHO.CRT file and (if necessary) set it as the default certificate. Note that some systems may require a file called IHO.PUB, which can also be found on the CD in the root folder.

UKHO has created a number of type specific guides to this process which can be found on the Support tab at

Step 4:
Load the AVCS CD.


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