Rethinking ECDIS: Major European shipowners switch ECDIS product to meet new mandatory regulations for 2017.
The latest feedback from the ECDIS Electronic Chart Display and Information System market in Europe shows that major ship owners are choosing to install new ECDIS units rather than upgrade older units. This is a consequence of a poor economical, maintenance, and technical solutions.
Many of us who are working with the ECDIS product understand that there will be further upgrades coming in the near future. The main issue for many shipowners will then be, “What is the cost of the next upgrade?”
As an example, I can state that the IHO, the International Hydrographic Organization, is working on a new official chart formats called S-100 / S-102. This new chart formats will need to be implemented. Then, of course, the new type will need to be approved and, again, require a mandatory installation on all vessels.
For the ECDIS manufacturer, this means an expensive development, certification, and implementation process. The ECDIS is indeed a new product, unlike others in the maritime electronic business, that will require regular updates. The cost for such updates cannot be accurately predicted unless you have a contract with the manufacturer of your ECDIS that includes such costs.
You may believe that the next upgrade is far off, but it is not. A chart system I am using today already read the S-100 chart format data. As the S-102 includes a new way of using bathymetric data, it will solve the problems of ENC alarms in ECDIS (see post on http://palmarm.no/2015/10/when-your-ecdis-works-as-an-alarm-machine/). Because of this, it is not likely that the IHO will skip or postpone the implementation of such an important features.
Today, shipowners can choose ECDIS providers who offer free upgrades as part of their product sales. In that case, we recommend exploring the leasing alternative from ChartWorld by clicking on the link below.