Inland ENCs are electronic navigational charts that require special software. The fundamental content of these electronic navigational charts (ENCs) include:
- Data concerning traffic regulations such as the fairway, buoys, prohibited areas, lights and panel signs
- Structures and obstacles such as bridges, locks and dams
- Shorelines and hydraulic structures (groynes, piers)
- Orientation guidance for waterway axis, kilometre and hectometre markers
Inland ENCs are fundamentally different from paper maps. The electronic storage of geographical data as vector data allows a correct representation in all levels of detail and ensures a reliable and clear presentation of the information depending on the density of detail selected by the user, lighting conditions in the wheelhouse and other factors. Inland ENCs are prepared, updated and edited either by commercial suppliers or waterway administrations.
The advantages of Inland ENCs over traditional paper maps are:
Detailed and clear presentation of the map in all resolutions and section sizes
- Quick and easy update procedures
- Presentation at different levels of detail selectable by user
- Retrieval of information for individual objects per mouse-click
Inland ENCs and Inland ECDIS supported River Information Services include:
- Tactical Traffic Imaging
- Fairway information services
Up-to-date geodata of the waterways as well as the display of vessel traffic in the form of a real-time traffic information system support the captain in planning and executing ship transports and voyages. In order to contribute to the traffic safety and efficiency of inland navigation, reliable updated geodata on the water depth and the traffic route of the waterway are published in a timely manner.
The Inland ENCs and Inland ECDIS are continuously developed and many new services, such as the monthly updates of river bottom surveys and the fairway course (reduced depths and widths) at relevant shallow sections, current bridge clearance heights or buoys for traffic regulations, provide for an ever improving real-time traffic information system.
In cooperation with the software producers, training videos (RADARpilot 720, TRESCO) have been developed to explain the use of Inland ECDIS Viewers to captains in a practical way and to support them in their daily tasks.
Thus, electronic navigational charts and Inland ECDIS will continue to be a central tool for safe, modern and efficient inland navigation in the future. To navigate a ship safely and economically, a captain needs a lot of information. This information is obtained via the Inland ENCs and Inland ECDIS.