In 1995, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed the basic standards for ECDIS for maritime navigation. The scope of this draft was extended in 1996 and subsequently passed and published as an MSC Resolution (Maritime Safety Organisation). The most important aspect of this resolution was that electronic charts are regarded as equivalent to paper charts with respect to mandatory equipment, if they were drawn up according to the S-57 Standard defined by the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO). This standard specifies exchange format, object catalogue and product specification, etc. Moreover, the IHO published the S-52 Standard for standardising the presentation of objects.
Within the scope of the EU project INDRIS (Inland Navigation Demonstrator for River Information Services) project, the ECDIS standard was, among others, adapted to the requirements and conditions of inland navigation. Since then, the Inland ECDIS Standard has been revised and was passed in the summer of 2001 by the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR). Today, Inland ECDIS is also recommended by the Danube Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE).
In June 2003, a meeting of European and North American experts took place in the Netherlands. As a result of the discussions, intensive work is currently underway to find a common, global approach for Inland ECDIS. The commonly founded working group, the IEHG (Inland ENC Harmonisation Group), comprises of members from North America, Russia and Europe and has recently been accepted as a working group by the IHO.
- Detailed and clearly organised presentation of charts in all resolutions and the size of chart sections
- Simple and fast updating procedures
- Presentation in various levels of detail due to layer technology
- Information on area beyond riverbanks and peripheral zones
- Adaptation to the requirements of inland navigation (e.g. modifying a map’s brightness on the screen to match the amount of light in the wheelhouse)
The Inland ECDIS standard is compatible with the globally valid ECDIS for maritime navigation. Inland ECDIS software can display ECDIS charts for maritime navigation, ECDIS software can display Inland ECDIS charts, but without displaying objects such as notice marks, buoys and locks, etc. which are specific to inland navigation.