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ENC: Electronic Navigational Chart Definition

An electronic navigational chart is a digital chart. In accordance with the IHO Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data (S-57), this chart covers all information on paper charts related to marine navigation, such as coastlines, isobaths, water depths, beacons (lighthouses and light buoys), hazards, and sea routes, in order to apply the aforementioned data to the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display & Information System)

This system is intended to display electronic navigational charts. ECDIS is a system exclusively produced in accordance with the Specifications for Chart Content and Display Aspects of ECDIS (S-53) prepared by IMO and IHO.

Electronic Chart Display and Information System mimetic diagram

Main Information

  • Warn a dangerous situation about stranding and collision to mariners in advance.
  • Select the optimal routes through route design and planning.
  • Identify the causes of accidents through automatic tracking records.
  • Provide mariners with information on marine navigation included.

Background on Development

Increased international cargo traffic and the development of nautical skill in the late 20th century have promoted the enlargement and speedup of a ship, leading to frequent large-scale marine accidents. Against this backdrop, centered on the shipping countries in Northern Europe, research into the electronic navigational chart began as one among several novel ways to improve the safety navigation in the mid 1980s.

The marine accident involving the oil tanker Sea Prince occurred in the vicinity of Sorido Island on the southern coast of Korea in 1995. This accident gave rise to the necessity to build a new navigation safety system, and the development of the electronic navigational charts began in earnest as a result of that decision.

Electronic Chart Display and Information System mimetic diagram

Current Development

  • Overseas The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) committee founded in 1989 conducted a technical review and trial operation, and established the international standard for the purpose of the practical use of the electronic navigational charts. Combining those efforts with research results from each country, it finally completed and announced S-57 in 1996, which in turn revitalized the development of the electronic navigational charts in each country.
  • Domestic Beginning to develop the development of the electronic navigational chart in 1995, the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration finally completed the charts in 1999 depicting the whole coasts in Korea. Since July 2000, it has distributed the charts and annually produced a new and revised edition so as to retain the up-to-date navigation safety information. Now a total of 535 cells are being maintained.
Period Contents Remarks
1995 ~ 1996 Established the standard for the production of ENCs and conducted trial production Completed
1996 ~ 1997 Developed 60 ENC cells Completed
1997 ~ 1998 Developed 105 ENC cells Completed
1998 ~ 1999 Developed 40 ENC cells, and ENC supply and management systems Completed
1999 ~ 2000 Developed the technology linked to the marine information systems Completed
2006 ~ 2008 Developed grid-type ENCs Completed
Presents Update and manage ENCs Ongoing
Electronic Navigational Chart Catalogue Vendor Information

Electronic Navigational Chart Composition(divided for navigational purposes)

Code No. Type of Chart Scale
1 Overview Chart ≤ 1,500,000
2 General Chart 350,000 ∼ 1,499,999
3 Coastal Chart 90,000 ∼ 349,999
4 Approach Chart 30,000 ∼ 89,999
5 Harbor Chart 7,500 ~ 29,999
6 Berthing Chart < 7,500 *Numbering

Electronic="Electronic" Navigational="Navigational" Charts="Charts"/>◊ KR X XXXXX. 000
KR : ENC producer code (Korea: KR)
X : Code numbers for navigational purposes of ENCs
XXXXX : Each country’s designated cell code
000 : ENC update numbers (first edition: 000, No.1 edition: 001)

ENC Production Procedure

Electronic Navigational Chart Production Procedure

Expected Effect

  • Prevent marine accidents
  • Lead to localizing ECDIS production technology and create import substitution effects
  • Revitalize industrialization of diverse markets in demand
    • The IMO’s ECDIS targets vessels of 500 tons or above. Furthermore, this system provides basic materials needed in the development and practical use of the electronic chart systems (ECS) that can ideally be mounted onto small fishing boats, ferries, and yachts.

Provision of ENC Information

ENCs provide the information needed in the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), vessel monitoring in the jurisdictional sea, the Search and Rescue (SAR) for life rescue, and port/offshore development projects carried out by public institutions.

Provision of Nautical Chart Information


  • IHO (International Hydrographic Organization) This organization is responsible for reconciling each country’s opinions about hydrographic services, collecting and exchanging technical information, establishing international hydrographic policies, and enacting international standards.
  • IMO (International Maritime Organization) As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.
  • VTS (Vessel Traffic Service) As an information exchange system, this service is intended to monitor ports and vessels that sail or move along the sea routes and come and go in or out of ports, and to provide those vessels with the materials needed for safe navigation, with the use of communication facilities such as radar, CCTVs, and radiotelephones.
  • S-52 (Special Publication No.52) This is a special publication that IHO has defined as the international standard specification to manufacture the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).
  • S-57 (Special Publication No.57) This is a special publication titled Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data that IHO has defined as the international standard specification to produce the electronic navigation chart (ENC).
  • ECS (Electronic Chart Systems) This is a general term indicating digital nautical charts that private companies have developed for commercial use.