The Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is a development in the navigational chart system used in naval vessels and ships. With the use of the electronic chart system, it has become easier for a ship’s navigating crew to pinpoint locations and attain directions.

ECDIS complies with IMO Regulation V/19 & V/27 of SOLAS convention as amended, by displaying selected information from a System Electronic Navigational Chart (SENC). ECDIS equipment complying with SOLAS requirements can be used as an alternative to paper charts. Besides enhancing navigational safety, ECDIS greatly eases the navigator’s workload with its automatic capabilities such as route planning, route monitoring, automatic ETA computation and ENC updating. In addition, ECDIS provides many other sophisticated navigation and safety features, including continuous data recording for later analysis.

The ECDIS utilises the feature of the Global Positioning System (GPS) to successfully pinpoint the navigational points. It also has to be noted that the ECDIS adheres to the stipulations set by the International Maritime Organisation, and thus it adds to the trustworthiness of the electronic chart system. ECDIS is basically a navigational information system, interfaced with other navigational equipments such as the GPS, Gyro, RADAR, ARPA, Echo Sounder etc.

ECDIS also incorporates and displays information contained in other nautical publications such as Tide Tables and Sailing Directions and incorporates additional maritime information such as radar information, weather, ice conditions and automatic vessel identification.

Advantages of ECDIS over paper charts

  1. All information is processed and displayed in real time
  2. It eases the process of passage planning
  3. One can get all necessary navigational information at a glance
  4. Alarms and indications are in place to indicate and highlight dangers
  5. Chart correction is made easier in ECDIS as compared to paper charts
  6. Charts can be tailored as per the requirement of the voyage
  7. Other navigational equipments such as the AIS, ARPA etc can be overlayed and integrated
  8. Charts can be oriented as per requirement
  9. With the facility to zoom in and out, features can be examined as per necessity
  10. One can obtain a more accurate ETA
  11. Charts can be interrogated for detailed information
  12. All in all, it enhances the safety of navigation

ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart) Layers

  • Display Base (No information can be deleted)
  • Standard Display
  • Full Display
  • Custom Display

Minimum Interface Requirement

  • Position Sensor
  • Heading Sensor
  • Speed Sensor

ECDIS Compliance

  • Approved ECDIS with approved backup
  • Type approved hardware
  • Type approved software
  • Approved installation
  • Official Chart Services
  • Training of Officers

Voyage Recording

  • Minute by minute recording for the past 12 hours of the voyage
  • Record of 4 hourly intervals of voyage track for a period of 6 months

Alarms and Indication in ECDIS


  1. Exceeding cross track limits
  2. Crossing selected safety contour
  3. Deviation from the route
  4. Critical Point Approach
  5. Different datum from the positioning system


  1. Largest scale for alarm (present chart too small a scale)
  2. Area with special conditions
  3. Malfunction of ECDIS

Power Supply

  • Possible to operate ECDIS and all equipment necessary for its normal functioning when supplied by an emergency source of electrical power
  • Changing from one source of power supply to another or any interruption of supply for a period of up to 45 seconds shall not require the equipment to be manually re-initialized

IMO Performance Standards Compliance

  1. Contributes to safe navigation
  2. Complies with the up to date charts required by Regulation V/20 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention
  3. In addition to the general requirements for shipborne radio equipment forming part of the GMDSS and for electronics navigational aids, meets the requirements contained in IMO Resolution A.694 (17) performance standard
  4. Capable of displaying all chart information necessary for safe and efficient navigation originated by, and distributed on the authority of government authorized hydrographic offices
  5. Facilitates simple and reliable updating of the electronic navigational chart
  6. Reduces the navigational workload compared to using the paper chart by enabling the mariner to execute in a convenient and timely manner all route planning, monitoring and positioning currently performed on paper charts.
  7. Capable of continuously plotting the ship’s position
  8. Same reliability and availability of presentation as the paper chart published by the Government authorized hydrographic offices.
  9. Provides appropriate alarms or indications with respect to the information displayed or malfunction of the equipment

Carriage Requirement

  • Passenger Vessels > 500 GT
    New Build – By July 2012
    Existing Build – By 2014 (Built before 1 July 2012)
  • Tankers > 3000 GT
    New Build – By July 2012
    Existing Build – By 2015
  • Cargo Vessels > 10000 GT
    New Build – By July 2013
    Existing Build – By 2018 (Built before 1 July 2013)
  • Cargo Vessels > 3000 GT
    New Build – By July 2014
  • Cargo Vessels > 50000 GT
    Existing Build – By 2016
  • Cargo Vessels > 20000 GT
    Existing Build – By 2017