ECDIS transitional period completion: analyses, observations and findings


During the past three decades, the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) evolved from its initial purpose to a complex navigation support tool. The transition from paper to electronic charts represents a substantial step in navigation, contributing to the reduction of the navigator’s workload, ease of execution of navigational tasks and integrated information and data fusion. In the system handling, Masters and Officers of the Watch (OOWs) are experiencing various issues ranging in their nature. The proposed paper represents a segment of a systematically carried out research among ECDIS stakeholders. The aim of the ECDIS EHO (Experience, Handling and Opinion) research is the development of an educational framework and the improvement of the Maritime Education and Training (MET) processes. This is to be achieved through a specific approach, proper communication and subtle educational, practical and research activities that have developed through time and research segments accomplishment, always striving at the user-centred, often neglected issues and their solving. The research methodology has been described in the respective chapter, together with the questionnaire which represents one of the main research tools. This segment of the research refers to opinions and attitudes of Masters and OOWs towards ECDIS mandatory implementation period completion, as collected from the ECDIS EHO questionnaire. The answers to the questions regarding the system role as a justified replacement of paper charts and the features of the means of navigation when compared with another have been categorised and discussed. Individual knowledge has been examined concerning new technology perception and understanding of the ECDIS system. The analyses and answers processing and accompanying comments have revealed certain illogicalities referring to the acceptance of the system as a mandatory, primary and often only, means of navigation. The level of acceptance and opinions regarding two means of navigation features have differed among respondents, irrespectively of their seagoing experience, navigational rank, ECDIS experience and the level of education. The analyses have revealed the need for the adaptation of ECDIS Education and Training to a particular navigational rank regarding engagement with the system. A new approach of the targeting methodology has been introduced and conducted. Critical groups of respondents have been identified and elaborated further. The research has resulted in the organisation of a new ECDIS MET course at the Faculty of Maritime Studies of the University of Rijeka. Considering the obtained results and the ongoing system development, findings and solutions have been presented in the conclusion chapter, together with the means of their achievements and the further work.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12


  1. 1.

    Nevertheless the regulations, certain flag state administrations and shipping companies require an Emergency Set of Paper (ESP) charts as an ultimate backup.

  2. 2.

    During 2018, an insufficient sample of answers was collected. Therefore, this year was not considered as a relevant one for the analysis.

  3. 3.

    The recent year (in time of writing) has not been considered in this research due to insufficient samples.


  1. Asyali E (2012) The role of ECDIS on improving situational awareness. In: Mercer R, Cross J, MccCulloch C (eds) Proceedings of 13th IAMU AGA conference. Memorial University of Newfoundland. Corner Brook, Canada, pp 123–136

    Google Scholar 

  2. Brčić D, Žuškin S (2018) Towards paperless vessels: a master’s perspective. Pomorski zbornik - J Mar Trans Sci 55(1):183–199

    Google Scholar 

  3. Brčić D, Kos S, Žuškin S (2015) Navigation with ECDIS: choosing the proper secondary positioning source. TransNav: Int J Mar Navig Saf Sea Trans 9(3):317–326

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brčić D, Kos S, Žuškin S (2016) Partial structural analysis of the ECDIS EHO research: the handling part. In: Rijavec R et al (eds) Proceedings of the 24th international symposium on electronics in transport. EAS & ITS, Slovenia, Ljubljana, pp 80–87

    Google Scholar 

  5. Brčić D, Žuškin S, Barić M (2017) Observations on ECDIS education and training. In: Weintrit A (ed) Proceedings of 12th International Conference on Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation. CRC Press, London, pp 29–36

    Google Scholar 

  6. Brčić D, Žuškin S, Valčić S, Frančić V (2018) Implementation of the ECDIS system: an OOW perspective as an integral part of educational improvement. In: Grifoll M et al (eds) Proceedings of 19th IAMU AGA conference. UPC, Barcelona, pp 121–128

    Google Scholar 

  7. Cole SJ, Asyali E (2018) Role of ECDIS training on improving situational awareness. In: Grifoll M et al (eds) Proceedings of 19th IAMU AGA conference. UPC, Barcelona, pp 165–172

    Google Scholar 

  8. Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) (2018). Accessed 10 December 2018

  9. Edmonds D (1999) Feedback from users of electronic chart technology. J Navig 52(1):139–141

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation (BSU) (2018). [Accessed December 10th, 2018]

  11. French Marine Accident Investigation Office (BEAmer) (2018). Available from: Accessed 10 December 2018

  12. Hamilton AC, Nickerson BG (1982) The electronic chart. TR102. UNB, Fredericton

  13. Hecht H et al (2006) The electronic chart: functions, potential and limitation of a new marine navigation system. GITC, Lemmer

    Google Scholar 

  14. International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) (2015) IEC 61174: electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) - operational and performance requirements, methods of testing and required test results, Edition 4.0. IEC, Geneve

  15. International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (2014a) IHO report on the results of the ECDIS survey conducted by BIMCO and Denmark. IHO, Monaco

  16. International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (2015a) New normative references for the type approval of ECDIS. Press release. IHO, Monaco

  17. International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (2015b) S-63: data protection scheme, Edition 1.2. IHO, Monaco

  18. International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (2017a) Information on IHO standards related to ENC and ECDIS. Version 1.1. IHO, Monaco

  19. International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (2017b) S-64: test data sets for ECDIS, edition 3.0. IHO, Monaco

  20. International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (2018) Current IHO ECDIS and ENC standards. Accessed 15 December 2018

  21. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (1995) A.817(19): performance standards for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS), IMO, London

  22. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (1996) MSC.64(67): adoption of new and amended performance standards. IMO, London

  23. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (1998) MSC.86(70): new and amended performance standards for navigational equipment. IMO, London

  24. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2004) NCSR 4/8: guidelines for the harmonized display of navigation information received via communications equipment. IMO, London

  25. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2006) MSC.232(82): adoption of the revised performance standards for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS). IMO, London

  26. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2009a) NCSR 2/22/2: report on monitoring of ECDIS issues by IHO. IMO, London

  27. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2010) MSC.1/Circ. 1391: operating anomalies identified within ECDIS. IMO, London

  28. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2012) Model course 1.27: operational use of electronic chart display and information system. IMO, London

  29. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2013) NAV 59/12/1: report on monitoring of ECDIS issues by IHO. IMO, London

  30. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2014) International convention for the safety of life at sea, 1974 as amended. IMO, London

  31. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2017a) MSC.1/Circ.1503 Rev.1: ECDIS – guidance for good practice. IMO, London

  32. International Maritime Organization (IMO) (2017b) STCW.7/Circ.24: international convention on standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended. IMO, London

  33. International Maritime Organization IMO (2009b) MSC.282(86): adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea, 1974. Annex 1. IMO, London

  34. Kalnina R, Priednieks V (2016) Proficiency improvement method in maritime education. WMU J Marit Aff 16:139–159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Manuel EM (2017) Vocational and academic approaches to maritime education and training (MET): trends, challenges and opportunities. WMU J Marit Aff 16:473–483

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) (2018). Accessed 1 October 2018

  37. Øvergård KI, Smit PN (2014) Effect of sea experience and computer confidence in ECDIS training. In: Martinez de Oses FX, Castells Sanabra M (eds) Proceedings of 6th international conference on maritime transport (MT14). UPC, Barcelona, pp 297–310

    Google Scholar 

  38. Patraiko D (2016) Developing IMO S-mode for e-navigation. [presentation] International E-Navigation Underway Conference. Copenhagen, DMA

  39. Sabelis H (1999) Voyage planning in ECDIS. Int Hydrogr Rev 76(2):41–48

    Google Scholar 

  40. The Nautical Institute (NI) (2015) Navigation accidents and their causes. The Nautical Institute, London

    Google Scholar 

  41. Weintrit A (2011) International recent issues about ECDIS, E-navigation and safety at sea: introduction. In: Weintrit A (ed) International recent issues about ECDIS, E-navigation and safety at sea. Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, pp 9–12

    Google Scholar 

  42. Weintrit A (2015) ECDIS issues related to the implementation of the carriage requirements in SOLAS convention. Arch Trans Syst Telematics 8(1):35–40

    Google Scholar 

  43. Weintrit A, Stawicki K (2008) Operational requirements for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS). Risk of overreliance on ECDIS. Transport Problems 3(2):67–74

    Google Scholar 

  44. Žuškin S, Valčić M, Rudan, I (2011) ECDIS system in function of sea environment protection. In: Radmilović Z et al. (eds) Proceedings of international conference on REACT - shaping climate friendly transport in europe: key findings and future directions, the faculty of transport and traffic engineering, Belgrade, pp. 146–153

  45. Žuškin S, Brčić D, Šabalja Đ (2013) A contribution to improving the standards of ECDIS training. Pomorstvo - Sci J Mar Res 27(1):131–148

    Google Scholar 

  46. Žuškin S, Brčić D, Kos S (2016) Partial structural analysis of the ECDIS EHO research: the safety contour. In: Martinez de Oses FX, Castells Sanabra M (eds) Proceedings of 7th international conference on maritime transport. UPC, Barcelona, pp 246–262

    Google Scholar 

  47. Žuškin S, Brčić D, Valčić S (2017) ECDIS possibilities for BWE adoption. TransNav: Int J Mar Navig Saf Sea Transp 11(3):477–482

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors are grateful to all the officers of the navigational watch on their time and willingness for the fulfilment of this research, discussions and their opinions. The authors believe that their answers have an immense significance for the appropriateness of the research deliverables.


This research has been financially supported by the University of Rijeka under the Faculty of Maritime Studies projects.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Brčić.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brčić, D., Žuškin, S., Valčić, S. et al. ECDIS transitional period completion: analyses, observations and findings. WMU J Marit Affairs 18, 359–377 (2019).

Download citation


  • Maritime navigation
  • Digital navigation
  • Paperless vessels
  • ECDIS Education and Training
  • Knowledge transfer