The Philippines, represented by the author who is from the NAMRIA Hydrography Branch (HB), attended the International Centre on Electronic Navigational Charts (IC-ENC) Technical Conference (TC23_1) on 14-16 March 2023. The three-day hybrid event had 57 in-person attendees at the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel in Antwerp, Belgium and 49 virtual attendees, comprising 40 out of 48 IC-ENC member nations. Ltjg Clarizza Mae B Biong, also from HB, virtually participated in the conference.
The IC-ENC is a Regional ENC Coordinating Centre that is responsible for assisting hydrographic offices in producing high-quality and fit-for-purpose ENCs that are compliant with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards. The Philippines, through NAMRIA, first joined the IC-ENC in 2014.
The technical conference covered various topics that are mostly aligned with the ongoing transition from the S-57 to the S-101 standard. Among the topics discussed were ENC Conversion, S-101 Development Updates, High-Density ENCs, ENC Gridding and Scheming, S-57 ENC Developments, and Production Support Updates. The topics were presented in support of the development of the S-100 Universal Hydrographic Model of IHO. In the foreseeable future, S-100 will eventually replace S-57 – the established IHO Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data. The S-101 will then be the new product specification for Electronic Navigational Charts.
Hydrographic offices from Belgium, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom presented their experiences and plans on the S-101 testing. An optional seminar about Inland ENCs was also conducted. The industry representatives from Teledyne CARIS, I4Insight (dKart), SevenCs, IIC Technologies, and ESRI focused on their status updates in preparation for the S-100 implementation.
Service developments on the other S-100 products, e.g., S-102 (Bathymetric Surface Product), S-104 (Water Level Information for Surface Navigation), S-111 (Surface Currents), S-122 (Marine Protected Areas), and S-128 (Catalogue of Nautical Products), were also discussed. On the second day of the event, in-person attendees also had the opportunity to visit the Antwerp Maritime Academy for a short tour.
The author (wearing a rose-colored top) poses for a group photo with the other IC-ENC attendees at the Antwerp Maritime Academy. —LCdr Mohd Khairien bin Hj Hatun RMN from Malaysia
Discussions on High-Density ENCs were tackled on the last day. Speakers from New Zealand, Belgium, and Malaysia hydrographic offices shared their experiences and future plans for the HD-ENC production. Mr. Marvin Espino, a Senior Nautical Cartographer from the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), highlighted their recently received Surveying and Spatial Sciences (SSS) Hydrographic Excellence Award 2022. They were recognized for their contribution to the science of hydrography and industry practice. Mr. Espino is a former cartographer in the HB Nautical Charting Division. Capt. Antonio Di Lieto from the Center for Simulator Maritime Training (CSMART) shared a user perspective of using HD-ENC based on their experiences. He demonstrated a simulation of the HD-ENC's significance in the Port of Cairns in Australia. He concluded that HD-ENC is important not only in enhancing the safety of navigation but also in optimizing port calls. He also emphasized the effectiveness of simulations to foster a mutual understanding of the HD-ENC concept among all stakeholders involved.
During the conference, the IC-ENC announced its milestone of reaching a total of 10,000 ENCs in its folio. The 10,000th ENC was compiled by Ms. Bai Dyanna Sinsuat of the Danish Geodata Agency. Ms. Sinsuat is a former HB commissioned officer. The conference ended with closing discussions regarding plans for future technical conferences as the IC-ENC moves forward with the S-100 roadmap.
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