Charts vs ECDIS

The ECDIS running process, that is the collection, processing and display of navigation information happens with minimal intervention by the watchstander but the set-up process is highly prone to human error.

The chance of an error during set-up is orders of magnitude higher the the chance of an error during use. Error during set-up become a latent error for the entire voyage (or voyages).

Set-up errors are also far easier to detect and correct than are errors made in real time by the watchstander.

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This is true but what are the chances of two ECDIS failing simultaneously or nearly so? Very remote chance.

Assuming no ECDIS what’s the worse case scenario? Pilots typically don’t make much use of the ECDIS so little additional risk in that case.

In areas that are difficult to navigate like the English Channel and Singapore the radar can be set up to show the VTS lanes. The GPS receivers should have the voyage waypoints entered, the “Highway” mode can be used to go waypoint to waypoint until other arrangements can be made. I used to have the waypoints entered into my IPad running INax. Not to mention visual navigation.

Be prudent to carry small scale paper charts. Chartlets can be emailed to the ship. Charts can be constructed with plotting sheets with navigation hazards added by hand from the sailing directions / Coast pilots.

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Every ECDIS I’ve used is just a fancy Windows PC, just like DP systems.

Hopefully the requirements are for a 24v PC with a solid state hard drive.
Allowing home PC’s on to vessels was the real problem, push in plug for power??

They make the really neat things that go between a PC and wall outlet called an Uninterrupted Power Supply, UPS. Been around forever, quite good at keeping what ever is plugged in from turning off when the power is ya know interrupted…

Makes it real easy for IT to come by and upgrade computers every few years because we keep a hard drive plugged in that does automatic backups and all they do is restore that data on the new computer.

If you ever open up a Konsgberg or Converteam DP console you’ll find HP machines that you can buy from Walmart inside.

Yes, but not really. Yes, you may find that model of HP computer at Walmart, but I doubt very much if it has a type approval sticker on it. The computers used by Kongsberg and ECDIS units are type approved by Class. The two (found in Walmart and used by Kongsberg) may even be identical, but the one used by Kongsberg will be a lot more expensive if you have to replace it.

FWIW, the computer that has the “official” copy of the stability program is also supposed to be Class type approved as well. You can have & use the program on non-type approved computers as long as it is resident on one that is type approved.

The monitor has to be type approved also. Hatteland Display has more or less monopoly on Norwegian vessels. The monitor alone cost $3-4k

the walmart PC is the display PC its not the one doing the work and calculations

Hence my comment ‘type approved’ and the power cable just plugs in and a spinning hard drive.
on AHTS the plug falls out and they crash due to the vibration, lucky you dont use DP when pulling anchors

Every DP system and ECDIS system I’ve come across has retainers on them so that’s not possible.

According to the site Safety4Sea the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) is 13,000 hrs or about 1.5 years.

The recommendation is replace after 5 years, 3-5 years is typical for business. Be cheaper to replace the components that fail rather than pay for repairs and off-hire time.

Not to mention having a serious accident because somebody think they are saving money by waiting to replace worn out or due to expire equipment.

Have you heard the popular saying; “If it ain’t broken, why fix it”?

Another saying may be more relevant; “If you think a new (Computer) is expensive, wait until you see the cost of having an accident”.

how about the hdd?

We had a spare hard drive pre-loaded with the operating system. I was stowed inside the ECDIS cabinet.

yes but was it a solid state or an old spinning drive? ( that should have never been allowed on a vessel)

The most likely place to find errors and failures in a system is places where the human interacts with the system.

The is the fundamental issue with comparing the ECDIS to a paper chart. Need to look at it as a system

. It’s true that a paper chart is less likely to fail than a computer but the paper chart system, which includes the OICNW getting data from the various instruments plotting it, analyzing etc. has far more potential for error. Not to mention the time taken away from lookout and other duties required by plotting etc.

They’re old spinning drives typically.