Maritime Link’s blog has a very good post regarding the Navy switching to paperless navingation. Read the story [HERE](" title="Navy going paperless.) then let us hear your thoughts on the subject.

A few years ago the navy spent millions on a sextant that you plugged into the wall. You only had to identify the star and press a button, the unit recorded the time, bearing and did the sight reduction for you. Then they realized the sexant was for navigating when the electronics don’t work so they scrapped the program. They also scrapped the CelNav class at the naval academy. Not so bright in my opinion.

Yes I’ll also pass on that opportunity… but an ECDIS is nice to augment paper charts.

We are not there yet. Especially not on merchant ships. But class 2 or better vessels with 2 ECDIS units battery backed up on different switchboards with different reference systems… mmmm is paper really necessary?? With some ships even having POD on their ship. You can always have your paper as backup, but never used. Maybe one day.


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<span style="font-size: 10.5pt; color: #062971; font-family: ‘Trebuchet MS’]The days of paper are over. </span>

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<span style="font-size: 10.5pt; color: #062971; font-family: ‘Trebuchet MS’]What I find strange in these discussions is that it is quite possible to destroy a paper chart - coffee for example - will wipe out vital navigational aid…</span>

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<span style="font-size: 10.5pt; color: #062971; font-family: ‘Trebuchet MS’]Dual ECDIS with a “take me to a pilot station” is more than enough.</span>

<span style="font-size: 10.5pt; color: #062971; font-family: ‘Trebuchet MS’]Kristin</span><span></span>

I think ECDIS is a great innovation but I don’t think we’re quite ready to replace the chart table. I’ve seen some of the ECDIS-N come up with some pretty scarry plots while piloting. For example, at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay I’ve seen the equipment plot the vessel crossing on land behind Cape Henry Light while GPS is claiming a FOM-1. As long as the person in the wheelhouse includes the windows as one of the instruments they check they can keep themselves out of trouble, but I always felt safer having a paper plot as a backup.


Dutton’s says (paraphrasing) that redundancy is key for a professional navigator/ to live a long life.

In aviation the paperless cockpit is used in some companies (glass cockpits). It has drawbacks, but it has merit as well. I think it’s best to have charts/pubs in the cockpit, that way you can do flight planning on the ground with the power off/ reference stuff whenever you want. For the same reason that celestial is required for oceans licenses, I think paper charts should be required even with ECDIS. However, I’ve never set eyes on an ECDIS in my life, so take what I say with a grain of salt! I have read about ECDIS though, and I saw one on TV once.


i think ecdis is great for voyage planning but i dont see how you can replace the reliability of plotting bearings and makin fixes on paper.


<strong>ECDIS -</strong>

  1. <strong>Excellent</strong> for voyage planning and takes care of that long berth to berth (200 waypoints in Mississippi river… 450 in Rio Parana!) voyage plan which we have to print out

  2. Excellent for the alars it gives

  3. Terrific for its real time positions - vastly reduces stress levels on bridge… in a 20 knotter container ship in malacca straits

<strong> But -</strong>

  1. Has poor lookahead capabity
  • why <strong>replace </strong>paper charts? Why not <strong>have</strong> <strong>both </strong>electronic charts and paper charts (like we have internet newspapers and paper newspapers concurrently… ditto for e-books and paperbacks)? Till the mariner is comfortable not having paper charts?

I myself would go to a new port on ecdis only if it dad

a) A screen size equal to a paper chart

b) A flat touch sensitive screen (I want things to be faster and better than a peper chart - if it is same or slower, where is the benefit? )

c) Symbols similar to the INT 1 / 5011 ones (why have new symbols? that too without a single book which the mariner can browse thru when at ease?)


One of the nice aspects of ECDIS that gets overlooked is that it allows you to shift a regulatory burden from the paper chart to the ECDIS. This means that you can meet your regulatory burden to ECDIS where chart corrections for the entire world can be completed in a matter of minutes. The mariner is then free to do whatever they want with their paper chart portfolio. For example, full portfolio of paper charts only updated with new editions, or a reduced and corrected portfolio depending on a vessels particular needs. Many times the choice between ECDIS and paper is discussed as a black or white decision, but rather it can be viewed as a mix that best fits the comfort level of the navigator against the cost savings to the shipping company.


The offer for ECDIS systems is not completly developed even if it is better now. I use the SODENA solution, which is a bit more advanced. There is a lack of ECDIS charts thoughout the world.


ECDIS on its own isn’t sufficient; we need a truly reliable backup. Two ECDIS consoles aren’t a solution - they both rely on power supply and often share one database of charts.

To me the perfect combination is one ECDIS console plus an A0 printer back of bridge that outputs full size paper charts from ARCS or BSB on demand; captains love it, port state control accepts it, why not making it widely available? Well, HOs fear a sharp downturn of paper chart sales …

ECDIS is very useful to have on high speed craft. I spent alot of time on HSC’s in many ports all over the world and going 30+ knots they are a necessity because even the best navigator could not plot a position in time for it to be relevant to what you are doing. You need real time information. Also on the ships I sailed on there was no means to shoot bearings so backing up what you see through the window and what you see on the video screen was not an option.

On slower craft - 10 to 20 knots, I think there is always going to be a place for paper charts.


Today’s electronics are making us complacent as mariners. I like the ECDIS systems. But it is electronics. It is made by man. So, it can fail. Then what do you do? Go back to basics of course. I don’t believe you will “ever” see the paper chart disappear. They are only “tools”. They are not primary sources of navigation. Eyes, ears, charts, publications and then electronics. It is a beautiful combination in that order.

my opinions about ECDIS here!<br><br>Power Requirement is not distinguished much because we will face not only ECDIS failure in case of Black out. <br>Yes, we still need the paper charts while using ECDIS so as we still keep a Sextant onboard in GPS era. We may overcome this problem by broadband Internet which may be widely and commercially available onboard 2 or 3 years from now. At this time, Paper Charts may be kept at the Head Office for emergency
use while we are enjoying the paperless navigation system onboard. In case of 1 or 2 ECDIS failure, promptly downloaded electronic charts can be used as traditional paper charts.<br><br>rgds/sirius

<P><br>Being that true ECDIS has an UPS system, I would consider its backup system better than that of the human 2nd mate that engulfs 1/2lb of bacon every morning. <br>80% of all maritime accidents are due to human error, not faulty electronics. I embrace replacing paper charts with technology AS LONG AS plots can be entered manually if needed. ECDIS has that capability.<br><br>BESIDES…Did Cristopher Columbus find land with a GPS, Chart, or an engine? I forget.<br><br>Note to self: This does not mean that I agree with replacing toilet paper with an automatic water stream.<br><br></P>

Well, I’ve lived in Thailand where they have replaced toilet paper with hand-held spray nozzle and let me tell ya - don’t knock it till ya try it!<br>As far as ECDIS - I love it. Correcting paper charts - I hate it, but correcting them has often been my OT or kept me busy.

Who likes to do chart corrections?..I certainly don’t. As long as it pays…

I love using an ECDIS. But I still think we need paper charts at least for 4 more years and then I can retire. What worries me is will NGA suddenly pull the rug out from under us and get out of the paper chart business before everyone has a chance to go paperless? Take the NTM’s. If your computer is down its a little hard to correct your charts and pubs. Not impossible, but I used to like getting those paper NTM copies. One day they just disappeared. I heard when ARPA radars first came out, old timers would still mark up the screens with grease pencils. Anyone care to admit it?

still carry a black, red, yellow and a playing card in my “kit” to magically astonish and amaze the AB…good exercise for upcoming radar renewal as well!!