Marine Glossary

Meaning of “ECDIS”

“ECDIS” stands for “Electronic Chart Display and Information System.” It is a computer-based navigation system used in maritime operations to assist with the display and management of electronic navigational charts (ENCs) and additional navigational information.

ECDIS serves as a digital replacement for traditional paper charts and offers a range of functionalities to aid ship navigation. It integrates electronic charts, position data from Global Positioning System (GPS) or other navigational systems, and various sensor inputs to provide real-time information to the mariner.

The main features and benefits of ECDIS include:

  1. Electronic Chart Display: ECDIS displays electronic navigational charts (ENCs) on a computer screen, allowing for easy viewing, panning, and zooming. ENC data is more dynamic and up to date compared to paper charts.
  2. Position Monitoring: ECDIS receives real-time position data from GPS or other navigation sensors and superimposes the ship’s position on the electronic chart, allowing the navigator to accurately track the vessel’s movement.
  3. Route Planning and Monitoring: ECDIS enables mariners to plan and optimize routes by selecting waypoints, setting safety parameters, and considering factors such as depth, traffic, and weather. It provides continuous monitoring of the vessel’s position along the planned route and alerts the navigator if the ship deviates from the intended track.
  4. Safety and Collision Avoidance: ECDIS enhances safety by providing alarms and warnings for potential dangers, such as shallow water, navigational hazards, and other vessels in close proximity. It calculates the closest point of approach (CPA) and time to closest point of approach (TCPA) to aid in collision avoidance.
  5. Additional Information: ECDIS can display supplementary information alongside electronic charts, such as radar overlays, automatic identification system (AIS) data, tide and weather information, and port details.

ECDIS improves navigational efficiency, accuracy, and safety by integrating various navigational data into a single system. It helps mariners make informed decisions, reduces the risk of human error, and promotes effective route planning and execution. ECDIS is now a mandatory requirement on many commercial vessels, as specified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

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