1.1 Current chart carriage requirements
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the
United Nations specialized agency with
responsibility for the safety and security of shipping
and the prevention of marine and atmospheric
pollution by ships. The agency has established a
comprehensive regulatory framework of over 50
international conventions and agreements that allow
all of its 174 Member States to consistently implement
and enforce a set of international maritime
The International Convention for the Safety of Life
at Sea (SOLAS) is one the key IMO conventions as it
sets minimum safety standards. In particular, SOLAS
Chapter V sets forth the safety of navigation
provisions applicable to all vessels on all voyages. A
key safety provisions is the requirement for all ships
to carry up to date nautical charts and publications
on board to be able to plan and execute the intended
voyage safely. The same Chapter V defines additional
provisions related to use of an Electronic Chart
Display and Information System (ECDIS) an accepted
way of meeting the chart carriage requirements.
NaAVIC, a Free Downloadable ECS App that Runs on
ENC Data Streamed Directly from a Cloud-based
Infrastructure Specifically Designed for Marine
D. Peyton & E. Kuwalek
IIC Technologies, Riverdale, Maryland, USA
A. Alla
ABSTRACT: NaAVIC, is a free and downloadable Electronic Chart System app specifically developed for boats
of all sizes looking for safe and reliable professional navigation functionality on mobile devices and/or laptops.
The app offers a range of features to make navigation easy and reliable, delivered through a clear and intuitive
interface designed specifically for navigating at sea. The capabilities cover the range of essential features
needed to maintain safety and situational awareness. Separate processes for download and update of the
electronic chart data is not required because data is streamed in real-time from a cloud based open source
database. The data is supplied to NaAVIC from Nautilus Cloud, a cloud based infrastructure designed for
Marine Data, Solutions and Services for Government Organizations, Commercial Industry and Consumers.
Nautilus Cloud is a “cloud native” approach and leverages high quality, open source components as its base
technology. It uses open standards throughout to build a low-cost system which is flexible and has a much
greater degree of interoperability with pre-existing components. A key feature of the Nautilus Cloud platform
is the expansion of data holdings into a much wider family of related geospatial data products including the S-
100 framework, harmonized metadata, raster and real-time sources. In essence, NaAVIC can operate on real-
time and up-to-date information from charting agencies without a separate updating process. This enables the
integration of real-time tides, weather, currents and other oceanographic information.
the International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 13
Number 1
March 2019
DOI: 10.12716/1001.13.01.25
1.2 Role of International Hydrographic Organization
Although the IMO is responsible for establishing all
key safety provisions which require type approved
ECDIS to be used in conjunction with up to date
official ENC data, it is the IHO who develops and
maintains the portfolio of relevant data standards,
including: S-57 for data content and encoding, S-52
for data rendering, S-58 for data validation, and S-63
for data protection specifically referenced by the IEC
testing standard which verifies an ECDIS against the
IMO performance standard. The IHO is also working
on the new family of S-100 standards that will
eventually replace S-57 for ENC provision.
1.3 SOLAS and Non-SOLAS ships
The rules surrounding carriage requirements for
ECDIS equipment have evolved considerably over
the last 25 years. The implementation path gradually
transitioned ECDIS equipment loaded with Electronic
Navigational Charts (ENCs) from being approved as
permitted replacement for paper charts in 2002 to
eventually becoming a mandatory system for almost
all vessels on international voyages in 2018.
The related rules were implemented using a
rolling timetable factoring in vessel size, type and age
to eventually make ECDIS mandatory to carry for all
vessels over 500 GT. This rolling implementation
schedule distinguishes between the ships which must
carry ECDIS and comply with all related provisions
and those who do not. Fundamentally when ECDIS is
being used to satisfy SOLAS carriage requirements it
must: be type approved, have an adequate backup in
place, be adequately maintained, remain compatible
with the latest applicable International Hydrographic
Organization (IHO) standards and use up to date
ENC data.
1.4 One SOLAS convention - two different user
The ECDIS system is without a doubt one of the most
significant advancements in marine navigation. The
efforts of countless professionals are paying off and
we are observing a well-established ecosystem with
global data coverage, well established international
standards, mature data distribution chains, and
sophisticated bridge systems all greatly contributing
to safety and operational efficiencies.
At the same time, outside the primary SOLAS
community there is a much larger non-SOLAS user
community of smaller, mainly recreational boat
operators which has considerably different
operational needs. This community also has
markedly different service level expectations.
Accustomed to an instant information delivery these
users expect to simply turn on a mobile app and start
navigating with real time data simply “being there”,
without having to go through a complex process of
ordering official ENCs, waiting for them to arrive,
manually uploading and updating them on a
certified piece of equipment - the steps professional
ECDIS users normally have to deal with.
2.1 NaAVIC
NaAVIC is a free and downloadable electronic
voyage application that goes beyond the traditional
Electronic Chart System (ECS) app where the data,
including the ENC information, does not physically
reside within the onboard device. Instead, all
navigation data is streamed from an up-to-date
database that exists in the cloud. The on-demand data
delivery model is not confined to conventional chart
data. Whilst it includes ENC-derived data as a base
layer, it is also designed to take additional data
layers. These layers can be user-selected according to
the user’s need to enhance the ECS display
capabilities. For example, data layers can include
raster satellite imagery, high-resolution bathymetry,
weather radar imagery, predicted tides and currents,
as well as real-time weather data streams and domain
and locale-specific information. All data is streamed
through an open source, open standards-based
Nautilus Cloud platform.
The app functions on both Android and iOS
devices, and offers a comprehensive range of
essential features needed to maintain safety and
situational awareness while making navigation easier
and more reliable. There is no downloading of data -
all data, including chart data, is streamed in real-time
from a fully maintained and up-to-date database. The
data comes from the Nautilus Cloud, a cloud-based
infrastructure specifically designed for marine data.
The technology is designed to provide the basis for
maintenance and distribution services for any marine
data supply. Nautilus Cloud adopts a ‘cloud-native’
approach as well as leveraging open standards and
open source components throughout. The result is a
powerful and flexible system with a much greater
degree of interoperability in its components. This
compatibility includes the emerging S-100
framework, harmonized metadata, raster datasets
and real-time sources. The NaAVIC ECS operates on
up-to-date information from data providers. This can
include government agencies looking to make
distribution and accessibility of their data more
efficient without compromising its integrity by
introducing third party distributors. Figure 1 outlines
the key features that NaAVIC offers.
Figure 1. NaAVIC ECS features.
2.2 The Nautilus Cloud Framework
The data powering the ECS is supplied by Nautilus
Cloud, a cloud-based platform for marine data,
designed for solutions and services within
government organizations, industry and consumers.
Nautilus Cloud is an enterprise-grade system which
is both flexible and has a much greater degree of
interoperability with pre-existing components and
multiple data sources. As such, Nautilus Cloud is
optimized for import, validation, and data
management, as well as commercial distribution of
marine geospatial data for government organizations,
the marine industry, and end consumers. Figure 2
illustrates the many additional ECS features that are
supported by the Nautilus Cloud framework.
Figure 2. Geospatial features supported by NaAVIC ECS.
2.3 Key benefits
One of the key features of Nautilus Cloud is the
expansion of data holdings into a much wider family
of related geospatial data products. It is designed to
handle the many forms of marine geospatial data
under the emerging IHO S-100 framework. The
modular design allows front-end applications to
access the spatial data feed on any platform, from
desktop and mobile platforms to OGC-compliant
web service clients and web map tile services for
onward consumption of data by other organizations.
The NaAVIC ECS app takes full advantage of
many advanced features provided by Nautilus Cloud
making it possible for charting agencies to distribute
pre-updated data in real-time. This includes
distribution of temporal services such as tides,
weather, currents and other oceanographic data. This
achieves a group of three important requirements for
the ECS: content, quality, and data updating.
2.4 Redundancy of Data delivery
NaAVIC addresses the concern of reliable internet
connection by providing a smart, user-controlled data
caching functionality. It is capable of automatically
caching data to ensure consistent availability. Users,
based on their environment, will be able to set the
app to auto-cache required data ahead of time for a
predefined area. Alternatively, they can interactively
define the area to cache before departure. Even for
users using the app in nearshore coastal areas where
modern data networks have coverage readily
available however, caching can fulfill an important
redundancy feature.
2.5 Key enablers
The Nautilus Cloud platform has the following key
A ’cloud-native’ approach where the technology is
built from components designed to be run solely
from cloud environments.
A strong integration between data distribution
and storage/management.
A system leveraging open source components as
its base technology and which utilizes open
standards exclusively building a low-cost system
which is flexible with a great degree of
2.6 Connecting the data producer and end user
The approach taken is a conscious attempt to connect
the user closely with the producer of nautical data.
This closer engagement between supplier and
consumer is a phenomena across the many domains
in the geospatial industry. Data holdings are ever
expanding and becoming more accessible, and under
a common framework, S-100 , which provides
unparalleled opportunities for compatibility and
interoperability between previously unrelated marine
geospatial domains.
This approach facilitates ’pluggable’ architecture
and allows for extensible, customizable data imports
into the system, future-proofing it for a wide variety
of organizational use cases. Additionally, a metadata
management sub-system provides functionality to
allow individual customers to easily generate
metadata records compliant with their individual
national metadata profiles.
2.7 Intelligent voyage visualization
NaAVIC and the Nautilus Cloud also aim to support
the next generation of Intelligent Visualization
technology – “the right information at the right time”
- adding a completely new dimension of
customization to traditional geospatial data
rendering engines. This will make data intuitively
useable for end users and, through web services, to
onward systems and derived applications. This
technology aims to solve the issue of properly
balancing the availability of a wide range of data
layers available but only selectively displaying those
of most relevance to the task at hand.
2.8 Sharing the Journey
We are seeing with land-based journeys and within
recreational activities as a whole that users want to
share. The desire to share individual experiences
comes with a desire to benefit from collective
experiences of like-minded people. This has
propelled social media to be the pre-eminent
Up until now, ECS catered to the person
controlling all aspects of the vessel, including its
navigation. By utilizing a cloud-based approach with
data streaming, NaAVIC ECS enables all members of
an expedition to more actively engage in the voyage
as well as sharing that voyage to fellow ’marine
friends’. It provides ways for everyone to have a
more enjoyable boating experience, providing an
easy way to monitor the route with the main
navigator, to see the basic boat information such as
location, speed and heading, and exchange
information about various points of interest with
All users get access to community features, which
include the feature to to post messages, share
pictures, locations and to record and share voyages.
Users can also add location sensitive notifications.
The app also enables crowdsourcing activities by
allowing users to use a set of pre-defined icons to
capture a items of interest to specific communities.
For example, marking new diving spot locations for
the diving user community is as easy as dropping a
marker and the platform will automatically share it
with all other users, a specific group. Users can also
keep all information private if they want to keep their
findings to themselves!
2.9 Flexible Business Model
Nautilus Cloud's commercial distribution interface
can assist organizations who need to sell data as part
of their operating model. By offering both free and
paid access to data, the system gives organizations
the ability to switch between free and cost-recovery
models as their demands dictate. It allows the
substitution of multiple disparate systems which may
be already in place, with a system at substantially
lower costs for implementation and support.
The system uses a highly standardized data
output interface and a comprehensive approach to
data integrity which is crucial in the modern marine
data environment. By providing open and efficient
access to marine data, the system facilitates social and
environmental value (e.g. providing easy
standardized access for data to be used for marine
pollution prevention, alternative energy production
and marine research).
NaAVIC is a free and downloadable mobile ECS that
represents a new approach where the electronic chart
data does not physically exist within the onboard
computer. The app attempts to thrust the sailing
experience several steps further with all the features
it offers its users. The system provides a flexible
business model by facilitating the ability to switch
between free and cost-recovery models of data
distribution as their requirements dictate.
While the NaAVIC app mainly targets NON-
SOLAS user community, it showcases many
advanced capabilities both the app and the
underlying Nautilus Cloud that could be very useful
for the SOLAS community as well. It is our goal to
see these innovations eventually transitioning into
both communities as we believe they would benefit
greatly vessels alike. Some of the innovations
described aim to inspire both communities to see that
the possibilities of streaming marine data real-time,
consolidating multiple data sources and providing
consistent data access to them is currently achievable.
These advances can be used to power the next
generation of ECDIS and ECS systems untimely
benefiting all mariners.
International Maritime Organization. Introduction to IMO.
(n.d.). Retrieved from
International Maritime Organization. International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974.
(n.d.). Retrieved from
International Hydrographic Organization. IHO
Publications. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Open Geospatial Consortium. OGC Standards. (n.d.).
Retrieved from https://www.opengeospatial.org/docs/is