The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization that was established in 1921 to support the safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment. IHO Special Publication 57 (IHO S-57) is the IHO Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data. It is the standard to be used for the exchange of digital hydrographic data between hydrographic offices (HOs), and for the distribution of hydrographic data to manufacturers, mariners and other data users (e.g., GIS). It was developed so that the transfer all forms of hydrographic data would take place in a consistent and uniform manner. To date, S-57 3.0/3.1 has been used almost exclusively for encoding Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) required for ECDIS. However, S-57 is intended to support all types of hydrographic data. In order to do so, S-57 Edition 3.1 needs to expand in order to accommodate new requirements. This “Primer” explains what is planned in regard to the next edition of IHO S-57 (Edition 4). In particular, it provides a brief description about process required to align with ISO geospatial standards and the benefits to be gained. Included is an explanation about the scope of activity of the TSMAD S-57 Edition 4 Sub-WG, and how others may contribute to the process.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

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