The primary goal for the next edition of S-57 (Edition 4) is to support a greater variety of hydrographic-related digital data sources, products, and customers. This includes matrix and raster data, 3-D and time-varying data (x, y, z, and time), and new applications that go beyond the scope of traditional hydrography (e.g., high-density bathymetry, seafloor classification, marine GIS). It will also enable the use of web-based services for data discovery, browsing, query, analysis, and transfer. S-57 Edition 4.0 will not be an incremental revision of Edition 3.1. Edition 4 will be a new standard that includes both additional content and a new data exchange format. Due to the world-wide prominence of ISO standards, IHO S-57 will conform to the “ISO way” of standards development. However, alignment with the ISO 19100 series of geographic standards will require a re-structuring of S-57 Edition 4. More specifically, this requires a new framework, and a new (or revised) set of terms used to describe the components of S-57 Edition 4.0. The present intention is to release Edition 4.0 in late 2006. Edition 3.1 will continue to be valid for many years to come -- even after Edition 4.0 has been released. Since most ECDIS equipment use ENC data conforming to the ENC Product Specification contained in S-57 Edition 3.1, Hydrographic Offices should continue to produce Edition 3.1 ENC data in order to continue to improve world-wide ENC coverage. Current plans are to release a new ENC Product Specification approximately one year after publication of S-57 Edition 4.0.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

U.S. Hydrographic Conference

Conference Date

Mar 29 - Mar 31, 2005

Publisher Place

San Diego, CA, USA


Hydrographic Society of America

Document Type

Conference Proceeding