Navigating the North Sea

Incomplete, inconsistent, and out-of-date maritime information is a leading factor in marine casualties, environmental damage, ship detainments, and fines. Globally, the need to improve the quality and consistency of carriage-required maritime information has driven concerted efforts at national and international levels. Noteworthy are the efforts of the IHO on S-100 standards to enhance hydrographic information and integrate it with other forms of required maritime information. High quality, interoperable data requires standards, but standards must be tempered to fit the needs of mariners and the marine environment.

The Navigating the North Sea Work Package directly served the INSPIRE objectives by demonstrating innovative methods for converting the work of North Sea hydrographic offices and the IHO into practical results.

The tasks of the Navigating the North Sea Work Package was to provide ground-breaking opportunities for hydrographic offices, coastal authorities, industry, and mariners to participate first hand in this work, and not only contribute to improved information services in the North Sea region, but also contribute the practical feedback on standards that the IHO has requested.

The Work Package developed criteria, tools, and processes to support harmonization of maritime information, and tested and demonstrated the effectiveness of transnationally harmonised maritime information utilized in services for mariners, port and coastal authorities, and hydrographic offices. The demonstrations, analysis, and reporting developed in this work package provided a springboard for public and private sector cooperation to build a new generation of innovative solutions.

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