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Taiwan Electronic Navigational Chart Center
Harbor & Marine Technology Center I.O.T., M.O.T.C.   2011/09/01

With the vast development in information and communications technologies, the maritime world has been revolutionized in many ways in the past few decades. Among the most prominent advancements are the widespread use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and DGPS services for automatic precise positioning, Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) and Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) for information integration and decision support, and Automatic Identification System (AIS) for ship-shore and ship-ship information exchange. A full coverage, well maintained official ENC database is the most fundamental requirement for the effective use of these technologies to facilitate safe and efficient navigation as well as better maritime management. In recent years, the idea of building and interconnecting Marine Electronic Highways (MEHs) based on these modern maritime technologies is becoming realized in several countries and regions worldwide. To be connected to such a global system, it is urgent to speed up the implementation of ENC database and maritime information services for Taiwan waters.

The effort in producing official ENCs for Taiwan Waters started in 1997, when the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC) initiated a five-year project (1997-2001), entitled “Maritime Management in Taiwan – Establishment of Electronic Chart database and Navigational Aids System”. There were three subprojects, namely the production of S57 ENC database, establishment of ENC updating service and the maritime-DGPS service in Taiwan. National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) and Master Mariner’s Association of the Republic of China (MMAROC) took charge of the planning and trial of both ENC production /updating and DGPS service. Two cells of S57 ENC were produced and a DGPS site with integrity monitor was setup in NTOU on trial basis. Chinese Navy Hydrographic and Oceanographic Bureau (CNHOB) joined the project in 1998, and produced 7 cells of S57 ENC before the end of the five-year project. Sufficient technical foundation was built up in that project. However, none of the produced cells were officially released to the public and the production speed was considered rather slow, mainly due to the institutional restrictions. Therefore, MOTC decided to have the Harbor and Marine Technology Center of the Institute of Transportation, an affiliate to MOTC, take over the work.

After several years of coordination and preparation, another four-year project was initiated in 2005, as a continuation of the previous one. This project is targeted to establishing an operational infrastructure for full ENC coverage and maritime safety information services for Taiwan waters, to fulfill the obligations to the international society and to facilitate the management of our ocean.

In 2005, an internet-based ENC information collection and management system was implemented for major ENC source providers to participate in ENC production and updating. Software required for implementing the IHO data protection scheme (S-63) was also developed. By the end of 2006, at least 36 cells of S57 ENC will be produced. The produced ENC cells will be released to both domestic and international users in the near future.

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