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Norwegian charts secure international waters

Old and scruffy maps are now being replaced with electronic chart services as electronic navigational chart systems have proved to be safer and more precise.

Norway is an old shipping nation and holds valuable maritime knowledge, and today Norway is one of the world’s top providers of modern electronic navigational charts (ENC). In 2006, more than 85% of the Norwegian coastline was mapped out in electronic charts. The goal is to develop ENCs that cover all Norwegian waters by 2008.

International cooperation
The Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority has in collaboration with 11 nations established an official ENC service through Primar Stavanger. Thirty-seven countries have already made agreements with the contractor on distributing ENCs over their waters. Currently there are about 2000 vessels that subscribe to Primar Stavanger’s chart service.

Increased safety
ENCs increase the safety of international shipping. Research conducted by the DNV (Det norske veritas), which is responsible for inspecting Norwegian merchant vessels, illustrates that ENCs reduce the chance for a ship to hit ground by 40 per cent.

Traditional maps are based on imprecise measures, where some were done more than 100 years ago. Records on both positions and depth could vary 400 meters between the data given in the map and the actual conditions, according to the Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority.

Photo: Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority

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Vessel at sea outside Tromsø, Norway.Photo: Benedicte Tresselt Koren/ MFA Norway

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