The Ultimate Guide to S-100 Data and Products

After decades of using S-57 data for navigation, a new generation of digital products and services promises to empower hydrographic, maritime and GIS communities with data that pushes traditional hydrography boundaries.

The S-100 is a new standard for exchanging digital hydrographic data, offering hydrographic and maritime communities a range of new digital products and services. The S-100 will play a critical role in the digitalisation of the hydrographic data world, functioning as a platform on which a range of new products and applications can be built for various maritime end-user needs.

The world of digital hydrographic data and S-100 data and products is complex and extensive. In this guide, we help you understand the ins and outs of the new S-100 standard.






1. What is the S-100 Standard?

The S-100 is a new and more versatile standard for exchanging digital hydrographic data. Developed by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the S-100 is a brand-new standard that will replace existing standards with a new framework that enables the development of next-gen ENCs and other valuable digital products.

Contrary to previous standards, the S-100 will support a wider variety of hydrographic data sources, products and users. It will incorporate requirements for compiling and visualising ENC data and lay the foundation for a range of new applications that go beyond the domain of traditional hydrography.

The S-100 standard defines the data model and building blocks which are being used by other S-100 product specifications for a specific usage domain. The S-100 standards are interoperable since they are based on a common data model. The development of the IMO E-navigation concept will be based upon the S-100 data model.






2. Various S-100 Datasets and Products

As the S-100 standard develops, a new generation of ENC products and other digital products is increasingly becoming available for hydrographic and maritime communities and the modern navigator.

A range of new datasets and products will become available for the SOLAS market in the coming years, providing standardised and public information to help navigators better utilise vessel loading capacity, fuel usage, and navigational room for manoeuvre.

Some of the most relevant S-100 products, which all have their dedicated S-1xx number, are as follows:

  • S-101: Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC)
  • S-102: Bathymetric Surface
  • S-104: Water Level Information for Surface Navigation
  • S-111: Surface Currents
  • S-122: Marine Protected Areas
  • S-123: Marine Radio Services
  • S-124: Navigational Warnings
  • S-128: Catalogue of Nautical Products
  • S-129: Under Keel Clearance Management

Of these, the S-101, S-102, S-104 and S-111 datasets are expected to constitute the most foundational products of a future S-100 ECDIS. Together, they will help navigators utilise navigable waters better than currently possible with an S-57-based ECDIS.

3. Next-Gen Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs): From S-57 to S-101

Today, most ENCs are based on the S-57 standard, which will become outdated and unable to accommodate the needs and requirements of the coming digital transformation of the maritime industry. S-57 suffers from being a frozen standard with strict maintenance regimes and an inability to support future needs, such as complex time-varying information and gridded bathymetry.

The S-101 is the new product specification for ENC data based on the fundamental S-100 framework. It is expected to constitute one of the most foundational products of a future S-100 based ECDIS providing the base chart layer. When the S-100 standard is finalised and ready to be used, the S-101 will ultimately replace the S-57 based ENCs as the official chart data for ECDIS.

Although S-101 retains most of the S-57 features, it improves on existing elements, adds new features and attributes, creates a more flexible framework and includes certain new functionalities currently unavailable in the S-57.

4. The S-100 Decade: Product Specifications Developments and Timeline

After the first initial draft of the S-100 standard was released in 2010, we are finally entering what has been aptly named by the IHO as the S-100 decade. As we progress through the 2020s, S-100 will become the standard for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) products.

Although the full-scale implementation of S-100 products depends on the timely development of various specifications and frameworks for type-approved ECDIS, it is reasonable to expect that we will see several S-100 products being produced in the coming years.






5. S-100 Benefits

The new S-100 standard makes maritime voyages safer, faster and more fuel-efficient by leveraging digital technologies to enhance navigation capabilities by developing next-generation ENC products and other hydrographic-related digital sources and products.

Some of the most important benefits of the new S-100 standard are the following:

Interoperability advantages:

S-100 will support a wider variety of hydrographic data sources and products and facilitate greater interoperability between these navigational products in the end-user system. The ECDIS operator will be able to access multiple products from his system. The interoperability possibilities will create a wide range of new user functionalities supporting what-if analyses.

Autonomous navigation:

Sensor technology, connectivity at sea, and advanced data analysis software create new opportunities for developing autonomous and remotely controlled ships and vessels. Developing new data standards for navigational-significant information is a critical step towards realising the benefits of autonomous navigation.

Service and usage efficiency:

The S-101 will significantly improve user experience. It enables more advanced geographical queries, ensures greater flexibility in updating mechanisms and improves the display of ENCs with more content and information than the existing S-57 standard.

Easier development and maintenance:

Compared to the current S-57 standard, the S-100 standard includes better mechanisms for rapid updates, making it easier to include updated information and further data model development.

New capabilities and functionalities:

One of the major benefits of the S-101 is the ability to introduce new capabilities and functionalities that are not available in the S-57, such as machine-readable catalogues, portrayal changes, updated information and cartographic features.

More formats and data carriers:

S-100 supports more formats, such as the ISO 8211, grid formats and GML formats, which adds flexibility to the various data production processes.

6. S-100 Use Cases for Navigation

The S-100 standard is recognised as the fundamental standard for a joint maritime data structure for e-navigation by standardising maritime data sources and supporting the development of hydrographic-related digital sources and products. As e-navigation becomes more widespread, the amount of maritime data that allow mariners to navigate safer and more efficiently increases rapidly. S-100 data help mariners integrate and visualise these datasets easily in their navigation systems.

For example, in a ground-breaking and highly complex operation for the oil and gas industry, the ECC contributed to the safe and efficient port approach of Sleipnir into the Haugesund harbour, located in the southern part of Norway. By accessing up-to-date, detailed and high-resolution S-102 bathymetric data, visualised in 3D format, Sleipnir – despite its colossal size – successfully navigated even the tightest of spaces into the Haugesund port and picked up and transported the riser module out to the Snorre platform.







7. S-100 Use Cases for Non-Navigation

Although the S-100 framework is recognized as the fundamental standard for a joint maritime data structure for e-navigation, S-100 is not limited to navigational purposes. The S-100 framework also consists of standards designed for different purposes, making the framework relevant for a wide variety of hydrographic, maritime and GIS communities.

S-100 data can generate significant value not only for navigation but for the maritime industry as a whole.

Improve port operations:

Detailed hydrographic data may become particularly relevant for shipping, port and docking offices, helping to accommodate efficient, safe and flexible shipping traffic in and out of ports. S-102 data, in particular, may help increase the safety of anchoring operations, improve docking and fender usage, improve borrow pit calculations and reduce port traffic density.

Improve development projects in coastal areas:

S-100 data may also generate considerable value for public administration offices by helping local and regional authorities better plan various development projects in coastal areas. For instance, S-101 data may be used to overview relevant infrastructure of subsea cables and pipelines. Furthermore, S-102 data may be used to chart marine mineral resources and other subseafloor conditions.

Improve placement of fish farms in the aquaculture industry:

High-resolution hydrographic data may also become important for the aquaculture industry, promising to reduce financial losses, help identify optimal positioning of new fish farms and reduce application process lead times for new on-sea infrastructure. The new S-100 standard, particularly the S-102 and S-111 datasets, may help the industry visualize underwater ocean floors and surface currents, respectively, and may be used to calculate the optimal position of on-sea fish farms.

8. Where and How to Access S-100 Data

With S-100 gaining a foothold in the maritime industry and becoming ever more required by end-users, ENC service providers will follow suit. Today, the ENC service provider PRIMAR is quickly adapting to the S-100 decade, offering the infrastructure, tools and services necessary to leverage the opportunities of S-100 products and datasets. Commercial S-100 products are already available in the PRIMAR service, and the coverage and range of products are increasing.

The service is uniquely equipped to accommodate the coming S-100 decade through the following functionality:

PRIMAR’s flexible infrastructure offers new S-100 products as soon as they become available, providing end-users with the latest S-100 data quickly and efficiently.

PRIMAR reduces the time from when hydrographic offices produce S-100 data to it being made available for end-users. As the latest and best data is collected continuously, PRIMAR pushes the data out to pilots and other end-users via a subscription service in a matter of hours, not days and weeks.

PRIMAR’s user-friendly online self-service portal enables end-users to download all updates relevant to their needs quickly.

While transitioning to S-101, PRIMAR will ensure that current S-57-based ENCs are still available for everyone who needs them.

PRIMAR has prepared a test dataset for S-1xx data available for anyone interested in investigating its opportunities.

Free Access:  S-1xx Test Data and Connection Setup

9. What you need to utilise and test S-100 products

Users of S-100 datasets and products can be categorised in navigational and non-navigational usage domains.

Navigational users will often have a dedicated system used for monitoring, planning and navigational use at sea. Such navigation systems can either be type approved in accordance with IMO ECDIS Performance Standard or used as an aid to navigation. It is important that in new procurements of navigation systems there is a requirement to support the S-101 standard and a commitment from the manufacturer to support standard upgrades and other S-100 products of interest by the user.

Non-navigational users have a wider range of opportunities for accessing and using S-100 based products and datasets. They can either acquire a dedicated system with functionality to directly import S-100 datasets into their system, or they can use web based services to connect online to a service provider and view the datasets graphically and perform spatial queries on the datasets. The second option is a quick and low-cost adaptation and use of the S-100 products.

10. S-100 Training Courses

Transitioning to the new S-100 paradigm is complex. To help ease the transition, PRIMAR offers a collection of courses to its member states, providing training in the S-100 and S-101 standards. The S-100 course bundle consists of six modules covering critical topics in the new S-100 paradigm. Several of the courses include links to free software being used in the IHO standardisation development, which you can use to complete practical training exercises with video solutions to improve your learning.

Module 1 – S-100

A general introduction and overview of the S-100 standard framework.

Module 2 – S-100 IHO Registry

A general introduction to the IHO Geospatial Information Registry.

Module 3 – S-101 General:

A detailed introduction to the future ENC framework, the S-101 ENC product specification. Presentations are accompanied by Q&A sessions and hands-on practical training exercises.

Module 4 – S-101 Data Quality:

A detailed introduction to the S-101 data quality aspects, focusing on bathymetric data quality.

Module 5 – S-101 Conversion and Challenges:

A course focusing on conversion from S-57 to S-101 and describing several specific conversion challenges.

Module 6 – S-100 Data Protection:

Understand IHO Data Protection and how it can be used to secure your products and services. The course focuses on S-100 but also includes examples from S-63.







Contact us about S-100 services

The S-100 era is slowly emerging on the horizon, and ECC is here to help you harvest its opportunities. Forward-thinking distributors, value-added resellers and end-users wishing to have a strong position in the future e-navigation business should take action today.

Feel free to contact us today for more information on how we can help you get started with S-100. Fill out the form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.