Mapping and Charting

Esri Nautical Solution

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Learn more about new production tools.

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Tim Kearns, Esri maritime deputy program manager, discusses how to enable your hydrographic office with enterprise GIS technology [MP3].

Industry Standards Help Streamline Nautical Data
Read about the development of new international nautical standards.

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General | Esri Nautical Solution

What does Esri Nautical Solution do?
Esri Nautical Solution provides a powerful, flexible, and efficient production environment to develop navigational products that meet hydrographic standards. Nautical Solution is a complete system that can ingest nautical data in a variety of formats, including the IHO S-57 standard; manage and edit features; and create navigational products either in an enterprise or a desktop GIS environment. At the cornerstone of the solution is Product Library, a powerful, integrated product management framework that creates, tracks, and updates navigational products in a logical, well-organized manner. A series of nautical-specific tools have been developed to address complex geometries, S-57 object characteristics, chart production needs and symbology, and international standards for exporting and publishing. It provides a single application interface, ArcMap, for all source compilation, product finishing, and publishing. Nautical Solution is scalable, utilizes the same suite of tools and processes for the desktop and the enterprise, and takes advantage of proven Esri technology that is used globally by production agencies.
Who uses Esri Nautical Solution?

Nautical Solution is used by

  • National hydrographic offices, institutions, and their contractors
  • Commercial chart producers
  • Naval commands
What products are supported by Esri Nautical Solution?

Nautical Solution can be used to produce and maintain

  • S-57 Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC)
  • Paper charts
  • Digital Nautical Charts (DNC)
  • Additional Military Layers (AML) v2.1
  • Inland ENC (IENC) with additional configuration
  • Other specialized chart products
Do I need to purchase other Esri software to run Esri Nautical Solution?
Yes. Nautical Solution operates directly with and dependently on ArcGIS for Desktop (ArcInfo license). Please refer to System Requirements for further information.
Are training courses available for Esri Nautical Solution?
Yes. Nautical Solution training courses are offered through Esri's Learning Center. We highly recommend that training be given to key staff who will be using these tools. Customized training is also available. Please visit Esri Training for further details.
Can I use Esri Nautical Solution with other ArcGIS extensions?
Yes. Nautical Solution integrates seamlessly with other ArcGIS extensions.
Can I install the current version of Esri Nautical Solution on UNIX?
No. Nautical Solution runs on ArcGIS for Desktop, which is not available for UNIX.
Can I use the current version of Esri Nautical Solution with an older version of ArcGIS?
No. To install and function correctly, the versions must match. For example, Nautical Solution 10 only works with ArcGIS 10.
Does Esri Nautical Solution work with Oracle?
Yes. Besides Oracle, the solution is supported on other databases such as SQL Server, Informix, DB2, and Postgres.
Can I use Esri Nautical Solution on my ship for fishing?
No. The solution is designed to produce nautical chart products for planning purposes. You would have to purchase some chart viewing technology/software to be used in conjunction with your GPS to navigate with products made from Esri software.

Technical Product Information | Esri Nautical Solution

What is Product Library?

Product Library is an integrated framework within ArcMap for creating, updating, and publishing products. It is configurable with user permissions and roles and centrally stores information about product data models, files, spatial references, and product versions.

See additional information: How does Nautical Solution manage products?.

What is NIS?
Nautical Information System (NIS) is the enterprise implementation of Nautical Solution for the production of navigational products. NIS includes a central database that contains all the feature geometry within a product-neutral nautical data model for updating or creating navigational products that are linked to NIS through Esri replication or created as a new product with each transactional update.
What is a central database repository?
A central database repository is a relational database management system (RDBMS)—whether versioned or not, enterprise or personal—that houses geospatial data. In Nautical Solution, the central database repository is the source of all validated data that is used for the creation of navigational products and updates that are transferred to them. An example is the NIS central database.
Does Esri Nautical Solution support EN and ER creation?
Yes. Nautical Solution supports ENC New Edition (EN) and ENC Revision (ER). An ER is an update to the base file (EN). Nautical Solution can create an EN baseline and provide many editions of updates to an S-57 cell. ENs and ERs can be produced from either the centralized database environment (enterprise) or the desktop environment.
Can Esri Nautical Solution export from the geodatabase to ENC with attribution compliance, file naming, and directory structure for ENs and ERs?
Users will be able to produce S-57-compliant New Edition, Update, Reissue, and Cancel files from the nautical geodatabase. This functionality has been thoroughly tested at Esri and customer locations. Nautical Solution can map S-57 objects and attributes stored on an S-57 file to the applicable feature class table and field stored within the nautical geodatabase.
Is Esri Nautical Solution customizable?

Yes. Nautical Solution is customizable in a variety of ways:

  • Symbology can be customized.
    • Symbology requirements are unique for each hydrographic office worldwide; therefore, Nautical Solution provides a baseline of INT1 symbology. Symbols are stored in a style file. From there, an agency can either use existing symbols or generate its own. Included in the style are cartographic representations, which are applied to charts via a geoprocessing tool and a visual specifications database. Both the style and the specification are not specific to one agency. They can be customized as needed by each agency to produce its proprietary style nautical charts.
  • Specifications are expandable.
    • The specification, along with a geoprocessing tool, assigns cartographic representations and calculated text fields based on rules. These SQL-based rules determine which feature is assigned and which representation is stored in the style file, as well as specific fields that will be used for labeling purposes. The specification that is included with the solution is expandable. Each agency can also create its own customized specification to correlate with its customized style to produce proprietary nautical charts.
  • The data model is extendable.
    • The nautical data model is S-57 object-based with logical groups derived from the IHO cartographic symbol categories. It is easily extendable to support additional features and products through data model wraps. These wraps allow nautical data model updates without compromising existing data and products.
  • Enterprise implementation is configurable with different approaches.
    • An example is Nautical Information System Database (NIS DB) implementation, whereby all features are stored in a product-neutral, seamless database. Selected point features, such as navigational aids, can be stored only once and represented on many products across multiple scale bands. Other features can be stored within scale bands and represented on both ENC and chart products simultaneously.
  • Workflow management is configurable to suit organization business needs.
    • ArcGIS Workflow Manager is used to track and manage database production workflows. It provides the ability to define tasks, set up production environments, manage geodatabase versioning, and track database changes at the feature level. Workflow Manager also provides tools for allocating resources and tracking the status and progress of jobs. Job types, workflows, reporting mechanisms, security, and database settings are all configurable with this application.
  • Product management is easier.
    • Product Library is used to organize products and associated map/chart documents. It can be configured to store and manage an organization's data from a variety of data sources. There is a customizable structure that can reflect how an agency chooses to manage and store navigational products.
    • For improved data quality management, the solution comes with a set of preconfigured S-58 and spatial validation checks—some done on the fly and others through ArcGIS Data Reviewer (formerly GIS Data Reviewer). In addition to these checks, you can create your own, store them, and distribute them for reuse.
Does Esri Nautical Solution support a desktop environment?
Yes. It is essentially the same as the enterprise production environment. The source data for navigational products is stored within the product geodatabase and all changes and edits are made there. The interface and toolsets are identical in the enterprise and desktop production environments. Furthermore, the desktop production environment can be migrated to the enterprise production environment with additional configuration. Product Library can also manage the desktop production environment. This type of deployment of Nautical Solution would be most appropriate for small production facilities, agencies maintaining less than a dozen nautical products, and special purpose charts.
How does Esri Nautical Solution manage products?
Product Library (described above) is an integrated part of Nautical Solution. This component manages both data and cartographic information related to products. It provides a way to organize and interact with the various parts of your products. Information is presented in a tree view to represent the hierarchical relationship between the different parts of your products.
How does Esri Nautical Solution manage workflows?
Organizations can use the standard job types available with the workflow component of Nautical Solution, or they can configure custom job types based on their business requirements. In addition, organizations can configure more in-depth job tasks with Task Assistant. This component aids in workflow management by providing you with a toolset to define a series of steps required to complete a task within ArcMap. Task Assistant helps standardize workflows within an organization and can be implemented by more experienced users to help guide novice users through complicated workflows.
How does Esri Nautical Solution manage quality control/quality assurance?
ArcGIS Data Reviewer is a quality control/quality assurance component integrated with Nautical Solution. This component allows you to conduct visual and automated quality review of data in support of database production. It is a set of tools that supports the visual review of geodatabase data quality. The tools can be used to identify where corrections, additions, and deletions must be made to spatial data and its attributes; analyze data in your geodatabase; and find possible anomalies that exist in your data.
How does Esri Nautical Solution deal with types of products (e.g., Harbor vs. Berthing charts) and the changes in scale?
The solution supports all six intended usage bands: Berthing, Harbor, Approach, Coastal, General, and Overview. The nautical enterprise system supports data of all intended usage bands within the same database. All features are coded with the compilation scale (attribute field name: CSCL) value of the source cell, so definition queries can be leveraged to view data of only one scale or extract data based on a scale of another database for finishing.
How does the Esri Nautical Solution handle soundings/bathymetry?

Esri teams with business partners to help refine end-to-end workflow for bathymetry. We are currently engaging in an integration effort to assist with a seamless transition of data into ArcGIS. Nautical Solution does not currently manage raw sounding data; it is assumed that the data coming from the hydrographic survey parties has been postprocessed prior to its arrival in the cartographic department.

Esri is actively engaged in research and development to expand capabilities for bathymetric data management, modeling, and product generation.

Does Esri Nautical Solution have the ability to import x,y,z data?
X,y,z data can be imported and used for putting the data into a grid. For bathymetric data, z-values can be inverted to take care of positive values. Custom projection can also be applied dynamically while converting this data.
How does Esri Nautical Solution deal with tidal/datum changes?
The solution provides an interface to manage horizontal and vertical datum dataset parameters. In addition, ArcGIS for Desktop allows you to change depth values associated with a vertical datum change through the use of the Calculate Field geoprocessing tool, which bases the calculation on a user-defined expression of the datum change.
What version of AML is supported (v1, v2, or v3)? How are the layers symbolized, and what is the file naming convention?
Nautical Solution supports AML at v2.1 for the six AML vector products; however, the AML data model can be configured to support v1.0 and v2.0. All AML features stored within the AML data model can be auto symbolized using Visual Specification Toolset (VST). With VST, you can build and use a symbology set that adheres to certain specifications (e.g., S-52 and MIL-PRF-89045). Nautical Solution has the Chart1 symbology standard preconfigured that a user can apply to S-57 data without any additional configuration. The solution supports the Exchange Set and file naming conventions as defined in sections A.1.1.5.2 and A.1.1.7, respectively, which can be found in all six vector product Annex documents.
Does Esri Nautical Solution support S-100?

The S-100 standard is still in the approval stages by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Esri is on the standard working committee (TSMAD) and is keenly aware of the changes that will come as a result of S-100.

Once the standard is approved by IHO, Esri will commence development to support it.

Does Esri Nautical Solution include symbology and positioning compliance with M4 and INT1, INT2, and INT3?
Symbology and grids are based on INT1 and INT2. The positioning of the symbols (the anchor point) varies based on the symbol. INT3 is a comprehensive collection of objects over a fictitious area that is published by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) in the form of a .000 file or series of .000 files.
Does the solution create charts that can be tailored for specific customers?
Yes. Advanced customizable options are available to easily tailor the solution for unique and specific requirements for charting.

See additional information: Is Esri Nautical Solution customizable?
Can chart notes be related to a specific spatial reference and therefore added to all charts for that region (e.g., S-100/S-101—Information Objects—relate to numerous geofeatures)? Furthermore, can this be updated automatically?
You can use graphic table elements to create notes. The information from those notes can be pulled from a data source. If that data source is updated, the notes will be updated. Notes that have already been placed on charts will need to be replaced with the updated versions.

Nautical Terminology | Esri Nautical Solution

What is a nautical chart?
A nautical chart is a graphic representation of a maritime area and adjacent coastal regions. It is an essential tool for marine navigation as many countries require vessels, especially commercial ships, to carry them. Nautical charts can be printed on paper or computerized Electronic Navigational Charts.
What is the difference between a chart and a map?

A map is a graphic representation of an area depicting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, themes, and preestablished routes (roads, freeways, railroads, footpaths, bike paths, etc.).

A chart is used to plot a course for navigation. It is a graphic representation of tabular data showing the relationship between two or more variable quantities, usually measured along two perpendicular axes. Charts may be in print or digital form. A chart may show natural and man-made hazards, navigational aids, and recommended routes.

What is ENC?
ENC stands for Electronic Navigational Chart—a digital product that acts as a road map for vessels, allowing mariners to have real-time navigation capability through an onboard computer interface called an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS).
What version of ENC does Esri Nautical Solution support?
The solution supports the latest version of ENC available, 2.0. This includes the format S-57 3.1 and S-57 3.1.1. The ENC data model supports all the S-57 objects and is available at all six scales: Berthing, Harbor, Approach, Coastal, General, and Overview.
What is IENC?
Inland Electronic Navigation Charts (IENC) are digital navigational charts in vector format that provide river transportation information similar to ENCs.
What is DNC?
A Digital Nautical Chart (DNC) essentially does the same thing as ENC. It is another specification that is proprietary to the United States military. DNCs are produced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). DNC data is stored in Vector Product Format (VPF) as an unclassified vector-based digital database containing significant features essential for safe marine navigation. It is based on a tiled data structure and consists of four navigational purpose scales: Harbor, Approach, Coastal, and General.
What are Additional Military Layers (AML)?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officially defines Additional Military Layers (AML) as a unified range of digital geospatial data products designed to satisfy the totality of NATO nonnavigational maritime defense requirements.

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