The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has said it intends to develop options for the withdrawal from global paper chart production by late 2026 to increase focus on its digital navigation products and services.
Plans to withdraw the UKHO’s portfolio of ADMIRALTY Standard Nautical Charts (SNCs) and Thematic Charts are in response to more marine, naval and leisure users primarily using digital products and services for navigation. The ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions digital navigation portfolio can be updated in near real-time, greatly enhancing safety of life at sea (SOLAS).
The phased withdrawal of paper charts from production will take place over a number of years. The UKHO anticipates this will be concluded in late 2026.
The UKHO said that, in parallel, it will develop viable, official digital alternatives for sectors still using paper chart products. This will be a carefully managed process, conducted in close liaison with all customers and stakeholders, including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) as well as other regulatory bodies, hydrographic offices, industry partners and distributors.
The move to digital navigation solutions has been accompanied by a rapid decline in demand for paper charts, driven by the SOLAS-mandated transition to ECDIS and the wider benefits of digital solutions, including the next generation of navigation services, UKHO chief executive Peter Sparkes explained.
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