I am constantly amazed by the diversity of the innovative solutions that emerge every week from Iridium’s expanding ecosystem of service partners.

A case in point is an Iridium-enabled electronic chart provisioning service called ENCTrack, which Datema Delfzijl launched at the Nor-Shipping conference and trade show in Oslo.

A few words of explanation…

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a new regulation requiring all ocean-going ships to be equipped with an approved Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) over the next few years. ECDIS will ultimately replace traditional paper nautical charts with computerized digital charts. International hydrographic offices and private industry suppliers are responsible for supplying the digital cartography used by these systems under licensed service plans. Shipowners typically purchase licenses for regional portfolios of electronic charts covering all the waters they expect to sail in. This can be wasteful and expensive, since a ship normally only uses a fraction of the electronic charts in a given portfolio, and the shipowner pays for charts that are never, or seldom, used. When the ship sails into waters not covered by the licensed portfolio, the shipowner must buy a license for a new batch of charts.

This is where Datema comes in.

Datema developed the world’s first postpaid electronic cartography licensing and provisioning service that charges the shipowner only for the charts actually used. Datema’s “pay-as-you-sail” service records the ship’s movements accurately with a GPS tracking device.  The service sends reports at intervals via an Iridium short-burst data (SBD) link to Datema’s gateway server ashore. The tracking data permits Datema to generate invoices based on the duration of use and the charts actually used during the month. Datema estimates that shipowners can save up to 20 percent in licensing and chart acquisition costs with ENCTrack.

GTT Systems B.V., an Iridium value-added manufacturer and reseller, together with its sister company Leap Development B.V., developed the Iridium-based ship tracking device for Datema’s ENCTrack system.

This is a perfect example of how our partners leverage Iridium’s furthest reaching communication network.  And it’s a great example of reliable, low-latency SBD connections enabling new and exciting applications that address customer needs in ways we never could have imagined.

For more information on Datema, visit www.enctrack.com.