News > Free Baltic Ice Charts for ECDIS

Free Baltic Ice Charts for ECDIS

In order to promote the use of ice information on ships, specially on ECDIS within the framework of e-Navigation, the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH), Germany, will start the operational production of freely available ice charts of the Baltic in formats suitable for ECDIS in the winter season 2012/2013.


Within the international collaboration of the ice services (IICWG, ETSI) the BSH hopes that in the course of next year similar products will also be available for other regions of the world.


For the security of marine shipping it would be advantageous to make it possible to display these charts on most ECDIS, and in the near future also your customer could have the need to incorporate the ice charts into their ECDIS. You could help tbe BSH on this goal in two ways:


1) Try to incorporate the S-57 test data the BSH is making available in your ECDIS products and tell us about your experiences.

2) Work with BSH and JCOMM Expert Team on Sea Ice (ETSI) in the development of an IHO S-100 compliant ice product specification    


The test ice charts are based on IHO S-57 Standard and are available at The production process allows generating of two kinds of ice data:

1) Additional Military Layers (ESB 2.1)  and 2) Ice Marine Information Overlays Both are vector data based on IHO S-57 Standard, information and test data are found in the respective sub-folders AML, respective IceMIO. As at the moment the BSH can visualise the IceMIO only with Caris software (Caris S-57 Composer or with free viewer Caris Easy View), the BSH included also the needed additional files.


BSH’s own first very rough draft for an  IHO S-100 compliant ice product specification can be found in the sub-folder S-100 ICE. The organisation currently is working steadily on this draft and hopes to have a more complete version ready in August, thus it can also be discussed on the IHO ECDIS Stakeholders Forum in September, as well as at the IICWG Meeting in October. 


For further questions or to inform the BSH about your ideas and needs regarding ice information in ECDIS you are most welcome to contact them:

Alexander Benke:  +49 381 4563-655

Dr. Jürgen Holfort:     +49 381 4563-782

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Supplier: Bundesamt für Seeschiffahrt & Hydrographie (BSH) (Hamburg Office)

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