Last month, dsnm were invited to the UK Hydrographic Office to discuss and learn more, about paper charting and the forthcoming move to a digital charting future.
As you may have read in our previous blog, the UKHO will be withdrawing all paper charting by the end of 2026. This has since been updated to a proposed date of 2030. This news means a complete move to Electronic Navigational Charts is required.

We visited the UKHO to meet with different staff members and teams, to catch up on the latest and future developments.

The UKHO Visit

During our time at the UKHO, we had the honour of meeting face-to-face with Chief Executive, Peter Sparkes, as well as several members of the senior leadership team.

They outlined that the decrease in paper navigation, along with the increase in the use of ECDIS, highlighted the need to address the situation and demonstrates the clear business logic behind the decision. In just the last 10 years, the use of paper charting has decreased at a rate of 17% a year, with 84% of vessels now opting for digital charting.

Moving away from paper charting also has an economical advantage for the industry, with a huge reduction in paper use, as well as lowering the carbon footprint of companies shipping the charts worldwide.

Over the next five years we will see a revolution in cartography and the improvements in coverage thanks to content created by the hydrographic offices around the world, crowdsourcing and the digital age. There will also be advances in the method and speed in which data is delivered from the UKHO to the navigator onboard.

How do dsnm intend to help?

dsnm are working closely with the UKHO to ensure a smooth transition from paper to digital.

Our digital navigation software, Compass, is constantly being evolved to become a more comprehensive, interconnected data delivery system. In line with the decisions of the UKHO, we are accelerating developments to the Compass hub to increase ECDIS support as well as aiding in the transitioning to ECDIS.

Head of digital development, Stuart Denham-Harding, is now an integral part of the UKHO working groups on the subject. With Stuart working so closely with the UKHO, we have the opportunity to use our, and our client’s, industry knowledge to assist with the digital process.

Another way we are helping to move the process forward is by providing bespoke retrofit installations via our partner company, Navigatx. With the combined experience of dsnm and Navigatx, the installation of new systems can be stress free.

With more and more vessels opting for digital charting over paper, coupled with our Compass hub and dedicated digital support team, we’re fully equipped with the utilities and the expertise to assist any superyacht looking to undergo this change quickly and efficiently.

Our takeaway…

David Store (CEO)

“The UKHO have a clear vision and drive to make all future charting digital. By forming this close relationship, we are now in an excellent position to assist in the best way possible”

Martin Amy (Technical Director)

“dsnm are excited to be working with the UKHO and industry partners in this new chapter of navigation, developing innovative products and services for the mariner”

Stuart Denham-Harding (Digital Development Manager)

“Having the opportunity to visit the UKHO is always an honour.

Our time spent with UKHO product teams and decision makers allow dsnm as a company to be the eyes, ears and voice of the superyacht community. Face to face meetings with UKHO teams provide a great platform to discuss real world observations & concerns and deliver the valuable feedback we receive from our globally cruising yacht crews.”

Buster Brown (Yacht Manager)

“The UKHO, in their impressive new state of the art offices, have taken the bull by the horns to lead with the staged withdrawal of their worldwide paper chart coverage, meaning the transition to a safer way of navigating digitally will come sooner and benefit the maritime industry in the years to come.

Exciting times are ahead at the UKHO in the coming years with the new S.100 ‘Universal Hydrographic Data Model’ ENCs to be available, this will give bridge teams more layers of data to plan and execute voyages safely, which is something a paper chart could never provide!”


After our visit to the UKHO, we joined industry colleagues at the Chart and Nautical Instrument Trade Association annual general meeting. This gave us an opportunity to further discuss the paper chart withdrawal program along with the opportunities and difficulties it poses to the industry.

With this supplementary knowledge we can plan ahead and continue carrying out our duties whilst maintaining our excellent customer service to our clients with which we pride ourselves in.

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