The Navy’s leading map man has said the conversion of more than 400 navigational charts from paper to digital was the biggest challenge of his eight-year tenure.
Hydrographer of Australia Commodore Rod Nairn said the creation of a new electronic mapping service called AusENC had required a huge effort by a team of more than 130 Navy and civilian staff at the Australian Hydrographic Service in Wollongong.
Cmdr Nairn said about 450 paper charts had to be digitised ahead of a July deadline requiring the use of digital navigational charts.
With the help of local industry, including Innovation Campus-based firm L-3 Nautronix, those charts became about 900 digital maps, which are now available to all Australian seafarers.
Cmdr Nairn said the conversion process, which had to be pushed forward after an international authority shifted a deadline forward by several years, was the biggest challenge he had faced during his time as the nation’s lead hydrographer.
He said the new charts, which cover the waters around Australia, Papua New Guinea and parts of Antartica, would make sea travel even safer and result in fewer groundings.
The launch of AusENC was timed to coincide with this year’s World Hydrography Day.