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The Story: Electronic sea charts

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As with so much else in modern society, the sea chart is now electronic. Up until 2000, sea charts were printed on paper, but since then the electronic format has taken over. Now trade ships, fishing boats and even the smallest of vessels almost anywhere in the world, are equipped with electronic sea charts instead of the old-fashioned printed sea charts. Printed sea charts had otherwise been used for hundreds of years by the shipping industry.

Electronic sea charts have many advantages, but there are also challenges. For example, if the representation of colours on the data monitor degrades the colour nuances of the map being displayed on the monitor, there is a risk that the map will be read incorrectly by the navigator and the ship could end up running aground. We all know that pictures on a TV screen can become distorted or disappear, depending on the way the appliance has been set up. This cannot be allowed to happen with electronic sea charts.

The professional market for monitors for electronic sea charts, known as Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) monitors, is today very much a Scandinavian discipline, goes from strength to strength around the world. It all started shortly before 2000, when Norwegian Hatteland made the first monitors for the field, based on old-fashioned TV picture tube monitors, but developments really took off in 2006, when flatscreen technology began to dominate the market. In the meantime the requirements for representation of colours and e.g. flicker are now much greater than they were with the traditional monitors, and this is where the Scandinavian suppliers of solutions have made their breakthrough with their skilled efforts. DELTA has been part of the process, and together with the leading companies in the field, it has developed a test strategy, so it can be ensured that the monitors and systems for use in ships have optimal quality – and above all, extreme reliability.

In addition to a number of light engineering test measurements, DELTA also carries out many other tests on the systems to ensure that they can deal with the tough working environment and do not fail, e.g. because of electronic noise on the ship.

Today, DELTA is the leader in the field of “verification of electronic sea charts”, helping to ensure that the shipping industry can sail safety in the future. In other words, our tests are essential for preventing catastrophes in navigation.

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