In order to make the S-102 data product available for sale directly or via a network, catalogue services need to be supported. The importance of this is to highlight where a data producer has S-102 data coverage, product metadata and also provides an easy way for the end user / supplier to purchase the data.
The expectation internationally is that already established RENCs (Regional Electronic Navigational Chart Coordinating Centre) will take the responsibility for establishing service related models for sales and distribution of the new S-102 product.
Several considerations need to be taken into account when choosing an S-102 product:
- The user needs to know the quality of the data i.e. resolution
- Usage areas i.e. navigation planning, suitable anchorage, mine hunting
- Purchase options, subscription types, update frequency
- Product type; S-102 files, encrypted, unencrypted, subsets, Web Map Service
- Customisation vs “off the shelf” areas, i.e. pre-defined subsets for specific use or allow OEMs the option to customise functionality to extract specific data-subsets (ECS / ECDIS / PPU / other).
Although navigation was the obvious use, it has quickly became apparent that the S-102 product will have significant value in the planning phases of maritime operations, therefore opening up a much wider audience than first anticipated.
The outcome of this in-sight has shown us the importance of support for WMS in a catalogue service, it also highlights the possible requirement of extracting information such as elevation tiles, height map and depth curves.
Depending on the data volume / needs / end user system, it may also be necessary for users to download small subsets of their purchased S-102 product.
The choices eventually selected for distribution, must also be mirrored and customised to the catalogue service. Distribution solutions are discussed further in the distribution site.
An S-102 prototype of the catalogue service was developed during the project. Dialogue is also underway with several data producers on creating a good business model which will make it easier for users to purchase products on equal terms across borders. Although producing the prototype proved time consuming, it will allow the producers to visualise delivery of the product and speed up the task of implementing a good business model.
A web catalogue for S-57 / S-63 was launched in PRIMAR when the project started, we decided to use the catalogue further to investigate the possibilities of customising S-102 into the existing catalogue. Currently, a simple approach has been taken to identify the opportunities this could provide, and more importantly, to start evaluating how to support the S-102 product in future catalogue services. We have already identified the need for some restructuring to the service to meet the needs of S-102 as well as several of the other new products from the IHO and S-100 family.
It will be important to see which products are available in which areas to enable the purchase of ENC and S-102 mm together. Users must be confident in the products they buy (as discussed in the “Quality” menu) and is classed as an important point. It must also be transparent in the catalogue service which metadata is valid for each of the products.