In an initiative to deliver the benefits of digital solutions to users of paper navigational charts, the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has introduced Quick Response (QR) codes to its portfolio of Standard Nautical Charts.
All newly printed versions of 3,371 Standard Nautical Charts and Mariners’ Routing Guides, including Print-On-Demand charts, now feature a unique QR code. By scanning the QR code, the user will be taken directly to the relevant page for the scanned chart on the UKHO’s searchable Notes to Mariners database, known as NM Websearch, where they will be provided with instant access on their smart phone or tablet to chart status information. This is a valuable chart management tool that will help to deliver the latest navigational safety information at the touch of a button.
Jason Scholey, Senior Product Manager – Charts for UKHO, said: “With the introduction of QR codes to the vast majority of our Standard Nautical Charts, we have been able to bring the paper and digital worlds together for the benefit of our customers. By scanning the QR code on their paper chart, they can instantly access online data for that chart. For a shipping company, this is an invaluable means of checking how up-to-date a chart is before sending it on to a ship, as well as making it quicker and easier for a second officer to check the status of a chart.
“The QR code will also help from a compliance perspective by allowing Port State Control inspectors to scan the chart when they go on-board a vessel, in order to see how up-to-date it is. This innovation uses new technology to add further value to the trusted Admiralty chart by making customers lives easier and by making an important contribution to navigational safety.”
A QR code is a two-dimensional bar code with a higher storage capacity than a traditional bar code. This allows it to be used for a variety of purposes, including the storage of website URLs that can be scanned, read and directly accessed on a smart phone or tablet, using widely available QR code reader applications. The UKHO will continue to add QR codes to its remaining Standard Nautical Charts and also plans to introduce QR codes to its Mariners’ Routing Guides.