The Nautical Chart of the Future



1) Goal:

Using open data and free software only, prototype a cartographic production chain. Test your production chain on 1 of the 3 areas of interest (among the proposed sites). Publish your map and present your methodology. 

2) Who can participate?

The competition is international and is open to university and college students (Undergraduate, Master, PhD). A team must be composed of 2 to 4 students.

The best ideas often come from where they are not expected. We therefore encourage the formation of multidisciplinary teams (bonus points, see section 5) Evaluation criteria) but do not require it.

To participate, you must register your team before 29 April 2024 via the following link: You must provide the names and affiliations of the team members.

3) Timetable:

22 April 2024: announcement of the “Speed Mapping Challenge – The Nautical Chart of the Future” and opening of registration

23 April 2024: publication of guidelines/rules

28 April 2024: announcement of mentors

29 April 2024: the official start of the competition

3 May 2024: registration closes (Deadline extended!)

13 May 2024: competition closes and deliverables sent to the evaluation committee

20 May 2024: announcement of the 3 winning teams

Week of May 27, 2024: Canadian Hydrographic Conference 2024 – presentations of the 3 winning solutions. The 3 winning teams are invited to present, in person or remotely, their solutions at CHC-2024.

4) Deliverables:

You will have to produce 1 navigation chart according to the expected specifications (see section 9) Chart specifications). You will have to present your methodology (the format is up to the participants – report, presentation, video, etc.) in order to explain the functions of your cartographic production chain. 

You must submit your deliverables (1 chart + methodology) to the evaluation committee before 13 May 2024, by sending an email to the following address:  

5) Evaluation criteria:

The proposed charts and production chains will be evaluated by a panel of experts from academia, industry and the Canadian Hydrographic Service, among others.

The cartographic representation, methodology and team composition will be evaluated according to the criteria and weighting below.

Cartographic representation (60%)

See section 10) What is a good navigational chart? for more details.

Accuracy of the map (40% distributed as follows):

  • Safe bathymetric contours (20%)
  • Safe sounding selection (15%)
  • Topology (5%)

Legibility of the map (20%)

  • The elements that make up the chart are well chosen. The chart is legible and understandable at a glance (the navigator has only a few moments to make a decision).

Methodology (30%)

Flexibility (the methodology is applicable to different sites) (10%)

Robustness (the result obtained is repeatable and stable) (10%)

Effective use of free software and open data (10%)

Team composition (10%)

Multi-disciplinary or multi-level academic (e.g. Undergraduates and Masters) (5%)

Inter-university (5%)

6) Prizes:

The 3 best solutions will be rewarded.

 1st prize2nd prize3rd prize
Award5000 CAD $2000 CAD $1000 CAD $
Presentation of the proposal at CHC-2024XXX
Free access to CHC-2024XXX
Accompaniment by an editorial board for the publication of an article in the IHR journalX  

7) Permitted data sources:

Only open data sources can be used. Below is a non-exhaustive list of relevant open data:

8) Proposed sites:

Site#CoordinatesAccessibility and Usage Information
St. John’s Harbour, NL47.5615° N, 52.7126° WKey port for commercial shipping and recreational boating.
St. Anthony, NL51.3704° N, 55.5959° WAccessed primarily for fishing and tourism.
Lark and York Harbours, NL49.09165° N, 58.3417° WRecreational boating and small-scale fishing.
Proposed Sites

9) Chart specifications:

Chart format: GeoJSON

Chart horizontal reference system: WGS84

Chart vertical datum:

Chart Datum for depths and drying heights

The Chart Datum is the vertical reference level to which all depths and drying heights on the chart are related. Z is counted positively downwards.

High Water Level for elevations and clearances

The High Water Level is the vertical reference level to which all elevations and clearances on the chart are related. Z is counted positively upwards.

Units: Meter

Compilation scale: 1:15 000

Chart content:

The chart shall contain the following cartographic elements: 1) coastline, 2) land areas, 3) bathymetric contours, 4) depth areas, 5) sounding selection, 6) aids to navigation, and 7) unsurveyed areas (if applicable).

10) What is a good navigational chart?

In the context of this competition, we will adopt the following definition of a good navigational chart: A good navigational chart is a simplified but safe representation of our knowledge of the bathymetry (seabed topography). With the help of a careful choice of contours and soundings, a good chart should show: 

  • The general configuration of the seabed topography 
  • The dangers to navigation 

 Many rules exist to govern the way cartographers make a navigational chart. The IHO S-4 standard consolidates all these rules in order to standardize the practice internationally. We will focus here on two main rules that you should try to follow when choosing contours and soundings:  

  • Bathymetric contours and sounding selection must complement each other (map legibility)  
  • No measured depth should be shallower than the interpolation made from the bathymetric contours and sounding selection (safe contours and sounding selection) 

Similar Posts