Topical matters

S-200 Data Modelling

S-200 Product Specifications Testbed

1.      Background

Development of S-100/200 has the potential to significantly change the way aids to navigation information are processed, communicated, accessed, and utilized. In recent years, many countries have developed their own data format for maintenance purposes and exchange of them with other authorities. However, with the benefit of it, IALA S-200 Product Specifications (PS) will bring a step change in the data model of marine aids to navigation.

This paper summarizes the potential implications of the format transformation from the national level to the international based on a preliminary exercise.

2.      Revision of ECDIS guidance

IMO, at NCSR 9 session, finalized a draft revision of the Performance Standards (PS) for ECDIS. The updates to PS introduce, in particular, the application of new IHO Data Standards and PS (S-98, S-100, and S-101) with regard to ECDIS equipment installed on or after 1 January 2029 and, optionally, for equipment installed after 1 January 2026 and before 1 January 2029.

In this regard, it provides IALA with a time frame to develop the related product specifications, and the members to be prepared to produce the dataset conforms with the S-201 data format.  

3.      Gap analysis

In order to be prepared for this transformation, IALA encourages its stakeholders to conduct a gap analysis between the national AtoN dataset and S-201 product specification. This gap analysis process would allow the stakeholders to examine the level of effort required in obtaining S-201 compatibility and determine how to best achieve this goal.

4.      Current state

As part of the initial exercise, some examples from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Sweden, Republic of Korea, and USA were initially analysed, and the interim findings are;

  • all data samples use national schemas,
  • the terms and definitions used in national data samples are not harmonised,
  • data samples are not documented and represent a barrier to use.

For those countries that do not have any format for exchanging datasets, a standard table template compliant with S-201 could help them to develop one.

5.      IALA S-200 Testbed

IALA developed an S-200 testbed ( which can be used to test the S-200 series dataset and their portrayal. This is kindly supported by Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, and KRISO.

IALA stakeholders are requested to make use of the testbed tools and report any findings to the IALA secretariat (