About the seminar

At our ‘Navigating the changing maritime landscape’ seminar during London International Shipping Week 2021, UKHO experts explored how the next generation of navigational technologies and marine data solutions will help shipping to meet these era-defining challenges.

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Event details

We hosted two sessions to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the changing maritime landscape, both sessions will feature the same content. Our interactive online seminar took place virtually, or our in-person seminar was held at the internationally renowned Lloyd’s building, both as part of London International Shipping Week. The seminar was presented by Tom Mellor, Head of OEM Technical Support and Digital Standards at the UKHO.

Explore the seminar topics


This is a critical time for shipping. A technological transformation is unleashing the power of digital navigation, delivering a new generation of data solutions to support safer, more efficient voyages, and advancing the prospect of autonomous shipping. The regulatory landscape is responding, with new rules that are growing in complexity. Meanwhile, the health of our oceans is becoming critical, as shipping strives to meet its carbon reduction targets, whilst remaining the engine of global trade.

The UKHO’s Head of OEM Technical Support and Digital Standards, Tom Mellor, discussed the following challenges facing the maritime industry:

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What opportunities will the next generation of navigation solutions bring?

The next generation of navigation solutions will deliver a huge leap forward in capabilities. Tom explained more about the new ‘S-100’ data standard, which will underpin these technological advances and transform how marine data is used for passage planning and voyage optimisation.

Image source: Thalis

How do we make autonomous shipping a reality?

The potential of autonomous vessels will only become a reality if we can solve the challenges of autonomous navigation. Tom provided an update on the development of the new data standards and technologies that will support safe navigation for autonomous shipping.

marine data

How can marine data support the future of our oceans?

Marine data is a vital asset in the fight to protect our oceans, defend our coastlines, and curb shipping’s carbon impact. Tom explored how enhanced marine data can help ship owners to reduce their emissions, improve our ocean stewardship, and realise the potential of the blue economy.



Find out more about more about the UKHO experts leading this seminar.

Peter Sparkes

Peter Sparkes

Job description
Chief Executive

As Chief Executive, Peter leads the UK Hydrographic Office’s important work in supporting safe, secure and thriving oceans.

Before joining the UKHO, Peter served as a Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy, where he worked in a wide variety of appointments both at sea on operations and ashore. Notably, he commanded the frigate HMS CUMBERLAND on counter-piracy patrol off Somalia and the UK’s Ice Patrol Ship, HMS PROTECTOR, in Antarctica. In addition to this, he commanded the 44 units (aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, mine-hunters, patrol vessels, and the maritime explosive ordinance disposal teams) of the Portsmouth Flotilla.

Ashore, Peter Sparkes has served in Ministry of Defence acquisition appointments and was responsible for the development and introduction into RN service of the Warship Electronic Charting Display Information System. Prior to joining UKHO he served as the Chief of Defence Staff’s liaison officer in the Pentagon, Washington DC.

Tom Mellor

Tom Mellor

Job description
Head of OEM Technical Support and Digital Standards

As the UK Hydrographic Office’s (UKHO) Head of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Technical Support and Digital Standards, Tom works with Electronic Chart Display Information Systems (ECDIS) OEMs to help them display ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions in their applications.

Tom’s extensive knowledge of International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) data standards allows him to spearhead UKHO’s OEM relationships, enabling developers to build and maintain market-leading e-navigation products that underpin safety of life at sea. Tom also provides technical consultancy to major shipping organisations to help them develop and adhere to ECDIS best practice guidance.

Tom is Chairman of the IHO’s Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) Standards Maintenance Working Group, where he has overall responsibility for all current IHO marine data standards used in the production, display and security of electronic navigational charts, as well as their use in ECDIS.  Tom also represents UKHO in the development and implementation of the IHO’s emerging S100 framework standard. S-100 will support a greater variety of hydrographic-related digital data sources, products, and customers. The standard will enable the development of new applications that go beyond the scope of traditional hydrography such as high-density bathymetry, seafloor classification and marine geospatial information services.