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09 December 2015

Port Approach Guides: What they contain and how they're updated

​Hydrographic information and the way it is presented within ADMIRALTY Maritime Products & Services is configured and quality assured by the UKHO’s team of maritime experts. ADMIRALTY Port Approach Guides are one of the latest products to undergo these strict, internal quality control processes; with information sourced, applied and checked by a team of Cartographers, Tidal Experts, Hydrographic Surveyors and Master Mariners to ensure accuracy and usability. Simon Gittins, the UKHO’s Thematics Production Team Manager, explains how this team of cartographers go about selecting, formatting and approving each Port Approach Guide to support accurate planning for complex port approaches.


Planning information on one chart

ADMIRALTY Port Approach Guides are designed to simplify the planning of port entry and exit by allowing mariners to view a wide range of ADMIRALTY information on a single, port-focused chart. This information, which is sourced from publications and charts, undergoes strict specification and compilation processes run by our in-house experts.

Initially this is facilitated by a team of Senior Cartographers and Master Mariners who will assess current SNCs, ENCs, Sailing Directions and other ADMIRALTY Publications that are relevant to each port area. These team members have extensive maritime and cartographic experience (acquired through active duty at sea and in-house training) and use this to select information from products and hydrographic data sources that will best support the mariner in port entry and exit. This can include regulations that are specific to that area, such as tidal information or specific Vessel Traffic Service information

Using the specifications set, our Chart Compilers will then pull together graphical and textual information using specialist software and present this data as a Port Approach Guide. This work can be highly diverse, requiring creative problem solving to ensure that graphical info is presented clearly to support situational awareness and efficient planning.



Want to see our Port Approach Guides in use? Our product demonstration film gives you a visual overview of the product's key features


Ensuring information is up-to-date and accurate

We will continually assess hydrographic data included in all ADMIRALTY Maritime Products & Services to ensure that information is accurate and that it supports safe navigation, with in-house experts involved in regular and extensive verification processes. For example our Source Data Receipt (SDR) team digitally catalogues and routes the latest hydrographic data to compiling teams to ensure each Port Approach Guide is updated with the latest information available. Experienced marine cartographers and specialists, who maintain the publications from which textual information has been derived, also verify the chart at various stages to ensure accuracy is maintained.


Updates to maintain on going safety

Finally each edition also kept up-to-date via ADMIRALTY Preliminary Notice to Mariners. Distributed via paper NMS and the UKHO’s website, these NMs ensure that any change to a port area is quickly bought to the mariner’s attention. Our Chart Compilers also embed QR codes within each chart that enable quick access to the relevant NM page on the UKHO’s website.