Essential ArcGIS Maritime vocabulary

Available with ArcGIS Maritime license.

The following nautical terms apply to data, products, and workflow management.

Additional Military Layers (AML)

A unified range of digital geospatial data products designed to satisfy the totality of NATO nonnavigational maritime defense requirements.

Bathymetric Inland Electronic Navigational Chart (bIENC)

A bathymetric Inland Electronic Navigational Chart (bIENC) is a digital navigational chart in vector format that provides a bathymetry data overlay to complement ENCs and IENCs.

Compilation scale

The compilation scale reflects the scale at which the geospatial data was originally collected. The compilation scale attribute is used in the multiscale Nautical Information System (NIS) environment to define the scale of data. This attribute can be used to filter the data for display (to simplify editing) or to control what data is extracted to a product. In addition to the attribute stored at the feature level, a Compilation Scale Value exists to ensure that new data being incorporated into the NIS is attributed with its corresponding scale.

Complex Attribute

In the S-101 product specification, complex attributes are formed by aggregating sub-attributes that can be simple or complex attribute types.

Digital Nautical Chart (DNC)

A Digital Nautical Chart (DNC) is a vector-based digital product that provides a current, worldwide chart database for vessel navigation. DNCs are produced at varying scales in the standard Vector Product Format (VPF).

Display Scale Range

In the S-101 product specification a range of values used to indicate the scales at which the data will be displayed in the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). The smallest scale is defined by the minimum display scale and the largest scale is defined by the maximum display scale.

Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC)

An Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) is a digital navigational chart in vector format that provides corrections and other important updates to support marine transportation. ENCs can be made to both S-57 and S-101 product specifications.

Feature Association

In the S-101 product specification, a feature association is a relationship that links instances of one feature type with instances of the same or a different feature type.

Feature Catalogue

A feature catalogue is an S-100 document that describes the feature and attributes that define the content of a data product.

Information Association

In the S-101 product specification, an information association is used to describe a relationship between a feature type, spatial object, or information type on one side and an information type on the other side.

Inland Electronic Navigational Chart (IENC)

An Inland Electronic Navigational Chart (IENC) is a digital navigational chart in vector format that provides inland waterway (rivers) transportation information similar to ENCs.

Long Name (LNAM)

Long name (LNAM) is a required object identifier that is a 17-character concatenation of the Producing Agency (AGEN), Feature Identification Number (FIDN), and Feature Identification Subdivision (FIDS) components. LNAM is used for every feature in both S-57 and S-101 product specifications.

Learn more about managing long name

Maximum Display Scale

The maximum display scale represents the largest scale from the display scale range of the S-101 dataset.

Minimum Display Scale

The minimum display scale represents the smallest scale of the display scale range of the S-101 dataset.


Multiplicity is the number of possible occurrences of a property or the number of allowable elements that may participate in a given relationship. Multiplicity defines lower and upper limits for the number of values, whether the order of the instances has meaning, and if an attribute is mandatory or not. Format is: Lower, Upper (∞ is infinite) (order is sequential). Multiplicity is a part of the S-101 product definition.


  • 0,1—Instance is not required; there can be only one instance.
  • 1, ∞—Instance is required; there can be an infinite number of instances.


Mandatory attributes have multiplicity of 1,1; 1,n where n > 1; or 1, ∞.

Nautical Chart

A nautical chart is a geographic representation of real world features in either an electronic or paper format. Nautical charts show information critical to safe navigation, such as depths, currents, dangers to navigation, and navigational aids. Nautical charts can be created in both S-57 and S-101 product specifications.

Nautical Information System (NIS) database

A scale-less centralized database for storage and management of data used to create S-57 products. Typically, it is for a multiuser environment.

New Edition (EN)

A New Edition (EN) is an existing chart with extensive updates that is republished electronically or in hard copy. An ENC New Edition (EN) is a base file in the S-57 and S-101 product formats.

Peer-to-peer relationships (Aggregations and Associations)

In S-57 peer-to-peer relationships, no feature's existence is dependent on another feature. Collections are considered a type of peer-to-peer relationship and can be grouped into two object classes: aggregations (C_AGGR) or associations (C_ASSO).

Association objects depict at least one feature that, when associated, better represents certain navigational situations. For example, a buoy that marks a wreck can be associated in S-57 to help the mariner determine that a danger lies in the area. The buoy is not dependent on the wreck and the wreck is not dependent on the buoy.

Aggregation objects are collections of features that form a higher-level collection object that better describes a system or defines a larger area. For example, an aggregation relationship can be used to form a traffic separation scheme from traffic separation lane parts, boundaries, and so on. In the geodatabase, the collection object is stored in the PLTS_COLLECTIONS table, and its relationships to the features that compose the collection are stored in the PLTS_FREL table.


A reissue is an ENC base file where the UPDN (update number) and EDTN (edition number) values do not change. Conversely, when a new edition dataset is produced, the EDTN usually increases by 1, and the UPDN rolls back to 0. A reissue can be created for both S-57 and S-101 products.

Revision (ER)

An ENC Revision (ER) is an update to a base file that is commonly called an EN. ER files are considered update dataset types. Revisions can be created for both S-57 and S-101 products.


S-57 is the data standard used for the exchange of digital hydrographic data between national hydrographic offices and for its distribution to manufacturers, mariners and other data users. For example, this standard is intended to be used for the supply of data for ECDIS. S-57 is the predecessor to S-101.


S-100 is a flexible geospatial standard for hydrographic data. There are many product specifications covered by S-100, such as S-101 ENC and S-102 Bathymetric Surface.

Scale band

The range of compilation scales appropriate for a specific digital or electronic product. Scale band is used with S-57 products.

Simple Attributes

The S-101 product specification uses seven types of simple attributes, as listed in the following table:



The value is a logical value: either True or False.


The value is an integer.


The value is a floating-point number.


The value is one of a list of defined values.


The value is general text. This is also defined as a character string.

Truncated Date

The value is a date according to the Gregorian calendar and allows for partial dates to be provided.


The value is a 24-hour time and may contain a time zone.


Includes a wide array of information used to drive the compilation or maintenance of geospatial data. Examples of a source range from surveys and imagery to blueprints, letters, and ASCII files. Data sources are used to create both S-57 and S-101 products.

Structure-Equipment (Hierarchical) Relationships

The structure-equipment term refers to hierarchical S-57 relationships. Historically, these were referred to as master-slave relationships. These types of relationships have designated structure and equipment features. A structure-equipment relationship is created to relate features comprising a navigational aid. Navigational aids are composed of two basic types of objects: structures and equipment. The structure object is considered the primary feature, and the related equipment items are considered the secondary features. A lighted buoy is an example of a structure-equipment relationship. The buoy is the primary structure with various equipment attached to it, such as lights and navigational devices, which are considered secondary features.

Vector Product Format (VPF)

The Vector Product Format (VPF) is a U.S. Department of Defense military standard that defines a standard format, structure, and organization for large geographic databases.