Standard features of electronic chart display systems include the display of electronic vector and/or raster charts overlaid with the position of the ship and its track, and facilities to route plan and automatically update charts using digital notices to mariners. Navigation sensors such as GPS, log and gyro will be connected to provide positional information. An autopilot may also be connected when the electronic chart display system is installed as part of an integrated bridge system.
Some electronic charts display system offer the capability to display radar data overlaid on the chart. This can be either selected targets or a full radar picture that can be independently controlled. Caution should always be exercised where target vectors based on the ship's speed through the water are overlaid on an electronic chart that is displaying speed over the ground.
Factors that will determine to what extent an electronic chart display system can be used will include the type of system that has been fitted, the ability of that system to display official nautical charts and whether or not the flag state administration allows its use for navigational purposes.
Electronic chart display systems can be categorised as ECDIS, RCDS or ECS.
Extracted from : Bridge Procedures Guide, 4th Ed.