Glossary of Terms

A quick reference guide to some of the terms used

Wondering what we mean by Data Management? Do you know what the term MSDI means? Please find below a short glossary of the terms used on our website. If you spot any not included here and you’d like us to add it – please email us at

For terminology and references for our mapping products please visit our Mapping Feature Catalogue.

Data Management is the development, execution and supervision of plans, policies, programmes and practices that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of data and information assets. Data is now widely considered to be the second most valuable asset an organisation possesses after its employees. With data volumes multiplying every few months, it is critically important that organisations value and manage his asset through its life-cycle including its collection, quality assurance, quality, ingestion, curation, archiving and use.
Data Governance is the execution and enforcement of authority over the management of data and data-related resources.
Resource links:
Dama (The Global Data Management Community)
MEDIN (Marine Environmental Data and Information Network)

Want to know more? Why not download our white paper “Why Data Management Matters to Ports and Harbours” or see our press article.

See the interesting article on this subject here by Nicola Askham (an Independent Data Governance Coach).

A Spatial Data Infrastructure is the relevant base collection of technologies, policies and institutional arrangements that facilitate the availability of and access to spatial and business data. It covers the processes that integrate technologies, policies, standards, and people; the structure of working practices and relationships across data producers and users for access, sharing and analysing geospatial information across government and commerce. It also includes hardware, software and system components necessary to support the processes. Importantly, an SDI is not a central repository for data, a portal for discovery, view and download of data nor simply GIS software.

A Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure encompasses all marine and / or maritime information including maritime boundaries and limits, conservation areas and marine habitats, oceanography, bathymetry, geology, wrecks, offshore installations, pipelines and cables.

Please download our MSDI white paper or see our press article here.

A Maritime Information Infrastructure (MII) is based on good data management principles and applies lean process management from manufacturing to the flow of information through the port. It is built on the “four cornerstones” of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (see above) and applies these and the enterprise level. It involves engaging and educating port personal and contractors (people), applying open system and technical standards, utilising existing, or where required, improving ICT infrastructure, introducing registries and metadata, and strengthening data. See our full press article here on “Delivering a Maritime Information Infrastructure to Ports” and MII diagram.
ENC stands for ‘Electronic Navigational Chart’

If you require ENC’s, OceanWise can provide several options. We offer: an ENC Web Map Service, software that allows you to produce your owns ENCs or if you don’t have access to a GIS, we can create ENC’s for your specific needs. Please click here.

Telemetry is the process of recording and transmitting the readings of an instrument OR “the mechanism of getting data from where its collected to where it is needed”. OceanWise specialises in marine telemetry handling the process of recording and transmitting the readings of marine sensors and equipment such as weather and tidal data, so that it can be viewed, used and disseminated by those who need it (for example VTS teams, Pilots, Dredgers, Hydrographers etc).
We use the term ‘Smart telemetry’ to describe our specially developed modems (rt.buffer and ip.buffer) which are deemed as “smart” because of their extra attributes which are: configurable, swift, intelligent, compact, flexible, robust, secure, remotely managed, power & cost efficient. Download our brochure here.
The UN-MGIWG stands for the UN Marine Geospatial Information Working Group. See our full press article here.
The UN Marine Geospatial Information Working Group (UN-GGIM). See our full press article here. Please also see the article in GIS Professional June 2019 on the difference between OGC, GEO and UN-GGIM & “Driving the Global Geospatial Agenda
The XL stands for eXcluding Land
Land mapping datasets tend to fill bodies of water with a shade of blue, because maritime information isn’t useful for the majority of their users. In the same vein, Admiralty Nautical Charts fill land with a mustard shade. These datasets are suitable for someone navigating a car, or a ship, but what happens when your use case requires harmonised land and maritime information? RCXL is developed to solve this exact issue.
By removing the land from Admiralty Nautical Charts, users are now able to combine the useful aspects of both datasets for a harmonious mapping experience across land and sea. Finally, as Admiralty Nautical Charts are designed without any context of the surrounding charts, land from one chart will often overlap valid maritime data from another – a by-product of removing the land is that issue is also resolved in RCXL.

Our mapping data is available in digital form as either a Raster Chart in the BSB format or as an Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) in the S-57 vector format.
Raster Charts are simply an electronic image of admiralty paper charts. This means that they only show the information available on the paper chart (including some unwanted features like the admiralty crest). Raster charts are digitized by scanning the paper chart. Beyond geo-referencing, there is no intelligence inherent in the raster image.

Marine Themes Vector is an intelligent dataset. It is coded with additional information not available in paper or raster charts. It carries a wealth of geo-spatial data and is linked to a database of associated information. The user can click on different features, such as a shipwreck or buoy, and retrieve additional information about that specific feature. For example, a wharf appears only as an image on an raster chart, but a vector chart can identify it as a wharf and attach attributes to the wharf, such as height, length, age, ownership, number of berths. Marine Themes Vector also provides the user with control over how the chart is displayed, so you can easily turn different layers of information on and off leaving you with a tailored map only showing the user the details that they require. Try our range of mapping products out of yourself on our demo page: Or download our data buying guide here.

At OceanWise we believe that it is of utmost importance that systems are fully tested and proved fit for purpose. As part of our standard process we invite our customers to attend a FAT – this is where the customer(s) are invited to our workshop to observe the system working as specified. A User Acceptance Test (UAT) is the same but usually undertaken post deployment, on site with the end users, again the purpose of this is to prove that the system is working as specified.
Bathymetry is the study of mapping the seafloor. See Hydro International’s September 2019 article on what bathymetry is here.