MoD agency floats £10m deal for ‘digitisation of sailing directions’

UK Hydrographic Office seeks partner to help it get the most out of its maritime data

Credit: Pixabay

The government is seeking a commercial partner to fulfil a £10m contract dedicated to improving the quality and usefulness of its maritime data.

The UK Hydrographic Office – a government agency that provides geospatial sailing information to the Navy and the rest of government, as well as the commercial shipping industry and sailing hobbyists – is seeking to appoint a specialist firm to a five-year deal dedicated to the “digitisation of sailing directions”.

The winning bidder will be expected to support existing systems, alongside undertaking work to build and implement platforms that allow UKHO to improve its data, and the commercial opportunities around it.

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“The scope of this tender is to support systems used to manage data and create required outputs to produce paper and digital publications,” the agency said. “Also, the development of new improved systems to deliver improved publication information to the mariner and provide the opportunity to exploit the data value for non-navigational purposes.”

The core objectives of the engagement will be twofold, with the first being continuing to support the provision of data on the UK’s coastal waters that the government is obligated to gather as part of international Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. This data will be provided to existing UKHO customers in both digital and hardcopy form.

The second objective will be to “develop and support a next-generation system that shall increase the value in the authority’s data and services that shall improve SOLAS”.

Bids for the project are open until 12 June. The chosen provider will be appointed to a five-year contract, scheduled to commence on 1 October and expected to be worth £10m.

Based in Taunton, UKHO claims that its Admiralty range of data products and services is used “on over 90% of the world’s ships trading internationally”. It employs 850 people and operates as a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence – to which it returned a dividend of £10.7m in the 2018/19 financial year, on the back of revenue of £157.7m.



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