This paper is concerned with potential improvements in the way man interacts with machines, maps and charts. Particular motivation comes from the new navigational challenges provided by the increasingly widespread use of electronic position-fixing aids in the marine field. Whilst automatic plotting tables and moving light spots have provided part of the solution in larger ships, much recent investment has been witnessed in the development of ‘electronic chart’-based systems.
For a number of practical reasons, among which are the lack of available data bases for these systems and little updating and distribution infrastructure for them, it is believed that there is unlikely to be a wide acceptance of such equipment as the primary or sole plotting aid for a considerable number of years to come.
Yeoman, a navigation plotting system which uses existing conventional charts, was conceived and developed to provide a simple and effective man–chart interface with few drawbacks. This paper provides the background for the development, the product and potential future evolution.