Boeing/Jeppesen/Nobeltec buy C-Map, meaning ???

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Aug 20, 2006


Intermittent WiFi in Cuttyhunk, fog in Fisher’s Island Sound, a greasy scallop and bacon pizza, one engine overheating…it was a hell of a cruise, really! I’ll share more later, but I’m tickled to arrive home and find that two Panbotes e-mailed me about the late Friday news that Boeing has bought C-Map. Wow. 

I didn’t see this coming, and am not sure how it will work. The strategy stated in the press release is that C-Map will help Boeing’s Jeppesen subsidiary, already huge in aviation mapping, grow its marine division. I find it a little odd that the release never mentions Nobeltec, which seems to be the only real meat currently at Jeppesen Marine, even if it’s only listed under “Recreational Solutions”. It’s obvious that C-Map’s commercial vector charts will fit nicely into Jeppesen’s commercial goals but what happens to Nobeltec’s Passport charts? And what about the various recreational electronics products, like Standard Horizon plotters, that are actually built by C-Map? And does this affect BNT ME, i.e. Navman/Northstar, for sale and fairly committed to C-Map cartography? Your comments welcome (and a big thanks to Aaron and Milt for the head’s up).

PS, 8/21: I’ve called the various companies involved and no one can really say much during the “quiet period”, i.e. the 90–120 days it may take to have the deal OK’d by various regulatory bodies. But I did learn a little:
 * C-Map’s hardware manufacturing, as well as aviation/land navigation products, are actually separate companies, and are not part of this deal.
 * Jeppesen says it has every intention of continuing and improving C-Map’s existing OEM operations, i.e. no worries if you have a plotter using C-Map cartography.
 * The folks at C-Map and Nobeltec (and, of course, Jeppesen) all sound excited about future product strategies (that they can’t really talk about yet).



Great to read that you did the deed and are back in one piece!

My sense is that we are seeing the consolidation in the marine industry as we saw in the other "high tech" industries... a few players which own the market... consolidation .. and did I say consolidation.

We will see perhaps better products but fewer offerings and this will make it harder for the little guys to compete.

Raymarine is a perfect example of a big giant which gobbled up some companies and sells overpriced gear which is released before the bugs are sorted out... and gives what I feel is crappy customer support. I have called and spoken with their tech support and received completely wrong information about their product (the C80 which s the one I have).

I don't care for thees acquisitions and leveraged buyouts... I don't think the consumers benefit. Little companies go under and all the consumers who own those products are SOL.


Posted by: DefJef at August 20, 2006 9:45 PM | Reply

The loss of is a good example of how this consolidation hurts the consumer. MarinePlanner was a good source of international raster charts at reasonable prices. Maptech bought up these companies to remove competition.

Posted by: GPSNavX at August 20, 2006 11:33 PM | Reply

I think when they replaced the GM of Nobeltec with a Jeppesen exec and started the rebranding we should have known they were getting serious. Nobeltec is first and foremost a content company and didn't own much in the way of marine content since the Passport charts are only slightly repackaged Transas charts.

One possible outcome is that Nobeltec will become a derivative of their commercial products and more robust in the process. The other possible outcome is that it will be marginalized as the "consumer" product in a commercial company. However, Jeppesen does have a good track record with private pilots so there may be room for optimism.

It certainly hurts Transas and has to give Navionics a push.

Posted by: Russ at August 21, 2006 12:06 PM | Reply

It is certainly an interesting development. Is it definite that the hardware manufacturing iss not part of the deal?

I know that the C-Map network is very complex with nearly 20 different companies bearing the C-Map name, eventually all linking back to C-Map SRL Italy, but which were the manufacturers and where are they now?

Posted by: Dan at December 12, 2006 8:31 AM | Reply

C-Map's purchase is simply the positining of a US based company reacting to the UKHOs purchase of 7Cs last year. Two main ECDIS kernels exist - c-map and 7cs and the orgainisation that can control this (and the distrbution of the SENC formatted charts) will have a dominant position. It will be interesting to see how the EU react in Jan to the purchase as I have heard of many maritime gurus complain about this "consolidaiton" and the fear of US involvemet in what has been a UK (HO) market for the past few hundred years...

Posted by: ENCman at December 20, 2006 7:03 AM | Reply

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