The Triton

News

Nautical paper charts are not going away

ADVERTISEMENT

By John Mann

On Nov. 8, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Coast Survey announced plans to change the database and format from which traditional paper nautical charts for the U.S. are printed.

Unfortunately, the announcement was misinterpreted and broadly reported that over the next five years, paper charts would be phased out and no longer available. 

Not true. 

Rest assured, paper charts will continue to be available through the online NOAA Custom Chart application or third-party providers such as Bluewater Books and Charts.

NOAA is in the midst of a multi-year program to improve Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) coverage and will ultimately stop supporting the raster chart database from which its more than 1,000 paper charts of U.S. waters are derived. 

The ENCs are a vector format that allows multiple layers of data to source information; the raster data is only two-dimensional. So paper charts created from ENC-sourced data are more robust, have more information, and are simply better. Think about it as new technology being employed to ultimately provide improved paper charts.

So NOAA is reaching out to chart users and companies that provide products and services based on the raster data to figure out how best to phase them out – not phasing paper charts out completely, just this format from which paper charts are made. NOAA wants input from mariners to help it choose the layers of ENC information that will be applied to paper charts moving forward. And it wants to be sure the move from raster data does not occur until the new ENC-derived process is proven.

To that end, NOAA is seeking comments to be made by Feb. 1 and submitted via NOAA’s Assist feedback tool at nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/customer-service/assist, or by mail to: NOAA (NCS2) , ATTN. Sunset of Raster Charts, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282. A Federal Register Notice soliciting comments has also been released.

I would encourage all mariners who so passionately hold fast to paper charts to help us make them the best they can be. 

John Mann is president of Fort Lauderdale-based Bluewater Books and Charts, a provider of digital and paper charts for worldwide cruising. Comments are welcome below.

Related Articles

NOAA seeks public input on end of paper charts

NOAA seeks public input on end of paper charts

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking public feedback on its five-year program to end all raster and paper nautical chart production.  Ultimately, …

Crew Compass: In yachting, calling it quits means more than just giving up a job

Crew Compass: In yachting, calling it quits means more than just giving up a job

Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon When I first did my STCW, I did not know that I would spend the following years falling in love with the yachting industry. At 22, and only six months out of …

Chart corrections stopped, reduced

Chart corrections stopped, reduced

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, some hydrographic offices are not producing Notice to Mariners, according to a press release from Da Gama Maritime, which reports the following: France: The …

NOAA to change channel depth values on raster charts

NOAA to change channel depth values on raster charts

NOAA's Office of Coast Survey recently announced plans to change the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) maintained channel depth values on raster chart products, which include paper nautical …

FLIBS19: USCG, CBP address yacht issues

FLIBS19: USCG, CBP address yacht issues

By Dorie Cox Surrounded by millions of dollars worth of yachts for sale, officers from several U.S. governmental agencies explained how to maintain compliance of those yachts after they are …

From the Bridge: Satellite technology a make-or-break issue

From the Bridge: Satellite technology a make-or-break issue

From the Bridge: by Dorie Cox Satellite domes and antennae top most large yachts, and satellite-enabled devices are everywhere on board. Announcements of the “world’s fastest, lightest, …

Comments

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.