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NOAA wants to stop making NOAA charts!

Feb 11, 2017
196
Gulfstar 1979 Gulfstar 37 BELFAST
This is a press release from Maptech.....need more info call Maptech 508-990-9020

New Bedford, MA - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plans to cease support for producing the 1,000-plus NOAA charts that millions of boaters use and rely on for safe navigation.
NOAA decided to privatize the printing of NOAA paper charts several years ago by certifying private companies to print official NOAA paper charts. A 2014 article published on their website was entitled: NOAA's Paper Nautical Charts are Here to Stay, New certified printing agents bring buying options. In the article, the former director of NOAA’s Office Coast Survey (OCS) said: "We asked private companies to help us transition from the government-run system to a robust and competitive market for paper nautical charts, and we are pleased with the results."
Despite the decision to privatize print chart production several years ago, NOAA has released a National Charting Plan that calls for ceasing production of the images used to print the charts. The action will have a profound effect on recreational boating.
After the 2017 National Charting Plan was released, the current director of OCS was quoted in a media account as saying that it was “a major pivot point at OCS” and that “the paper era is finished."
NOAA's Raster PDF images are the sources for publishing print products that are widely used by coastal recreational boaters in conjunction with electronics, such as waterproof charts, chartbooks and cruising guides. NOAA also proposes to eliminate the electronic raster nautical chart (also known as BSB) files that are used by many software systems and navigation plotting systems.
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The change sought by NOAA is due to its use of Electronic Nautical Chart (ENC) data, which consists of layers of vector data designed for use in expensive commercial Electronic Display Information Systems (ECDIS). The ENC database is designed for commercial use and does not contain all of the detail available in NOAA paper charts or raster nautical (RNC) charts in areas that are not frequented by commercial vessels.
Several private chart companies do an excellent job of reformatting NOAA data into vector databases that are widely used by U.S. boaters in chart plotters. GPS systems and chart plotters are incredibly useful but prudent mariners know that one should always have a set of paper charts on board for reference and backup in case of electronic malfunction or power failure. Virtually all boating safety and captain training schools teach plotting skills using paper charts in order to ensure safe navigation. Many boaters also prefer raster nautical chart (BSB format) files electronically due to the detail, look and feel of the traditional NOAA chart, and they match the charts on which they learned to navigate.
NOAA has done an exemplary job of producing some of the best charts available anywhere. It would be highly detrimental to boating safety and prudent navigation if they were to implement this proposal.

Please also contact your U.S. representative and senator to request that NOAA continue to produce the suite of NOAA charts that the boating community relies upon for safe boating.
 

Brian D

Moderator
Feb 17, 2006
4,545
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Fake or real, paper charts are a thing of the past. Time to retire that program. Electronic RNC provide much better detail when zoomed in than paper could ever do. I think it is time to end the paper chart program.
 

Scott B

Moderator
Sep 20, 2006
2,642
Hunter 33 Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada
Fake or real, paper charts are a thing of the past. Time to retire that program. Electronic RNC provide much better detail when zoomed in than paper could ever do. I think it is time to end the paper chart program.
I will hang on to paper as long as I can. Chartplotters, like GPS in the car, does not give you the "big picture" I still rely on my Ontario road map, even though my kids call me a dinosaur... I like to see where I'm going overall, not just where I am.
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,600
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
NOAA has not made Paper charts in YEARS.

They simply support Print On Demand (POD) suppliers (like oceangrafix) that do the actual printing. Buy a chart of the shelf from West Marine, and that's where it came from. The NOAA report simply says what we all know, most of current navigation is done electronically. But paper will continue on. As a big picture view, and also an emergency backup its important to have on board.
 
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Feb 11, 2017
196
Gulfstar 1979 Gulfstar 37 BELFAST
Thanks, I hadn't seen that bit from Ben E. He always digs deeper....
 
May 25, 2012
2,193
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
Fake or real, paper charts are a thing of the past. Time to retire that program. Electronic RNC provide much better detail when zoomed in than paper could ever do. I think it is time to end the paper chart program.
 
May 25, 2012
2,193
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
oh no, brian, i love my paper charts. i prefer my paper chart for so many reasons. i can use a paper chart quicker than i can start a gps. gps blinds ones night vision. i like to write notes/observations on my paper.
don't take my paper, please. hard to get the big picture without paper.

please don't take my paper. it's cheap and no maintainence for me.

love the paper :)
 
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Likes: Brian D
Nov 8, 2010
10,600
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
......... and it's not fair to all three of us that love the paper :)
I'm sure there's more of us than that. Anyone who sails without paper charts (and bearing binocs, etc) on board hasn't been doing this long enough.
 
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Likes: jon hansen
May 25, 2012
2,193
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
....... and what's next? are they discontinue my lead line and bees wax ?
 
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Likes: TomY
Feb 28, 2013
67
Pacific Seacraft 40 Belfast
I greatly appreciate the charts that my chart plotter shows where I am in relation to the islands I see around me. Except when they're wrong. That happens a lot in the Bahamas. There I rely on my paper Explorer charts. I watched Monty and Sara Lewis gather real data on their trawler and I trust their charts without question. You can get Explorer charts electronically but you might get something far worse. Beware.
 
Sep 14, 2014
837
Catalina 22 Pensacola, Florida
Murphys law is alive and well, it is really nice to be able to pull out a paper chart, look for lights and shapes when that electronic wizard on board craps out, you are out of cell phone range for an app, or sailing and the battery is dead. Charts, eyeballs and compasses don't need electric. Nuff said.
 
Jul 31, 2016
131
Hunter 380 Cape Coral, Fl
Yep, people complained about the advent of cars, the advent of automatics, planes, the advent of jet skiis, CADCAM replacing drafters and are complaining about self driving cars.... all come to pass.

I no longer carry a slide ruler nor do I carry a map book to navigate major cities when I'm driving as I did in the 1980s! Have not used a telephone book in decades.

As for backup..... I have 2 chart plotters, two depth finders, my computer, my Tablet and my smart phone. I have 2 banks of bats, Solar and wind, a small gen set, a universal bat charger station for the multitude of re chargeable bats in all sizes and an EPIRB, EAS. No kerosene lamp. If all fail, I was destined to be SOL.

That said, I just bought 2 water proof charts that cover the area of my trip, that I tape to my nav station.

Regards,

Viper....
 
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Likes: Rick D
Jul 13, 2004
51
-Manta Catamaran -Manta 40 Mystic, CT
I'm sure there's more of us than that. Anyone who sails without paper charts (and bearing binocs, etc) on board hasn't been doing this long enough.
Been cruising more than day-hopping since 1984 - full time cruising for the past 9 years. Currently in Bermuda and heading for Nova Scotia in a month. Not a paper chart on board, nor has been for the past 6 years. We have bearing binocs somewhere on board, but never use them because we prefer the stabilized ones.

The number of people we meet out cruising full-time that still have and use paper charts is becoming equal to the number of boats still using CQR anchors. Even the ones that do have paper charts stowed away admit that they haven't used them in years.

Mark
 
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Likes: jon hansen
Jul 13, 2004
51
-Manta Catamaran -Manta 40 Mystic, CT
Nowadays, raster charts are created from vector data. It isn't correct to say that raster charts contain more information, nor that vector charts are only available where commercial shipping has interest. If an area is being surveyed, the data are in vector format and raster charts are made as a derivative of that. If an area is not being surveyed, there will be no raster chart available - same as for vector.

The only difference is in those out areas where traditional raster charts were made long ago, but more recent surveys have not been done. Here, any vector representations may be incomplete and were derived from paper chart data. Nothing about NOAA dropping raster support (if this even happens) would change the availability of these past-century surveys and data.

The raster/vector fretting is interesting. I don't think most people realize that it is purely an issue of what one is accustomed to. We are very used to vector charts and use them exclusively cruising to new places. Raster charts look funny to us, and seem so busy that navigation becomes more difficult. However, when we revisited our old cruising grounds where we used to live and sail for 18yrs, I just couldn't abide by the vector charts and was only comfortable with raster! For some reason, the vector charts seemed odd and disorienting. It just wasn't what I was used to seeing/using in that area. Once gone from the area, raster presentations went back to being annoying, intrusive and incomplete to us.

Mark
 
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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,870
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
The number of people we meet out cruising full-time that still have and use paper charts is becoming equal to the number of boats still using CQR anchors. Even the ones that do have paper charts stowed away admit that they haven't used them in years.

Mark
I remember all too well what it was like to pilot with paper charts, parallel rules, pencils, and then with the occasional assist of Loran.

Electronic navigation has transformed my coastal sailing. I can't believe how much easier sailing has become!

We sail more miles (keeping tabs of our location on paper charts, sailing - especially along a coast - wasn't always possible).

Of course NOAA stopped printing paper charts. Supply and demand.

Ha, Mark! We don't carry paper charts anymore but we still use our old CQR. :)

A better anchor analogy of paper to E-charts, would be to compare your fashionable 'next gen' anchor to a stone and rope. :)
 
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