October 25, 2013

NOAA Stops printing nautical charts

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),  the federal agency charged with surveying the nation’s navigable waters to help keep mariners off the rocks and out of the shallows,  has just announced that come April they will no longer print nautical charts.  This is being done as a cost saving measure and therefore will only provide charts on demand or electronic PDF versions.

In statement, the  NOAA says:

“Since 1862, those lithographic nautical charts — available in marine shops and other stores — have been printed by the U.S. government and sold to the public by commercial vendors. The decision to stop production is based on several factors: the declining demand for lithographic charts, the increasing use of digital and electronic charts, and federal budget realities.”

“With the end of traditional paper charts, our primary concern continues to be making sure that boaters, fishing vessels and commercial mariners have access to the most accurate, up-to-date nautical chart in a format that works well for them,” says Coast Survey chief Capt. Shep Smith. “Fortunately, advancements in computing and mobile technologies give us many more options than was possible years ago.”

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