Beaufort Inlet

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is phasing out traditional navigational charts, like this one that shows Beaufort Inlet, a portion of Core Sound and Lookout Bight. (NOAA graphic)

Charleston, S.C. — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is phasing out traditional paper navigation charts, but one NOAA official says the chart for Carteret County should last through the year.

The NOAA Office of Coast Survey released a document Nov. 14, 2019, “Sunsetting Traditional NOAA Paper Charts,” that lays out a plan to gradually phase out traditional paper navigation charts and related raster products. A raster chart is a paper nautical chart, scanned image of a paper chart, digital image from which a paper chart is made or other digital representation of a traditional nautical chart stored as rows and columns of colored pixels.

However, NOAA OCS Southeast Navigation Manager Kyle Ward said Tuesday in an email to the News-Times that there’s no set date for the raster chart for Carteret County to be discontinued.

“I expect it will be after 2020,” Mr. Ward said. “There will be sufficient notice in the USCG (U.S. Coast Guard) Local Notice to Mariners and on our website prior to canceling any charts. Also, the latest version of our raster charts will be available on our historical charts page for reference.”

The NOAA OCS historical charts page is available at the website historicalcharts.noaa.gov.

Mr. Ward said the OCS expects the effects of sunsetting paper charts on navigation on the North Carolina coast will be minimal.

“Most mariners do not use paper as their primary navigation tool,” he said. “One of the main concerns we have been hearing is if any type of paper backup will be available. We have a system in development to create a custom paper chart from the electronic navigational charts.”

Access to the unfinished prototype is available at the website devgis.charttools.noaa.gov/pod/.

Mr. Ward said the OCS is asking mariners to provide feedback on the system through the questions and comments/error reporting tool online at nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/customer-service/assist/.

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

(1) comment

David Collins

Way too much faith in electronics . A simple power blink can render them quite useless . Always have a plan B and that is a paper chart . Better get some before it is too late .

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