NOAA Goes Paperless
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association announced this fall that starting in April 2014 they will no longer print traditional lithographic paper navigational charts. “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,” said Capt. Shep Smith, chief of the Marine Chart Division in NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “Fortunately, advancements in computing and mobile technologies give us many more options than were possible years ago.” The decision to stop printing navigational charts, which the U.S. government has done since 1862, comes as the organization reevaluates its budget and embraces the growing trend in digital charting. NOAA will continue to create and maintain its charts in other forms, and charts will still be available via their popular print-on-demand program.