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NOAA.. No more paper charts


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#1 One eye Jack

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:42 PM

Ahoy mateys! US to stop printing nautical charts
By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
Updated 12:04 pm, Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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WASHINGTON (AP) The federal government is going into uncharted waters, deep-sixing the giant paper nautical charts that it has been printing for mariners for more than 150 years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that the traditional brownish heavy paper charts won't be printed after mid-April.

Capt. Shep Smith, head of NOAA's marine chart division, said the agency will still chart the water for rocks, shipwrecks and dangers, but mariners will have to see the information using private on-demand printing, PDFs and electronic maps.

"Think of them as the roadmap of the ocean," said Smith, who grew up with charts of Penobscot Bay on his boyhood Maine bedroom walls. "The navigational charts tell you what's under the water, which is critical for navigation."

But now most people use the on-demand maps printed by private shops, which are more up-to-date and accurate, Smith said.

Still, NOAA sells about 60,000 of the old lithographic 4-by-3 foot maps each year, for about $20 apiece, the same price it costs to print them.

The trouble is that NOAA doesn't print them, but the Federal Aviation Administration does. And they don't want to anymore to save some money, Smith said. The FAA took over federal chart-making in 1999 and on Oct. 15 told NOAA it was going to stop the presses, according to the ocean agency.

It costs NOAA about $100 million a year to survey and chart the nation's waters and it will still spend the same money, but provide the information in the less traditional way.

Sea dogs say they'll miss the charts, which also get used as decorations.

"It's the nautical history, you know pirates and ships," said Newburyport, Mass., harbormaster Paul Hogg, who has a chart on his office wall. "It seems more nautical. There's just kind of, like, a feel to it."

___

Online:

NOAA: http://www.nauticalc...paperchart.html

___

#2 toddster

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:47 PM

Geological maps have been this way for some time now.  You can buy the DVD, but if you want a paper copy, you have to take it to a shop with a large-format printer.



#3 Keith

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:59 PM

Too bad, it suddenly just got more dangerous on the water...



#4 casc27

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:12 PM

Too bad, it suddenly just got more dangerous on the water...

 

Nah, most of the people on the water don't know how to read a chart anyway.



#5 Gong Show

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:03 PM

Too bad, it suddenly just got more dangerous on the water...

 

Nah, most of the people on the water don't know how to read a chart anyway.

Most of the stupid people that are going to get into trouble don't know how to read a chart anyway!

Too bad for those of us that love our paper charts. I have an old one hanging up that has my grandfather's, my father's and my own dead reckoning pencil marks all over it.



#6 Monkey

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:08 PM

It's fine with me. I prefer printing up throw away copies because I like to write all over them.

#7 aviatorjames

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:09 PM

I like to think there will be a market for paper charts well into the future.

...and wonder if one of the European companies like Imray will start producing US charts.

 

JAMES HARRIS

"Bella Barchetta"



#8 pqbon

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:29 PM

My understanding is the NOAA won't be selling the charts - however, you will still be able to get NOAA paper charts from print-on-demand and other 3rd party NOAA chart vendors.

The big change is that NOAA won't be print them themselves...



#9 desldes desk

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:49 PM

Maybe a dumb question.... Do the print-on-demand services print on the same kind of water repellant paper? I do most of my charting electronically (ipad w/ inavx and navionics), but plan to outfit myself with paper copies as backups. Since it's a backup, being able to cope w/ water is one of the key features I desire.

 

(Since I sail club owned boats, they're all required to have a chart on board, but I enjoy the consistency of using the same thing each time rather than figuring out which chart they have and how old it is).



#10 toddster

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:54 PM

NOAA hasn't printed charts in a long time - they turned that over to the FAA print shop some time back.  But the FAA is shutting down the presses.

 

Long, long ago, I studied printing.  Learned how to use all sorts of layout tools and printing processes which became totally obsolete by the time I got out of skool.  The only place I ever see any of those machines is in junkyards.  It almost, but not quite, makes me want to rescue them.

 

And just last week, I was in a large bookstore where a whole section of shelves has been removed to make room for the "on-demand printer."  You buy the book and they print a copy for you right there.  That is, if you are so old fashioned that you can't just read it on your phone.  



#11 toddster

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:58 PM

Maybe a dumb question.... Do the print-on-demand services print on the same kind of water repellant paper? I do most of my charting electronically (ipad w/ inavx and navionics), but plan to outfit myself with paper copies as backups. Since it's a backup, being able to cope w/ water is one of the key features I desire.

 

(Since I sail club owned boats, they're all required to have a chart on board, but I enjoy the consistency of using the same thing each time rather than figuring out which chart they have and how old it is).

Yes.  You can also order them laminated.

http://www.nauticalc...gov/pod/POD.htm



#12 toddster

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:01 AM

"For a limited time" (until January) you can also download all of the PDF versions that you want, for free.

Let's not all crash the server now.

http://www.nauticalc....gov/pdfcharts/



#13 P_Wop

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:19 AM

Luckily the UK Hydrographic Office is still planning to keep printing.  They pretty well cover the globe, and since the RN did most of the initial surveys (and later ones too) they're accurate.  Most editions are current, i.e. last 3 or 5 years.  And the corrections are always available (and easily applicable if you have a purple pen.)

 

I use the SF Bay ones.  They're good.  Complete list:

 

http://www.ukho.gov....art_listing.pdf



#14 minimus

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:26 AM

Why would you want charts for anyway, much better to rely on your GPS! :P



#15 In the Jailhouse Now

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:33 AM

Too bad, it suddenly just got more dangerous on the water...

Nah, the US Government things boat owners are 1%'ers and can pay their way as needed.

Don't look for the Corp of Engineers to Dredge your entrance anytime soon.

We will all have to pay more very very soon to have the right to go sailing out of the harbors our government built, even if it was in a bad spot.



#16 Christian

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:05 AM

Maybe a dumb question.... Do the print-on-demand services print on the same kind of water repellant paper? I do most of my charting electronically (ipad w/ inavx and navionics), but plan to outfit myself with paper copies as backups. Since it's a backup, being able to cope w/ water is one of the key features I desire.

 

(Since I sail club owned boats, they're all required to have a chart on board, but I enjoy the consistency of using the same thing each time rather than figuring out which chart they have and how old it is).

 

OceanGraphix charts (print on demand) are available on water repellent paper and a waterproof (and pretty much rip-proof too)>  Available from Landfall Navigation, my favorite and I am sure other places too.  The advantage of POD charts is that they come with all current updates when printed.



#17 Lex Teredo

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:50 PM

This isn't a big deal.  There are plenty of shops around that print charts on demand.  You get a choice of several different grades of paper, from something that dissolves if your eyes get a little watery thinking about a great sail you had last week, to paper that's pretty much indistinguishable from the plastic they use for the cheaper sort of credit cards.  It's worth paying for the slightly plasticy stuff - in addition to being water resistant, it stands up to erasers, at least the good quality gum rubber ones. 



#18 Fat Point Jack

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:58 PM

Get them from our local Fat Point based company. 

 

http://www.waterproofcharts.com/



#19 Ajax

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:59 PM

How much does it typically cost to print a chart out at one of these shops? Assume an average grade of paper, unlaminated. Nothing fancy.



#20 Christian

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:34 PM

approx. 25 bucks and 10 extra for waterproof

How much does it typically cost to print a chart out at one of these shops? Assume an average grade of paper, unlaminated. Nothing fancy.



#21 drivingsouth

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:27 PM

You can also use a tool used by IT geeks and download the entire collection of PDF's ;-) 

 

It's called wget and you'd run a command that looks like "wget -r http://www.charts.noaa.gov/PDFs/". You'll get the entire freaggin' internet downloaded into your computer - or that one site at least ;)

 

You're welcome!



#22 derekclemence

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:45 PM

Great stuff, saved a lot of maps.

 

Great hint

 

Tks



#23 derekclemence

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:46 PM

Great stuff, saved a lot of maps.

 

Great hint

 

Tks



#24 toddster

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:13 PM

They also offer those "booklet charts" which are the same charts but formatted to print on a bunch of 8.5x11 pages that you keep in a notebook.  I tried a few last year, but didn't like them.   I found them disorienting and you can't really plot a course on them.  



#25 Marcjsmith

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:26 PM

You can also use a tool used by IT geeks and download the entire collection of PDF's ;-) 

 

It's called wget and you'd run a command that looks like "wget -r http://www.charts.noaa.gov/PDFs/". You'll get the entire freaggin' internet downloaded into your computer - or that one site at least ;)

 

You're welcome!

great hint...

 

285 charts and counting....  hope 100gb is enough space...



#26 blurocketsmate

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 12:48 AM

"For a limited time" (until January) you can also download all of the PDF versions that you want, for free.

Let's not all crash the server now.

http://www.nauticalc....gov/pdfcharts/

 

Let's mirror that everywhere we can.  I'll wget mine soon.

 

Raster or vector, I hope the paper-style look will continue.  No vector chart looks as good or is as readable, IMO.



#27 toddster

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:06 AM

Well, I've also noticed that even if you zoom all the way in on the coast-line... there are a lot more rocks shown on the paper charts.  Even a couple of small bays that don't show up on the chart plotter.   I.e. they seem to be at a slightly larger scale than the largest-scale vector chart.  



#28 DA-WOODY

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:52 AM

Why would you want charts for anyway, much better to rely on your  GPS!  iPhone   :P

 

fixed for stupidity  B)



#29 frozenhawaiian

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:57 AM

they're print on demand charts, from certified manufacturers, the title of this article and a few others on this piece of news is somewhat misleading. personally I'm thrilled. since these new charts will come corrected up to the day you order them, none of this having to correct a brand new chart bullshit. they've been doing this with the british admiralty charts for a number of years. hell the BAC's are better than the noaa charts anyway. 



#30 carcrash

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:23 AM

If you have Linux, or a Mac, do this in a Terminal window:

 

mkdir charts

cd charts

wget -r http://www.charts.noaa.gov/PDFs/

 

And you will eventually have all of them.

 

If you don't have wget, google will instruct you, its pretty easy.

 

For example, if you have a Mac:

Install Xcode, and the Xcode command line tools. Its free from the App store.

The go to brew.sh and read about how cool is brew, and do this:

 

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.c...xcl/homebrew/go)"

brew install wget

wget -r http://www.charts.noaa.gov/PDFs



#31 ITA602

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:48 AM

Do you know if there is a website on which European charts are available?



#32 ClubRacer.be

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:37 AM

Firefox users can use the add-onn DownThemAll!



#33 k-f-u

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:15 AM

with Opera, press the L key or Tools > Links to see all clickable links (including the PDFs) of a site. Select the PDFs, right-click and save to download folder.



#34 frozenhawaiian

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:40 PM

Do you know if there is a website on which European charts are available?

 

if you're in europe I'd skip the noaa charts and just use the british admiralty charts. 



#35 Bump-n-Grind

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:48 PM

From the NOAA website:

 

NOTE: Use the official, full scale NOAA nautical chart for real navigation whenever possible. These are available from authorized NOAA nautical chart sales agents. Screen captures of the on-line viewable charts available here do NOT fulfill chart carriage requirements for regulated commercial vessels under Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations.



#36 toddster

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:20 PM

er... why would anybody want ALL of them?  They'll be out of date before you can get around to using the ones outside your area anyway.  It would be nice to be able to download a range or a list of them though.

 

Anybody succeed in plundering the whole hog, and if so, what is the final size of the download?  



#37 Slick470

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:17 PM

total download is about 4.5G. If you use the downloader add-in for firefox you can check the box on the ones you want or select a range of them. You need to know which chart numbers you need to get the applicable ones. The NOAA descriptions can be a bit hard to understand if you aren't completely familiar with all of the landmarks in an area though.



#38 toddster

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:56 PM

Speaking of "out of date..." I'm looking at the newest chart for my area and it shows airway beacons that were torn down fifty years ago.  And docks that were destroyed in the flood of 1949   :unsure:

 

At least they have the buoys and range markers in the right places!  Some of the sand bars are always shifting though... 



#39 Mr. Andersen

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:56 PM

From the NOAA website:

 

NOTE: Use the official, full scale NOAA nautical chart for real navigation whenever possible. These are available from authorized NOAA nautical chart sales agents. Screen captures of the on-line viewable charts available here do NOT fulfill chart carriage requirements for regulated commercial vessels under Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

The charts are full sized if you take the PDF to a Professional Printer. I have no idea what they will charge though.

 

Chart# 411, The Gulf of Mexico is 48" x 35" full size.

while viewing in acrobat reader, Click File > Properties to see it's attributes.



#40 In the Jailhouse Now

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:35 PM

I just downloaded them and one thing I've always wanted to do is have a wall covered with charts pieced together to make a whole coastal layout.

 

Thanks for the links and the Downthemall FF add on. It did not take long to download them and the shtml file.



#41 Slick470

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:31 PM

Speaking of "out of date..." I'm looking at the newest chart for my area and it shows airway beacons that were torn down fifty years ago.  And docks that were destroyed in the flood of 1949   :unsure:

 

At least they have the buoys and range markers in the right places!  Some of the sand bars are always shifting though... 

My understanding is they are primarily concerned with hazards to navigation in areas where there could be liablity and only update the little details when they do a new survey of the area. Specifically, some of the depth soundings can be quite old. The older the soundings, the less accurate and frequent for a given area.

 

If that is a problem, blame it on the likelyhood the agency is understaffed and underfunded.



#42 sailfromsf

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:34 PM

You can also use a tool used by IT geeks and download the entire collection of PDF's ;-) 

 

It's called wget and you'd run a command that looks like "wget -r http://www.charts.noaa.gov/PDFs/". You'll get the entire freaggin' internet downloaded into your computer - or that one site at least ;)

 

You're welcome!

 

The command you're looking for if you only want to download the charts and not the entire NOAA website:

wget -r -np -l 1 -A shtml,pdf http://www.charts.noaa.gov/PDFs/PDFs.shtml


#43 allen

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:12 PM

These charts have been available for download and printing for a long time.  This is just another format, PDF.  Offering them in PDF format just makes it a ton easier to deal with them.  I wrote up a process for getting the charts and printing them a while ago.  It gets the charts into TIFF format so you can take Photoshop or equivalent and crop and combine to get a single chart that would otherwise take two charts if you happen to sail at the edge of two charts.  http://l-36.com/charts.php  I don't know if you can crop and combine pdf charts.

 

As I read the latest news, the limited time is a trial and if it turns out to be popular, they will continue to offer it and I assume it would always be free as all NOAA data is.

 

Also, the PDF charts are said to be identical to what is offered in the printed ones, just that they are updated regularly.

 

Allen



#44 Bill's Sock Puppet

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:41 AM

Of all those bemoaning the loss of NOAA paper charts, when is the last time you purchased one in the last five years, do you keep them updated with the weekly LNTM?

 

In family with a small printing business, I grew up on paper charts.  However, I prefer to use digital raster (RNC/BSB) and vector (ENC) charts when I can (which can be downloaded freely from NOAA.)  I also prefer the convenience of having a two sided polyart (plastic) chart rather than two NOAA charts of Long Island Sound that cover the same area.

 

The last paper charts I bought were some NOAA 12354TR Long Island Sound Eastern Part training charts to teach a navigation class.



#45 Zonker

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 02:05 AM

Thanks for the link to the UK chart list - if only they would print their visual chart index in PDF form - the only one I know is a hard bound book.  Anybody have a link to the UK chart index that isn't just a listing of the charts?

 

 

And I love how the numbers for the UK charts are TOTALLY random.  "Oh look - that number is free, I'll use that one"

 

British Isles - 2

Chagos Archipelago - 3

Approaches to Weipa (Australia) - 4



#46 riggert

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:22 AM

Thanks for the link to the UK chart list - if only they would print their visual chart index in PDF form - the only one I know is a hard bound book.  Anybody have a link to the UK chart index that isn't just a listing of the charts?

 

 

And I love how the numbers for the UK charts are TOTALLY random.  "Oh look - that number is free, I'll use that one"

 

British Isles - 2

Chagos Archipelago - 3

Approaches to Weipa (Australia) - 4

goto http://www.ukho.gov....Pages/Home.aspx

and download then install - not PDF but not bad



#47 -Julian-

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:05 PM

"For a limited time" (until January) you can also download all of the PDF versions that you want, for free.

Let's not all crash the server now.

http://www.nauticalc....gov/pdfcharts/

This may be a dumb question, but haven't NOAA charts always been available for download?

 

I have raster copies of charts that I downloaded years ago from the NOAA website, and another that I got from their site in september.  Why would they limit the availability of PDF charts?



#48 ACF1

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:56 PM

Of all those bemoaning the loss of NOAA paper charts, when is the last time you purchased one in the last five years, do you keep them updated with the weekly LNTM?

 

In family with a small printing business, I grew up on paper charts.  However, I prefer to use digital raster (RNC/BSB) and vector (ENC) charts when I can (which can be downloaded freely from NOAA.)  I also prefer the convenience of having a two sided polyart (plastic) chart rather than two NOAA charts of Long Island Sound that cover the same area.

 

The last paper charts I bought were some NOAA 12354TR Long Island Sound Eastern Part training charts to teach a navigation class.

What is the difference between the RNC charts and the PDF ones?  Just format?  Thanks. 



#49 pogen

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:22 PM

PNG versions of all the NOAA charts current up to November 2011 may be found here

 

http://xpda.com/nauticalcharts/



#50 Bill's Sock Puppet

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:24 AM

Of all those bemoaning the loss of NOAA paper charts, when is the last time you purchased one in the last five years, do you keep them updated with the weekly LNTM?

 

In family with a small printing business, I grew up on paper charts.  However, I prefer to use digital raster (RNC/BSB) and vector (ENC) charts when I can (which can be downloaded freely from NOAA.)  I also prefer the convenience of having a two sided polyart (plastic) chart rather than two NOAA charts of Long Island Sound that cover the same area.

 

The last paper charts I bought were some NOAA 12354TR Long Island Sound Eastern Part training charts to teach a navigation class.

What is the difference between the RNC charts and the PDF ones?  Just format?  Thanks. 

In this case RNC stands for Raster Navigation Charts - not to be confused with the extension .RNC which is used for the Relax NG programming language.

 

When you download the Raster charts from NOAA you actually get a pair of files for each chart .BSB and .KAP

 

They are basically a specialized graphics file format.  This website explains how to use BSB converter (free for windows and linux) to convert NOAA's native BSB format to PNG, JPEG, or TIFF.  



#51 Bill's Sock Puppet

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 12:44 AM

The following the opinion from a printer local to the Annapolis area:

Have Lithographic Print Nautical Charts Gone Down With the Ship? by Holly Budd
 
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced  that to save money, the government will stop printing the traditional lithographic paper chart, that has been NOAA’s signature product, trusted by mariners, since President Thomas Jefferson asked for a survey of the coast in 1807.
 
 
Are we hastening the demise of printed maps and charts?  We often jump to new technology and online mapping without adequately considering the effect on the public; it’s like everybody running to one side of the boat to see what’s going on and making it capsize.
 
For example, the US Geological Survey used to have a very good printing plant that produced maps not only for USGS, but the Bureau of Land Management as well, not to mention collaborating with numerous state geological surveys to produce printed map products.  Unfortunately their leadership with their crystal ball foresaw the demise of hard copy maps back around 2000.  Their printing plant with decades of expertise and experience is now gone.  Ironically, the only thing that is not gone is the demand for hard copy maps.  Last year they were compelled to solicit a contract for the printing and distribution of their topo products, of which they still sell about 350,000 maps a year.  That’s not too bad, for a product that the publisher has tried to discourage people from using.
 
Interestingly, NOAA used to be under the Dept. of Commerce.   NOAA is a recent addition to the Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA), which is under Dept. of Transportation.   This means that none of the higher ups in FAA or DOT came up through the ranks in NOAA.  Hence, they have no history with the nautical charts and see no perceived value.
 
NOAA’s core job is to provide charts for commercial shipping.  It continues to meet this requirement through the POD’s.  A NOAA authorized Print on Demand (POD) chart is printed within a day or two of the date it is ordered and contains all the published critical chart corrections.
 

The recreational boater, however, has been abandoned.

“There is no question that many boaters and tourists will miss the days when they could drop by a shop to pick up a traditional nautical chart that was printed by the government. Stores offer more than convenience… They are a valuable resource for local information, marine expertise, and friendship.” (FAQs PDF)

 

The good news is that, while the federal government will no longer print lithographic nautical charts, they are now testing a new product: during a trial period from Oct 22, 2013 to Jan 22, 2014, they are making about a thousand nautical charts available in printable PDF format for free download.


The new printable PDF charts, at 400 dpi, continue the traditional look, with the same colors. Charts printed from the PDF file, are suitable for planning and public display. ... continue reading



#52 wcz3176

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 02:08 AM

The UKHO charts are indeed really good - but I bet that the link above is only to the catalogue (sic). They charge through the nose for their e-charts (called ARCS) - and even then you only get a dongle that expires a year later, Least that is how it was  a while back, Note also that the NOAA charts available on line for free are only for US waters. Does anyone have links to free or affordable raster Canadian charts? INavX for Canada for instance still charge a lot for relatively small areas, like it was when NDI were selling them on discs. So cruising to Newfoundland for instance as we did this summer, becomes a significant budget item if you want to buy current digital vector charts and arent prepared to go with with raster Navionics.



#53 Throatwarbler-Mangrove

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:21 PM

Interestingly, NOAA used to be under the Dept. of Commerce.   NOAA is a recent addition to the Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA), which is under Dept. of Transportation.   This means that none of the higher ups in FAA or DOT came up through the ranks in NOAA.  Hence, they have no history with the nautical charts and see no perceived value.
 
NOAA’s core job is to provide charts for commercial shipping.  It continues to meet this requirement through the POD’s.  A NOAA authorized Print on Demand (POD) chart is printed within a day or two of the date it is ordered and contains all the published critical chart corrections.

Not true. 

 

NOAA is still under Commerce.  And NOAA's got a lot of "core job(s)"., including NWS, NHC, earth sensing satellites, research, fisheries, conservation as well as the coast survey.  And the Marine Chart Division's mission  and org chart does not distinguish between commercial and recreational navigation. 






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