Future of Marine Charts in USA

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jimh
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Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:37 am

The Marine Chart Division of the Office of Coast Survey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published (on February 28, 2017) a document called "National Charting Plan, A Strategy to Transform Nautical Charting." An electronic version of the document can be retrieved from

https://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/docs/NationalChartingPlan.pdf

If ever a document needed an executive summary, it is this one. I have read twice, and I am not certain what its message really is. The document describes in detail a "strategy" for future nautical charts, but does not seem to inform readers of any particular dates of implementation. The most significant changes in "strategy" for the future appear to me to be:

--no more paper charts, except a few very small-scale charts for planning purposes;

--depth data in meters, not feet

On page 26 of the document, under the heading of "VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE NAUTICAL CHARTING" the authors say, "The reduction or elimination of traditional paper nautical charts seems likely..."

On page 18 of the document, under the heading of "Metrification of ENC and Raster Charts," the authors say, "Coast Survey is now reinvestigating the feasibility of converting all depth values into meters on both ENC and raster charts."

White Bear
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby White Bear » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:30 pm

So what is surprising about either the elimination of paper charts or the metrication of measurements? The first idea simply follows the trend that affects all manner of communication as we slide into a completely electronic age. The second is part of our Government's effort to make the U.S. part of the World Order. There have been setbacks to this program but, as manufacturing becomes truly multi-national, metrics will prevail. By the way I'm not a fan of metrics but I recently had to perform a rather complex volume calculation and must admit it was much easier using metric measurements.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:21 pm

BEAR requires to know:

So what is surprising about ...the elimination of paper charts?


If no paper printed charts are available, then all mariners must install electronic chart displays and information systems (ECDIS) in order to have access to NOAA electronic charts. This seems like a burden on mariners. How does one make trip plans? Do you have two ECDIS devices, one in the boat and one at home?

To make a very good analogy, it would be similar to a state declaring it would no longer print road maps of the highways in its state, but would make electronic vector maps available for motorists who had compatible devices installed in their automobiles and homes.

So what is surprising about ...metrification of measurements?


Use of meters to indicate water depth is unheard of in USA water.

To make a very good analogy, it would be similar to a state deciding to mark all the bridge clearances on the highway in meters. Almost no motorists would have any notion of the height of their vehicle in meters.

jimh
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:11 pm

A further problem with elimination of paper charts: while many recreational boaters with small boat already have some sort of electronic chart plotter, just about ZERO models of recreation-grade electronic chart plotters can use NOAA ENC or RNC electronic charts. That's right: ZERO. There are some recreational chart plotters from RAYMARINE that can use NOAA charts, but not from NOAA and not in their native format. You have to depend on the manufacturer, RAYMARINE, to provide the NOAA chart in some special digital version for use with their chart plotter.

This situation is unlikely to change, as manufacturers of chart plotters, particularly GARMIN, are often also publishers of electronic charts, and, quite naturally, they want their customers who buy chart plotters to use the same brand of chart, so they make it just about IMPOSSIBLE to use any electronic chart other than their own brand. This makes me believe that, barring some significant change in the market for recreational chart plotters, that recreational boaters will not be able to make any use of NOAA charts in electronic format. The effect of NOAA to change to only publishing electronic charts will be to deprive recreational boaters of any new charts from NOAA. That seems like a rather significant alteration of the status quo, and, I believe qualifies as a SURPRISE.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:13 pm

A further problem with the change to showing water depth in meters: this appears to be done as an accommodation for foreign vessels, from seafaring nations that use meters for depth. While it is quite wonderful that our government amends its manner of publishing charts to convenience commercial ships from foreign nations that want to navigate in our water, I don't think that our government should disenfranchise its own boaters, among whom just about ZERO boaters presently prefer water depth to be shown in meters.

6992WHALER
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby 6992WHALER » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:23 pm

Jim,
Did the article mention anything about NOAA not updating shore features on Charts? For example not adding new towers, or not showing the removal of a tower.
My understanding is that NOAA has stopped doing this.
John

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby Hoosier » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:40 pm

In some ways this is "much ado about nothing". If NOAA forces us recreational boaters into the metric world that we don't like the equipment vendors already provide a "Units" selection to have depths in: meters, fathoms, feet, inches, degrees F, degrees C, Km, NM, SM, or skeg lenghts ( if you put in your motor model....;-)... These are digital data files so they can be made into anything....
1978 Outrage V20 with 2004 Suzuki DF-115. 1992 23 Walkaround with two 2010 Yamaha F-150s.

jimh
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:09 pm

I have purchased electronic charts from the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS). The sounding data on these charts is in meters. There is no way for any device to convert the data in meters on these electronic charts into feet--at least not any chart plotter that I am aware of. The sounding data on the electronic CHS charts is in meters, and that is all you can get from the charts. Period. No options.

I invite Dave to explain how I can convert the CHS chart soundings to feet, and what chart plotter to use to read the data. The CHS charts are in BSB format.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby Hoosier » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:06 pm

I believe that if the charts are Vector charts the units are convertable, if not--Oh Well. It's just like a km is about 1/2 NM.
1978 Outrage V20 with 2004 Suzuki DF-115. 1992 23 Walkaround with two 2010 Yamaha F-150s.

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Dutchman
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby Dutchman » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:36 am

Metric is easier. You have been using it every time you look at your Barometer and when using money. Most if not all units in the medical field are metric. Ever noticed that when the nurse weighs you in at the Dr. office she uses kg and not lbs. When getting an injection it is in cc's and pills are in grams (such as 325mg Aspirin or 81mg for the baby size)
1/10th of a km is 100 meters which is much easier to assess than 1/10th of a mile which is ? feet (528ft)
Like White bear said it is a lot easier to work in metric when measuring. (metric - - -> measure)
The problem lies in converting Metric to SI as evidenced by several mishaps in the late 1990-ies at NASA with several satellites that were lost.
Jim all you have to do is make sure you have 1 meter depth under your Whaler.
As for printed charts to me they are still very valuable. Just last week I was boating around in the marshes, rivers, and ICW in SE Georgia and it is of great help to know where a snaking river/through way goes at what depth before you choose it and don't have to turn around when you discover it becomes to shallow.
Yes it is a pain to have electronic charts at home for planning and your chart plotter on the vessel, but it is getting easier and easier monthly with apps for our hand held computers we call phones.
last but not least I wouldn't worry about it as wasn't it under Carter in the 1970's that passed a federal law to make the US adhere to the Metric system and now 40 years later we are still using SI here in the States.
EJO
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jimh
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:54 am

Metric is easier.
Yes, Easy-peasy. Next time I am on the water in my REVENGE 6.7-meter with its 167.8-kW propulsion engine turning its 43-centimeter pitch propeller, I will tune my marine radio to 1.89155-meter wavelength, then increase throttle to full and see if I can hit my usual top speed of about 17-meters-per-second, whilst checking my fuel economy to see if it is still about 78.4-liters per 100-kilometers. Many thanks to Jimmy Carter for the mandate.

Maybe next we can change over to 50-Hz power at 230-VAC. That should be a major improvement for foreign ships visiting our ports.

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Dutchman
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby Dutchman » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:33 pm

jimh wrote:
Metric is easier.
Yes, Easy-peasy. Next time I am on the water in my REVENGE 6.7-meter with its 167.8-kW propulsion engine turning its 43-centimeter pitch propeller, I will tune my marine radio to 1.89155-meter wavelength, then increase throttle to full and see if I can hit my usual top speed of about 17-meters-per-second, whilst checking my fuel economy to see if it is still about 78.4-liters per 100-kilometers. Many thanks to Jimmy Carter for the mandate.

Maybe next we can change over to 50-Hz power at 230-VAC. That should be a major improvement for foreign ships visiting our ports.


Jim nice conversion but some incorrect assumption were made. This is where a lot of problems arise between converting.
Yes your REVENGE would be called out as 6,7 meter (note the comma) and yes your 225 HP would convert into 167,8 kW or 167.782,50 watts.
As for dimensions of the prop most are done in mm unless over 100-200 mm than cm or m come into play. So you bore would be expressed in mm, your diameter most likely in cm or mm and you pitch in fractional meters. (I thought your prop has more than an 18" pitch)
Marine Radio waves are expressed mostly MHz (mega Hertz) and in the case of our VHF (Very High Frequency) radios the channels are about 50 kilohertz apart in either the Tx (Transmit) or Rx (Receive) frequencies and not in meter wavelengths. But you knew that already having read many of you posts in small electric.
Speed for vehicles (car, boat, trucks, air planes, bicycles, etc.) are expressed in kmh (seldom with a decimal) and not m/s unless you are going faster than the speed of sound, therefore in your Whaler's case 61 kmh or maybe 61,2 kmh.
As for fuel usage you can use liters per 100 km but quite often the distance traveled per 1 liter is used, such as 1:19,2 for a Prius or 1:1,28 for your Revenge. So that Prius can travel 15 times farther on a liter than your Whaler, but we all know pleasure boats are inefficient transportation.
Yes it would be better to have 50Hz electrical service here as more than 89% of the world's population deals with that frequency. If you go by country name only yes 22.5% use 60Hz, but that is only because of all the islands in the Caribbean & Pacific and countries where the US had a major influence (North/Central & some South America) and/or fought a war.

Change is hard (to accept) and as said before don't worry about Carter's mandate or any other as it won't happen in our lifetime here in the US.
EJO
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jimh
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:28 pm

Oops--I forgot to mention the air temperature and wind speeds. Air was a pleasant 22 and wind was freshening at West 40.

We got some fuel. An imperial gallon of 95 RON gasoline was only two-pounds, five-shillings, seven-pence, and a ha'penny, plus or minus a farthing. We didn't have any Soverigns so we paid with two quids, and threw the dock boy a bob.

By the way there is an interesting book--I think I mentioned this before--about how the METER was intended to be 1/10,000,000 of the distance from the equator to the pole on a meridian running through France. The meter was to be determined by careful distance measurement along this meridian. But one of the astronomers making the actual measurements had some troubles and his data was suspect. So the initial basis of the meter was based on bad data. For an interesting read, see

The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World
by Ken Adler
https://www.amazon.com/Measure-All-Thin ... 0743216768

The meter has since been redefined. With the latest definition, it turns out the speed of light is EXACTLY 299 792 458 meters per second. That seems like quite an unusual number. Maybe we should have defined the meter in terms of the speed of light, and not the other way around. The speed of light seems like a much more universal constant--as in constant across the universe--than the circumference of the Earth being about 40,000,000-meters. What significance is there to a meter being an arbitrary fraction of the circumference of our planet to someone on another planet?

And with METER we can't even decide on the spelling. Is it METRE, like in France? Maybe so, since it was the French who invented it.

Problems with commas and decimal points are problems in NOTATION, not in UNITS.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby knothead » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:36 am

Soo-o, what's the conversion factor for fathoms to meters and vice versa? Ever notice that many large scale charts are in fathoms. Change over my foot, NEVER!

regards---knothead

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby Ducktown » Wed May 03, 2017 5:58 pm

Converting to [the Metric system of length measurement] won't make much difference if your plotter malfunctions or you suffer a loss of power. Where will your map be then?

jimh
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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Wed May 03, 2017 6:13 pm

Before worrying about a power failure, worry about incompatible versions of map format and chart plotter display. Maybe the NOAA guys decide, hey, we need a new feature and change the map format to a new revision. Your chart plotter works great, but can't read the NOAA charts any more. This happens all the time with computer-based products.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby padrefigure » Thu May 04, 2017 3:31 pm

When all navigation information was anecdotal, we had a compelling need to gather accurate data and disseminate it in a consistent format. No doubt safety and convenience both benefitted greatly. But today, almost every power or sail boat has the ability to plot a course and measure depth continuously. The technology used could also record this data, in effect creating a continuous mapping process that changes in real time with the environment. What is not well conceived of today is a way to aggregate all of this data and then push back out to users in a way that is useful to them. Crowd sourcing if you will.

If you looked at this a different way--if you owned an oil tanker or nuclear submarine, would you depend on a paper chart based on 20 year old data for navigation? I don't think so. You would use satellite and sonar technology to the greatest extent possible to avoid catastrophe.

And finally, should tax payers shoulder the burden of continuously mapping navigation routes when there is a market solution available? Of course not.

So if you are in love with a paper chart, head down to Kinko's and print it out. It will make interesting wrapping paper when you clean out your file cabinet.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Wed May 31, 2017 1:28 pm

There are only two days left to file a comment electronically about the proposed plan to eliminate paper charts. To file a comment follow these instructions:

NOAA National Charting Plan
USER FEEDBACK

Professional mariners, recreational boaters, data providers, navigational equipment manufacturers, and other users of NOAA charts are invited to review and comment on the National Charting Plan. The plan may be downloaded from the Office of Coast Survey website at https://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/docs/NationalChartingPlan.pdf.

How to Provide Comments on this Charting Plan
You are invited to comment on the National Charting Plan through NOAA's Nautical Discrepancy Report System at http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/idrs/discrepancy.aspx

At the electronic form, in the field PRODUCTS AFFECTED BY DISCREPANCY enter "NCP"

At the electronic form, in the field DESCRIPTION OF DISCREPANCY enter your comments.

You can also compose your comments and save to a file of type .DOC or .DOCX or .TXT and upload the comments.

If you want to get on record with your comments, hurry: the last day for comments is June 1, 2017.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jimh » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:38 am

The last day for submission of comments about the NOAA National Charting Plan is now in the past. I hope you expressed your views to NOAA.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby Landlocked » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:24 pm

In my business we historically relied heavily upon US Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 minute topographical maps. I've got flat file drawers full of them - each purchased for about 8-10 bucks apiece. Beginning about 20 years ago, several companies started digitizing these maps. Delorme' Topo USA was one of the first. For a few hundred bucks at the time I was able to purchase coverage of the entire Contiguous USA. Enough maps to fill multiple filing cabinets all available at my fingertips at a tiny fraction of the cost. Now, 20 years later, I can stream TOPO maps for free through my ArcGIS account (or any number of other accounts available online). I can overlay them on aerials, soils maps, geologic maps etc. I can measure across them in miles, meters, feet, hectares, or acres with a push of a button (and across multiple maps). Heck, I can even use a tool developed by the USGS to delineate watersheds on those maps automatically. I can't imagine going back to the old way. That seems to be a pretty common opinion of other regular users. Recently at a conference I was at, a representative of the US Army Corps of Engineers brought thousands of paper Tennessee Topo maps and laid them out on a table with a sign that said "free" He told me they simply don't use them anymore. As soon as technologies like LIDAR become more freely available none of us will use TOPO anymore unless we are doing historical research. The whole state of Tennessee will be available with 1-2 foot contours next year for FREE! Mississippi and much of Alabama are already on line. Things change.

GeoTiffs or GeoJPGs are both examples of formats into which existing charts could be scanned to provide a georeferenced image usable on any number of devices from your desktop to many consumer GPS chart plotters. I did this recently for a friend who wanted me to plot his GPS points on full size charts so he could hang them on his wall. Really no big deal - just need a few control points and you can get any paper map correct in the X and Y. True, the units on the map itself may be feet or meters and you can't change that but you can measure on top of the map using software tools using any unit you would like. I suspect, NOAA will eventually publish true electronic Charts correct in the X, Y, and Z coordinates. Once this happens switching your view from feet to meters to fathoms and back again will be as simple a flipping a switch. Till then be glad you have the X and Y and use your sonar!

Someday we'll all be glad things changed. At least most of us will. If you want backup for when the unit fails nothing stopping anyone from doing what I do. I Plan my trips at home on a PC and print out paper maps of my route as backup. Cool thing is, I can print them as overlays on High resolution aerials now so finding map points in the real world is pretty dang easy.

Heck - I still wish the Sears and Roebuck catalog was around. I loved looking at it but truth be known, I'd probably just use it to pick things out and then go on Amazon to try and find it cheaper. Things change.

Ll.

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Re: Future of Marine Charts in USA

Postby jcdawg83 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:28 pm

I would simply say; whatever the government decides to do, it will mess it up as much as is humanly possible while enriching some politician and his cronies.