NOAA’s paper nautical charts get a needed update – literally

A nice history of NOAA chart printing & lithographic paper charts. NOAA made 169 copies of it’s nautical charts in 1844. After the lithographic printing process became available they were turning out 50,000 charts annually by the end of the Civil War and produced over 100 million maps and charts in World War II for Allied Forces.

A side note on up to date charts that we all take for granted today. During WWII the U.S obtained copies of the “most recent surveys” for some of the Pacific Islands they were invading. The source & date you wonder? The British explorations of the late 1700’s!!

With the demise of lithographic charts, Captains Nautical here in Seattle will continue to print the on demand charts as they have for years.

I will however miss the look of the “traditional” charts.

Paper nautical charts hold a special spot in a sailor’s heart – and in the chart table. The October announcement that the federal government will stop bulk lithographic printing of nautical charts brought some understandable angst to boaters – but fear not! NOAA may be changing the chart production process but we will NOT stop the production of paper charts. We are working with private companies to make them better: printed in brighter colors and available for fast delivery to your door. Most importantly, they are up-to-date to the moment you order it. These improved paper charts are NOAA-certified print-on-demand (POD) nautical charts, created by NOAA Coast Survey cartographers.

While the lithographic paper charts will go away in 2014, anyone can order almost* any printed NOAA chart any time, from the comfort of your home, office, or boat. Just bookmark to find the NOAA-certified chart seller who will print…

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