NOAA and the United States Power Squadrons (USPS) have worked together for over 40-years in a program called Cooperative Charting. Under the Cooperative Charting Program, USPS members submit reports to NOAA on the condition of nautical charts, geodetic control points, and the adequacy of tide and current predictions. NOAA uses this information to update its suite of 1000 nautical charts and the U.S. Coast Pilot.
In 1963, NOAA’s predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS), recognized that maintenance of the suite of nautical charts that cover the U.S. was a challenging task with the sparse resources at hand. Many charts would go uninspected by C&GS surveyors for decades. The idea behind the establishment of the Cooperative Charting Program was for local Power Squadron members to scrutinize their local charts for accuracy and report discrepancies to the government.
One of the cornerstones of the Cooperative Charting Program is the “Adopt a Chart” program. Under this activity, local squadrons take ownership of selected NOAA nautical charts in their area. Each year, USPS members inspect their adopted chart for discrepancies and file reports with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. After a specified number of reports have been submitted, a written acknowledgement of a particular squadrons work is published on new editions of charts. Power Squadrons throughout the country have adopted over 125 NOS nautical charts.
Over the last decade, Power Squadron members have become very sophisticated in the type and quality of data they provide to NOAA. Most nautical charting reports are positioned using Differential or Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) receivers. Many members collect depths with echo sounders, merge these depths with GPS positions on a computer, and forward the data digitally to NOAA.
NOAA and USPS have recently entered a new era in Cooperative Charting. NOAA computer programmers have worked closely with members of the Power Squadrons to develop a web based data entry system called CCWEB (Coop Charting Web). USPS now have the ability to report all Cooperative Charting activities through this system. CCWEB has drastically increased the ease in which reports can be submitted to NOAA. In addition, the data arrives in a standard format, making it more readily usable by Coast Survey cartographers.
Link to CCWEB