Jump to Current  
     •   Coast Survey Publishes New Editions of Eastern Long Island Sound Nautical Charts  
     •   NOAA Publishes Updated Cobscook Bay Area Chart  
     •   U.S. Chart No. 1 Moves into Electronic Age  
     •   New Mobile App Provides Free Nautical Charts for Recreational Boating  
     •   NOAA starts 2013 post-Sandy surveys at Statue of Liberty  
     •   Public Invited to Hydrographic Services Review Panel Webinar  

Coast Survey Plans for New Arctic Nautical Charts

     •   Cmdr. Shepard Smith is New Chief of Marine Chart Division  
     •   U.S. and Canada eliminate overlapping ENC coverage in the Great Lakes  
     •   NOAA's Navigation Services speed post-SANDY recovery  
     •   Will Boaters use QR Codes on Print-on-Demand Charts?  
     •   Happy Holidays from Coast Survey  
     •   NOAA names Glang nation's hydrographer, director of Coast Survey  
     •   NOAA Ship Fairweather Conducting Hydrographic
Reconnaissance Survey of the Arctic
     •   NOAA Commissions New Survey Vessel Ferdinand R. Hassler  
     •   Boston Survey for Harborfest and Hurricane Prep  
     •   Changes to US-Canada ENC coverage effective July 26  
     •   New Chart Inset Makes for Safer Sailing in Norfolk Inner Harbor  
     •   Upgraded NOAA Charts Help Mariners Avoid Right Whales  
     •   Is a Coast Survey Team Coming to Your Home Port?  
     •   Sea Floor Survey Support Texas Maritime Trade  
     •   New Edition of U.S. Chart No. 1 Available Now  
     •   Changes to US-Canada ENC Coverage - Effective Dec. 15  
     •   NOAA's Newest Chart Supports Puerto Rico Maritime Economy  
     •   Thomas Jefferson Surveys Block Island Sound  
     •   NOAA Charts Provide More Info, Faster  
     •   NOAA Responds to Irene in Hampton Roads  
     •   NOAA National Ocean Service Prepares for Hurricane Aftermath  
     •   NOAA Seeks Your Opinion on Navigation Services  
     •   Bay Hydro II Helps Boat in Distress  
     •   NOAA Ship Fairweather Sets Sail to Map Areas of the Arctic  
     •   New Leadership for Coast Survey's Navigation Services Division  
     •   New Report Tells of U.S. Coast Survey Scientific Role in the Civil War  
     •   June 21 is World Hydrography Day  
     •   NOAA Encourages Boaters to Get Up-to-Date Nautical Charts for Spring  
     •   NOAA Updates U.S. Virgin Islands Hydrographic Data in Protected Reef Areas  
     •   Civil War Maps and Charts are Available Free to the Public  
     •   Coast Survey Responds to March 11 Tsunami  
     •   U.S. Collaborates with Arctic Coastal States to Improve Nautical Charts  
     •   Map Innovation Aids Pro-Union Cause, 1861  
     •   Coast Survey Unveils Special Collection of Civil War Maps & Charts  
     •   Nautical Charts Come Alive with New Poster Series  
     •   Coast Survey Contracts for LIDAR Hydrograpic Data  
     •   NOAA Ship Fairweather Maps Aid Shipping Through Bering Straits  
     •   Coast Survey Ready to Assist with Hurricane Recovery  
     •   NOAA Coast Survey Updates Hydrographic Survey Priorities  
     •   NOAA Nautical Charts Display Deepwater BP Oil Spill Projections  
     •   Coast Survey Scientist Adds NOAA Vision to Marine Transportation Research Needs  
     •   June 21 is World Hydrography Day!  
     •   Thomas Jefferson Undertakes Research Mission in the Gulf  
     •   nowCOAST Information Now Easier to Access  
     •   NOAA Sponsors New Alliance to Promote Navigation Safety  
     •   NOAA Warns Mariners of Serious Display Issue with ECDIS  
     •   NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson to Map Ocean Floor in Gulf of Mexico  
     •   Removal of LORAN-C Features from Nautical Products  
     •   Captain John Lowell Named Director of OCS  
     •   Recovery Funds Help Maritime Navigation  
     •   Whale Struck by Mapping Vessel  
     •   New Survey Vessel Being Readied for Action  
     •   ’Hydropalooza’ Provides Deeper Understanding of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay  
     • OCS Ready for Hurricane Season  
     • NOAA and OSU Map Oregon’s Seafloor  
     •   Healy Returns from Mapping Expedition in the Arctic  
     •   Hydropalooza Kicks Off in Alaska's Kachemak Bay  
     •   OCS Dedicates R/V Bay Hydro II  
     •   Revised Reprint Nautical Charts  
     •   Removal of LORAN-C Lattices from Charts  

NOAA Ship Fairweather Conducting Hydrographic
Reconnaissance Survey of the Arctic
Ferdinand_R_Hassler NOAA Ship Fairweather starts Arctic
reconnaissance survey on Aug 1, 2012

NOAA Ship Fairweather begins a 30-day survey mission in the Arctic on August 1. The reconnaissance hydrographic survey aims to check sparse soundings acquired by early U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey field parties and data gathered by other agencies along a 1,500 nautical mile coastal corridor from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to the Canadian border. The survey will provide the information needed to determine NOAA’s future charting survey projects in the Arctic.

“Much of Alaska’s coastal area has never had full bottom bathymetric surveys to measure water depths,” observes Cmdr. James Crocker, commanding officer of the Fairweather, and chief scientist of the party. “Modern ships navigating sea lanes in the Arctic should not be expected to trust ocean depth measurements reported by Captain Cook in 1778. A tanker, carrying millions of gallons of oil, should not be asked to rely on measurements gathered in the 19th century.”

“Unfortunately, that’s exactly what navigators have to do, in too many cases. NOAA is changing that,” Crocker pointed out.

NOAA has made it a priority to update the nautical charts needed by commercial shippers, tankers, passenger vessels, and fishing fleets transiting the Alaskan coastline in ever-greater numbers. In June 2011, Coast Survey issued the Arctic Nautical Charting Plan, a major effort to update Arctic nautical charts for the fairways, approaches, and ports along the Alaskan coast.

Click to enlarge

“Expected increases of Arctic maritime traffic, putting greater demands on the Arctic maritime system, require accurate and precise navigational data,” says Kathryn Ries, acting director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “The sheer size of the task -- the coast length of 921 nautical miles is really 2,191 miles of low tidal shoreline once you figure in the bays and inlets --- demands a rigorous process of prioritization for NOAA surveying and charting.”

Before NOAA cartographers can update nautical charts, they need the depth measurements and other data gathered by the NOAA survey vessels.

Huge swaths of the northern Alaskan maritime corridor are charted with soundings gathered before today’s technology was able to provide the precision and accuracy needed by today’s mariners. Those early measurements were taken by vessels that lacked exact positioning, didn’t have precision sounding equipment, and didn’t have experts who could ensure accurate measurements and locations.

While the survey is scheduled to take depth soundings on a zigzag pattern along a defined corridor, the sea ice near Barrow may interfere with the last leg of the project. Fairweather may have to stop short of the Canadian border if ice doesn’t recede as needed. Crocker will make the decision to proceed, or to conduct requested scientific projects instead, when Fairweather gets closer to Point Barrow.

For more information on the history of U.S. Arctic charting, see the Coast Survey blog post, Arctic survey reconnaissance begets nautical charting renaissance.


# # #

July 31, 2012

User Survey  | Privacy Policy  |  Disclaimer  |  NOAA's National Ocean Service  |  NOAA  |  U.S. Department of Commerce 
Web site owner: NOAA Office of Coast Survey