NOAA encourages all mariners to use NOAA ENC® for latest updates and other advantages

ECDIS display on the bridge of a tanker ship.

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey maintains a suite of over 1,000 NOAA electronic navigational charts (ENC) and paper nautical charts, and like many other chart producing nations, maintains an ENC focused production process called “ENC-first.” That is, ENCs are the “first” or primary nautical product, and new data is compiled onto ENCs before all other products.

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U.S. Coast Pilot® now contains Navigation Rules

NOAA recently announced that all nine United States Coast Pilot®  volumes now contain the U.S. Coast Guard International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (72 COLREGS) and the Inland Navigation Rules — commonly known as the “Rules of the Road.” The navigation rules are similar to rules on the highway as they present a consistent way to navigate safely and avoid collisions. Having the newly published Coast Pilot now fulfills the legal requirement for mariners to maintain a copy of these regulations on board.

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Coast Survey spotlight: Meet Steve Soherr

Steve working to portray spatial information.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a member of the NOAA Coast Survey team? We use the Coast Survey spotlight blog series as a way to periodically share the experiences of Coast Survey employees as they discuss their work, background, and advice.


Steve Soherr, customer affairs specialist

“I think there’s really an art to presenting spatial information in a way that allows users to quickly glean far more information than would be possible by using text alone. I’m part of a team that is working to accurately and efficiently portray information that is always changing.”

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NOAA Improves Etolin Strait Data with New NOAA ENC® Layout

Etolin Strait survey area and reschemed grid

NOAA recently released 13 new large-scale electronic navigational charts (NOAA ENC®) of Etolin Strait, Alaska. These charts provide a nearly twenty-fold increase in scale over the previous ENC coverage. New Etolin Strait hydrographic surveys and the resulting ENCs served as a pilot project for the overall rescheming of the entire NOAA ENC suite with a regular, gridded layout for ENC charts, as outlined in NOAA’s National Charting Plan. No corresponding NOAA raster nautical chart products in Etolin Strait will be produced. This is in keeping with Coast Survey’s “ENC-only” production concept, which generally maintains the current raster chart product coverage, but only creates new larger scale coverage in the ENC product line.

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nowCOAST® offers new Gulf of Maine, Chesapeake Bay forecast services

Depiction of NOS Vv probability of occurrence forecast guidance for Chesapeake Bay on nowCOAST map viewer.

NOAA’s nowCOAST®, a GIS-based online web mapping service that provides frequently updated weather and ocean observations, analyses, imagery, and ocean model forecast guidance, along with weather watches and warnings and forecasts, now provides maps of oceanographic forecast guidance from the National Ocean Service (NOS) 3-D operational forecast modeling system for the Gulf of Maine (GoMOFS) and NOS forecast guidance of the marine pathogen, Vibrio Vulnificus (Vv), for the Chesapeake Bay via two new map services and map viewer. Continue reading “nowCOAST® offers new Gulf of Maine, Chesapeake Bay forecast services”

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson tests drone use for shoreline mapping

By, Lt. j.g. Matt Sharr, NOAA, and Lt. Charles Wisotzkey, NOAA

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) recently conducted operational tests of small unmanned aerial systems — or drones — on board NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson in support of survey operations conducted along the south coast of Puerto Rico. The tests show the potential of imagery from low-cost off-the-shelf drones to meet NOAA survey specifications for near-shore and shoreline feature mapping. This could replace traditional shoreline verification and mapping techniques used by NOAA hydrographic survey field units. Potential benefits of using drones for shoreline mapping include: improved data collection efficiency compared to data collection from small skiffs; more accurate feature investigation than traditional techniques; and, most importantly, removal of personnel from potentially dangerous situations (i.e. survey in close proximity to features being mapped). Continue reading “NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson tests drone use for shoreline mapping”

NOAA supports Coast Guard and Marine Corps resume training following Hurricane Florence

LTJG Debroisse and BMC Rootz

By, Lt. j.g. Patrick Debroisse

Hurricane Florence came ashore along the North Carolina coast on September 14, 2018, bringing Category 1 force winds and substantial amounts of rain and storm surge. One of the areas affected by the storm was the United States Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, which suffered infrastructure and waterway damage. Camp Lejeune is home to the Second Marine Division, multiple training commands, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Special Missions Training Center (SMTC). The Coast Guard uses the waters around the camp for small boat tactics training. Continue reading “NOAA supports Coast Guard and Marine Corps resume training following Hurricane Florence”

NOAA preserves history of Washington, DC, with reproduced L’Enfant maps

This copper plate, named No. 3043 PRICE 45 CENTS, is one of the 3000 series of special products produced by Coast Survey’s predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The Coast and Geodetic Survey primarily made nautical charts, but a number of maps in the 3000 series were instead maps of some thematic factor of interest (i.e., the Slaver Map, No. 3033; Glacier Bay, Alaska, No. 3095).

By Capt. Albert “Skip” Theberge (NOAA, ret.)

Research conducted by the NOAA Central Library uncovered a little known fact that NOAA Coast Survey’s skill in reproducing maps helped ensure that early maps of Washington, DC, and an interesting piece of history, weren’t lost. Coast Survey reproduced three historically significant maps from a copper plate engraving of Washington, DC, as surveyed by Pierre L’Enfant and Andrew Ellicott.
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From NOAA Ship Fairweather to Mt. Fairweather: Commanding officer summits ship’s namesake

The high camp, at an elevation of 10,400 feet on the Grand Plateau Glacier.

By Cmdr. Mark Van Waes, former commanding officer of NOAA Ship Fairweather

Mount Fairweather stands tall above Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, dominating the skyline for miles around (when weather permits visibility). Only about 12 miles inshore from the Gulf of Alaska and soaring to 15,325 feet, it is one of the highest coastal peaks in the world.

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NOAA starts 2013 post-Sandy surveys at Statue of Liberty

NOAA kicked off its spring season for post-Sandy hydrographic work on April 11, as a navigation response team — equipped with high-tech surveying equipment — began a search for underwater storm debris and mapped the depths surrounding Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Navigation Response Team 5 wrapped up their project today, after surveying over 110 linear nautical miles. They surveyed for 119 hours, collecting over 578 million depth measurements.

In addition to surveying around Liberty Island and Ellis Island, Coast Survey’s NRT5 surveyed adjacent areas to acquire data for updates to NOAA’s nautical charts. This is the “rainbow” coverage map that shows the surveyed area. (The colors indicate depth.)

Graphic depiction of Navigation Response Team 5 surveys of Liberty Island and adjacent areas
Navigation Response Team 5 prepared this graphic depiction of their surveys of Liberty Island and adjacent areas.

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