National Oceanic and Atmosphere National Charting Plan

Final National Charting Plan released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Coast Survey was first introduced in 1807 to provide guidance and services to boaters, shippers, and users of any crafts with marine navigation. NOAA’s Coast Survey continues to ensure the best and safe navigation in America’s coastal waters.


Overview of NOAA’s National Charting Plan

The National Charting Plan is a vision statement to identify NOAA’s economic developments. NOAA’s experts, scientists and partners take pride in their work to broaden information and options for the coastal contributors.

Individual charts are not considered in this plan. The plan discusses the changes and discontinuation of some of the products or techniques and the introduction of completely new products for modern technology.


Who is impacted?

A wide range of users will benefit from the new nautical chart coverage with easy-to-use and consistent marine navigations.

  1. Recreational Boaters
  2. Pilots and Port Authorities
  3. Government Agencies, Government Vessels
  4. Manufacturers of Navigational Systems for Commercial Vessels
  5. U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy
  6. Professional Mariners sailing IMO regulated SOLAS Vessels and USCG Vessels
  7. Users of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


Why is the National Charting Plan needed?

The National Charting Plan is believed to reduce unwarranted Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) alarms, reduce uncertainties, provide timely data, improve chart coverage, convert to metric, improve chart update information and increase efficiency. Improvements to electronic navigational charts (ENCs) are met and some changes are still being evaluated. With constant technological advances, the Coast Survey’s goal is to have the safest, most up-to-date critical information about the coastal production.


What's the difference between the draft version that was released in February 2017 and the final version?

In February 2017, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey developed and released its draft version of the charting plan. The nautical charting plan is fairly new and still improving some areas to satisfy and meet all safety requirements. After the release of the initial draft, NOAA gathered information and feedback from the public before they finalized the charting plan.


The following are some improvement topics and visions that were added in the final version of the National Charting Plan:

  1. Acknowledgement of source data from non-traditional data providers.
  2. Acknowledgement of information based on NOAA raster chart products by third-party
  3. Possible conversion of depths from fathoms and feet to meters. These comments were received from professional and recreational users.
  4. Raster charts will continue to show depths in fathoms and feet but will proceed to make ENC’s more compatible with metric units.
  5. Partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Survey will continue to gather
    strategic visions to transform its potential future contributions to customers and to
    support the U.S. Baseline Committee with charting important maritime boundaries.
  6. NOAA will continue producing paper and/or raster nautical charts and will discuss future production.


Who do I contact if I have questions about the final National Charting Plan?

Here's the full version of NOAA’s Final National Charting Plan.


To speak with someone who can better assist you, contact the headquarters:
1-888-990-NOAA (1-888-990-6622)


You may also address your comments or concerns through mail by sending to:
National Ocean Service, NOAA (N/CS2)
ATTN: National Charting Plan
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282


Paper versions of NOAA nautical charts can be purchased at our website