Since last week’s announcement that NOAA will no longer be printing paper charts there has been some confusion on where to get Print-On-Demand charts (POD). NOAA has a POD page on their website to help.
NOAA’s Print-on-Demand (POD) nautical charts provide up-to-date navigation information to mariners. These paper charts are updated on a weekly basis and include all of the latest critical chart corrections. Although NOAA produces POD charts, NOAA does not sell POD charts directly to the public. Instead, NOAA POD charts are available from NOAA’s commercial partners OceanGrafix and East View Geospatial. Both partners also sell NGA POD charts.
Print-on-Demand Charts Versus Traditional Charts
Traditional paper charts can become quickly out dated. At best, a new edition of a traditional chart is printed once a year. More likely, it is printed once every several years. If a mariner purchases the latest edition of a traditional paper chart one year after it was printed, there is a year’s worth of accumulated changes not reflected on the chart. For example, features such as wrecks, obstructions, channel depths, landmarks, bridge clearance information, shoreline construction, and new aids to navigation might have changed during that year. Mariners must research chart update information in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Local Notice to Mariners and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Notice to Mariners. These corrections must then be applied manually. Manual application of chart corrections is time-consuming and prone to error. POD charts solve the chart-updating problem by using computer software to update the charts from a variety of sources on a weekly basis — getting critical corrections to mariners in a timely manner.