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No. 27 (2022)

The End of Traditional Paper Charts: The Final Transition to Electronic Navigational Charts

October 27, 2022


In late 2019, the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) started a five-year program to end production and maintenance of its traditional paper nautical charts and corresponding raster chart products and services. This decision was driven by many factors. These included the challenge of maintaining two separate nautical chart production systems, one for raster and one for electronic navigational charts (ENC); growing demand for more timely and more detailed nautical chart coverage; diminishing use of paper nautical charts; and greater acceptance and use of ENCs by commercial vessels and recreational boaters. NOAA is refocusing resources to provide higher quality, more up-to-date, larger scale (more detailed), electronic navigational chart coverage and other ENC-based products and services.