April 02, 2007

NOAA Raster Nautical Charts are available online

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided to make Raster Nautical Charts (RNC) available online at http://chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/ These charts are geo-referenced, full-color images of NOAA's paper nautical charts, and are published by NOAA in the BSB format (Note 1) . NOAA updates the RNC for Notices to Mariners on a weekly basis. They are an official product of NOAA and meet the S-61 Standard - Raster Navigational Charts - of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

The following corporations/organizations offer a number of charting related products that may provide useful important information. This listing is for information only and neither the Office of Coast Survey nor the Government endorse any of the products or services provided by these corporations/organizations. The links for raster chart navigation software connect to Web pages outside of the Office of Coast Survey Web site.

Free "Demo" Raster Chart Navigation Software
(for viewing NOAA RNC™ (BSB format) files)

Global Navigation
Software Co
Maptech Raster Chart SoftwareThe Cap'n Raster Chart


Marine ENC Software

Caris Easy ENC
Free online viewing of NOAA raster charts is available using the links below
(for use as a reference or planning tool).

US Atlantic Coastal Charts are accessible using the free NOAA Raster Chart Viewer. The free viewer offers limited image size and resolution; however, the online charts provide an accessible reference.

Note 1. BSB format is named after one of Maptech's predecessor companies, BSB Electronic Charts, which had an exclusive license with NOAA to produce official electronic editions of NOAA's library of paper charts. Soon, BSB Charts became the official standard for electronic navigation, with many other companies creating software to use these charts.