For the 65 years since the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey issued the first edition of U.S. Chart No.1 in 1948, mariners have had a standard guide for understanding the symbols, abbreviations and terms used on paper nautical charts. In a major step forward, a new edition of that guide also describes the symbols specified by the International Hydrographic Organization for the display of electronic navigational charts (ENC) on Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS).
Several maritime nations produce their own versions of Chart 1. The U.S. Chart No. 1 describes the symbols used on paper nautical charts produced by NOAA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The new U.S. Chart No. 1 is the first “Chart 1” produced by any country to show paper and electronic chart symbology side by side.
“Navigational charts moved to electronic format more than 15 years ago, and downloads of NOAA ENCs® now far outpace sales of paper charts,” explains Commander Shep Smith, division chief of Coast Survey’s Marine Chart Division. “Most of the symbology used to display ENCs is intuitive to the experienced mariner, but caution tells us that mariners will be safer when U.S. Chart No. 1 explains the symbols that appear on their electronic displays.”
U.S. Chart No. 1: Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms used on Paper and Electronic Navigational Charts, produced jointly by NOAA and NGA, is actually more like a book than a chart. The 129-page Edition 12, now being released, supersedes all previous editions and is available for free from the Coast Survey website. Printed copies may be purchased through one of the certified publishing agents listed on the NOAA U.S. Chart 1 download webpage.