Archive for the ‘Nautical charts’ Category

So you want to chart an artificial reef?   2 comments

There are literally millions of pieces of data on nautical charts. How do cartographers determine which data to put on the charts? Two Coast Survey cartographers, Paul Gionis and Lance Roddy, explained some of the processes, protocols, and NOAA charting requirements to participants at the Florida Artificial Reef Summit earlier this month. (See the archived video of their presentation, starting at 55:40.) Among their many duties, these cartographers are responsible for vetting artificial reef public notices and permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and for acquiring source data from the state and county reef coordinators.

By explaining the nautical chart aspects of planning, creating, and maintaining fish havens, they hoped to smooth out the permitting and charting phases.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering what we mean by “fish haven,” Coast Survey’s Nautical Chart Manual defines them as “artificial shelters constructed of rocks, rubble, boxcars, boats, concrete, special designed precast structures to enhance fish habitats, remnants of oil well structures, etc., that are placed on the sea floor to attract fish. Fish havens are often located near fishing ports or major coastal inlets and are usually considered hazards to shipping. Constructed of rigid material and projecting above the bottom, they can impede surface navigation and therefore represent an important feature for charting.”)

Permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers are the sole source for classifying obstructions as artificial reefs and fish havens for charting purposes. Specific essential information needs to be provided for charting the areas.

  • Cartographers need accurate geographic coordinates and dimensions, and the “authorized minimum clearance” (safe vessel clearance) for each distinct reef boundary.
  • Importantly, the designated area cannot conflict with charted features. For instance, we cannot designate artificial reefs or fish havens in safety fairways, restricted areas, anchorages, or entrance channels. It almost goes without saying that we also don’t want to place reefs in missile test areas, or areas with pipelines, cables, or unexploded ordnance.
  • The cartographers must receive notice of deployment (telling us that construction has begun).

A good example of how Coast Survey works on charting artificial reefs is the initial reef proposal for Port Everglades chart 11466. The initial proposal designated a minimum clearance of 7 feet – which would prevent a mariner from transiting the area even though the water is very deep. The proposed reef area also conflicted with two established anchorages for commercial ships waiting to enter the port.

Initial reef proposal

Initial reef proposal

 

After working with the Corps of Engineers and project planners, Coast Survey was able to split the area and chart three separate bands with progressively deeper minimum depths, from seven feet to 60 feet of clearance. They also avoided overlap with the charted anchorages. The solution prevented navigation conflicts and protected the artificial reef.

Charted fish havens were banded progressive depths, excluding anchorages

Charted fish havens were banded by progressive depths, and excluded anchorages.

The cartographers appreciated the chance to talk directly to Florida’s artificial reef community. “Events like these provide an expansive avenue to articulate Coast Survey requirements for promoting safe and efficient navigation,” Gionis points out.

Coast Survey’s navigation manager for Florida, Mike Henderson, is our charting representative on the ground in that state, and is available to work on future projects as well as answer charting inquiries in general.

NOAA Coast Survey 2015 leadership team   Leave a comment

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey enters 2015 with a leadership team that is ready to transform the nation’s hydrographic data acquisition and maintenance program, making coastal data more easily accessible for digital applications that include navigation and coastal planning. We thought you might like to know who those leaders are…

Director, Coast Survey: Rear Admiral Gerd F. Glang

RDML Gerd Glang formal2Rear Adm. Glang was appointed as director of Coast Survey in August 2012. A NOAA Corps officer since 1989, Glang is a professional mariner, specializing in hydrographic surveying and seafloor mapping sciences. He has served aboard four NOAA ships, working in the waters of all U.S. coasts, from the largely uncharted coastal waters of Alaska’s southwest peninsula to the South Pacific. He was commanding officer of NOAA Ship Whiting in 1999, when the ship responded to the seafloor search for John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s, downed aircraft. Just three months later, he led Whiting to the first discovery of the seafloor debris fields from Egypt Air Flight 990. Ashore, Glang has led NOAA work in hydrography, cartography, and planning. A 1984 graduate of the State University of New York Maritime College with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, Glang also received a graduate certificate in ocean mapping from the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program.

Deputy Director, Coast Survey: Kathryn Ries

Katie RiesRies has served as deputy director since 2001, co-leading the workforce of 235 employees and managing the day-to-day operations of Coast Survey’s $83 million national program. She also serves as a senior adviser to the director in his role as U.S. representative to the International Hydrographic Organization, and works to advance U.S. positions in IHO policy deliberations. From 2003 to 2012, she chaired the IHO’s MesoAmerican Caribbean Hydrographic Commission’s Electronic Chart Committee, where she led the development and execution of regional charting plans in Caribbean and Central America. Ries began her career in NOAA as a Presidential Management Fellow in the International Affairs office. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Art in international public administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1986.

Chief of the Hydrographic Surveys Division: Captain Eric W. Berkowitz

EricBerkowitzCapt. Berkowitz joined Coast Survey this month, and will assume the chief’s duties after he completes the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program in February. Berkowitz has over 23 years of experience as a NOAA Corps Commissioned Officer, with extensive experience in marine and aviation operations and executive leadership. His most recent duty station was at the Marine Operations Center in Newport, Oregon, where he was the director of marine operations for 16 NOAA ships. Both a pilot and a mariner, Berkowitz was with the Snow Survey Flight Program for five years. He has also done a three-year stint as deputy chief and acting chief of the National Geodetic Survey’s Remote Sensing Division. His onboard ship experience includes duties on Rude, Whiting and Mt. Mitchell. Berkowitz received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1990.

Chief of the Coast Survey Development Laboratory: Captain Richard Brennan

Rick BrennanCapt. Brennan has served with the NOAA Officer Corps for over 20 years, sailing on nearly every hydrographic ship in the modern NOAA fleet. He has conducted surveys throughout U.S. waters, through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to the Gulf of Maine, and from the Oregon coast to Chukchi Cap in the Arctic Ocean. Brennan’s most recent sea assignment was as the commanding officer of the NOAA Ship Rainier, surveying Alaskan waters. Brennan has also served as chief of Coast Survey’s Atlantic Hydrographic Branch and as the mid-Atlantic navigation manager. Earlier, Brennan pursued a Master of Science degree in ocean engineering at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, specializing in ocean mapping, acoustics, and tidal error models. After that, he led the Hydrographic Systems and Technology Program at NOAA, with a focus on transitioning new technology into fleet operations. Capt. Brennan graduated from the Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He completed the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows program in 2013.

Chief of the Marine Chart Division: John Nyberg

John NybergNyberg served as the deputy chief of the Marine Chart Division from 2010 to 2014, and was named chief in July 2014. As deputy, he helped direct Coast Survey’s chart modernization to digital products, changing the operational focus from paper-based chart compilation to electronic navigational charts. Prior to his work in the Marine Chart Division, Nyberg was deputy chief of Coast Survey’s Navigation Services Division, moving to the leadership position after working as a technical advisor and United States Coast Pilot cartographer. During his 12 years with NSD, he helped manage the procurement of the research vessel Bay Hydrographer II, initiated the modernization of the United States Coast Pilot’s production system, and served as acting navigation manager for Long Island Sound. Nyberg has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, with a major in geography. In 2006, he earned his master’s in international management from the University of Maryland University College. 

Chief of the Navigation Services Division: Russell Proctor

???????????????????????????????Russ Proctor started with NOAA as chief of Coast Survey’s Navigation Services Division in July 2014. He is a maritime professional and 25-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. A career marine safety officer, Proctor has extensive experience directing daily operations and emergency response activities to improve safety, security, and stewardship of the marine transportation system. He was Captain of the Port in Toledo, and Sector Deputy Commander in Portland, Oregon. He also served at the ports in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Houston/Galveston. His operational experience was balanced by three headquarters assignments, serving on the marine safety staffs for resource planning, regulatory compliance policy, and commercial standards development. Proctor is a distinguished graduate of the American University Key Executive Leadership Program, with a master’s degree in public administration. He graduated in 1988 from the Maine Maritime Academy with a bachelor’s degree in nautical science, and a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Deck Officer license.

Posted January 7, 2015 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts

Happy holidays from NOAA Coast Survey!   3 comments

One of the best things about this time of year is creating a holiday greeting for our friends around the world. Sometimes we take a serious look at the past year, and other times we have some fun with technology. This year, we dove deep into whimsy, with a parody of the lovely traditional poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clarke Moore.

We hope this lighthearted greeting adds a bit of cheer to the season, as we extend our sincere wishes for a safe new year across the world’s oceans. THANK YOU to all who contribute to that effort.

Posted December 18, 2014 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts

NOAA Ship Rainier surveying the waters off Washington   2 comments

A NOAA ship plying the waters off the coast often inspires public curiosity. This is especially true when boaters and others see the ship or her launches just go back and forth, back and forth, all day. It’s not a surprise, then, that NOAA Ship Rainier’s latest project is generating questions from the areas around Protection Island and Lopez Island, Washington.

Don’t worry, there is no problem! NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is collecting bathymetric data to update nautical charts that are currently displaying depth measurements acquired from surveys conducted from 1940 to 1969. Survey vessels go back and forth, in a maneuver that is similar to mowing the lawn, as they use multibeam echo sounders to measure the depths and to “see” the ocean floor. If any of the vessels discover a danger to navigation – an uncharted wreck or other obstruction, for instance – Coast Survey will immediately inform the U.S. Coast Guard and the information will be relayed to ships and boaters through a Local Notice to Mariners.

NOAA Ship Rainer with her launches aboard

NOAA Ship Rainer with her launches aboard

 

Rainier is one of the NOAA ships dedicated to hydrographic surveys for updating the nation’s nautical charts and other uses. During this project, the ship is using her survey launches to conduct the majority of the survey. Rainier has four 29-foot aluminum boats – each equipped with a high-resolution multibeam echo sounder – that they carry aboard ship. Rainier deploys the launches in the morning to survey, and retrieves them in the evening.

Data acquired by Rainier and her launches will be used to update charts 18465, 1843418471, and others, as well as the corresponding electronic navigational charts. (See the full array of charts covering this and other areas, here.) This particular hydrographic survey project, which covers approximately 22 square nautical miles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is part of a multi-year project to conduct modern hydrographic surveys and completely update the nautical charts of the waters from Port Angeles to Port Townsend and north to Bellingham, including the San Juan Islands.

This survey project area is a critical priority for updating the charts, since it is near three high-density traffic lanes separated by shoal areas and is frequently transited by large commercial vessels traveling both north to Cherry Point and Vancouver, British Columbia and south to Tacoma and Seattle. The waterways of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which have pristine environments, are important for marine transportation, recreation, and national security and defense.

Rainier, with her 50-person crew, commanded by NOAA Commander Edward J. Van Den Ameele, is expected to wrap up the project by late November.

NOAA Ship Rainier will survey these areas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca during November.

NOAA Ship Rainier will survey these areas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca during November. (This image is generated from ArcGIS Planned NOAA Hydrographic Surveys.)

Posted November 1, 2014 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts, Rainier

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NOAA awards contract to build new navigation response boats   Leave a comment

NOAA today announced that Lake Assault Boats of Superior, Wisconsin, will build two small vessels for the Office of Coast Survey’s navigation response program, part of a plan to eventually replace all six of the program’s small survey boats. The combined cost of both 28-foot vessels is $538,200.

“All of the navigation response team survey boats are nearing or have exceeded their designed service life,” said Russ Proctor, division chief of Coast Survey’s Navigation Services Division. “A phased program to replace the navigation response team boats over the next three to five years will help NOAA maintain the program’s crucial capacity for inshore surveys and rapid response in emergencies.”

The navigation response team (NRT) boats, which accommodate three-person crews, carry high-tech multibeam echo sounders and side scan sonar to conduct hydrographic surveys in critical navigation areas. The surveys collect data to update nautical charts, and search for underwater debris or shoaling that could pose a danger to navigation — especially after hurricanes or other national emergencies.

“The modernization of the NRT fleet will continue to ensure reliable and rapid deployments to ports that need chart updates and assistance with recovery after severe weather events, even as it helps NOAA hold down costs,” Proctor said.

Coast Survey is phasing the retirement of its current fleet of NRT vessels, prioritizing the replacement of boats experiencing the highest escalating maintenance costs. Coast Survey expects delivery of the first two boats in April 2015.

The six navigation response teams are placed strategically around the country, and each boat can be transported over land. In the past three years, underwater searches by NRTs have helped to speed the resumption of maritime commerce following Hurricane Isaac (in Port Fourchon, Louisiana); Sandy (in the Port of New York / New Jersey, and in Delaware Bay); and the 2011 tsunami (Crescent City and Santa Cruz, California). An NRT also assisted the National Park Service in re-establishing safe navigation and docking at the Statue of Liberty after Sandy, and surveyed the Potomac River security zone in preparation for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural.

Nautical chart data acquired by the navigation response teams supplement hydrographic surveys conducted by NOAA ships Rainier, Fairweather, Thomas Jefferson, Ferdinand R. Hassler, and research vessel Bay Hydro II, as well as private survey companies under contract to NOAA.

Escorted by harbor police after Hurricane Isaac, the Coast Survey navigation response team had to skirt downed utility poles and hanging wires on closed Hwy 1, as they made their way from Lafayette to Port Fourchon.

Escorted by harbor police after Hurricane Isaac, the Coast Survey navigation response team had to skirt downed utility poles and hanging wires on closed Hwy 1, as they made their way from Lafayette to Port Fourchon.

NRT2 surveys Marcus Hook Anchorage

A navigation response team had to clear away debris on the ramp so they could survey Marcus Hook Anchorage on the Delaware River in Sandy’s aftermath.

Posted September 22, 2014 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts

NOAA issues new nautical chart for the Arctic   6 comments

NOAA has issued a new nautical chart for the Delong Mountain Terminal, a shallow draft port servicing the Red Dog Mine, on the western coast of Alaska in the Arctic. New chart 16145 fills in historically sparse depth measurements, using new survey data recently acquired specifically for this chart.

Delong Terminal charts illustration

“This chart is important to the Arctic economy, giving navigational intelligence for the vessels shipping zinc and lead from Red Dog Mine, one of the world’s largest producer of zinc concentrate,” explained Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “The new chart offers vastly more navigational information than the only other available chart of the area.”

The Delong Mountain Terminal is a shallow draft port servicing the Red Dog Mine, which is located about 50 miles inland. The terminal uses self-loading barges to ferry the ore concentrates to the deep draft ships anchored several miles offshore.

“The shipping season from the terminal only lasts about 100 days, so shipping efficiency is vital,” Glang points out. “This chart will help to improve those maritime efficiencies, as well as safety.”

Previously, the only official nautical chart available to transit the near shore area was the 1:700,000 scale chart 16005, which shows one depth measurement within three nautical miles of the approach to Delong Mountain Terminal. New NOAA chart 16145 offers a much more usable 1:40,000 scale coverage, with updated shoreline measurements and newly acquired hydrographic information. It shows dozens of depth measurements in the approach to the terminal, representative of thousands of soundings, to give the mariner accurate depths for navigation.

This is NOAA’s third new Arctic chart issued in the past three years. Chart 16161 (ENC US5AK97) for Alaska’s Kotzebue Harbor were issued in 2012, and chart 16190 (ENCs US4AK8D and US5AK8D) for Bering Strait North were issued in 2013.

Posted July 3, 2014 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts

Your boat is ready? Don’t forget your nautical chart…   1 comment

Ah, the boat is ready, the safety vests are stowed on board, the sky is blue, and the water beckons… But hold on a sec, sailor! Where is your nautical chart?ChartDefinitionTransparent

A terrific t-shirt is sold in tourist shops at some of our nation’s harbors. It has a “definition” of a nautical chart splayed across the front: “chärt, n: a nautical map that shows you what you just hit.” It’s funny… but unfortunately, too true too often.

Resolve to get your nautical chart this year and consult it before you hit something. Advancements in Coast Survey’s digital processes now allow us to review and update charts weekly, and get them to boaters’ fingertips faster − and with less expense − than was possible years ago.

So, what product is best for you? Check out the options…

Paper nautical charts, printed “on demand.” Coast Survey maintains 1,025 nautical charts and provides the digital chart images to NOAA-certified agents, who print the latest version (incorporating weekly updates) when you order it. Order from any of our print agents – several with distribution to local marine shops – that offer different papers and optional premium services.

Free PDF nautical charts. Almost all nautical charts are available for download from our map-based interactive chart catalog or the numbered list. Crop, re-size, print or display them. (Just don’t use them for navigation if you are a SOLAS vessel, since regulated vessels need charts from NOAA-certified printers.)

Free BookletCharts™. For easy printing at home, choose NOAA BookletCharts. These PDFs have the same information as the regular paper charts, but they are sliced and diced into 8 ½ x 11” pages, so you can keep them in a regular notebook. Some boaters like to slide the pages into sheet protectors to protect them from the spray.

Free raster navigational charts. The NOAA RNC® is a geo-referenced digital image of the paper chart, used in a variety of commercial electronic charting systems.

Free electronic navigational charts. The NOAA ENC® is produced from a vector database of features. It supports real-time navigation as well as collision and grounding avoidance. ENCs are used by many computer navigation programs and mobile apps, as well as ECDIS.

Free historical charts (in jpg). Reflecting Coast Survey’s beginnings as the first scientific agency in the U.S. government, the Historical Map & Chart Collection has nearly 35,000 images of nautical charts, topographical maps, sketches, and more.

Okay, you’ve decided which product you want. Now, what chart do you need?

Coast Survey’s map-based interactive chart catalog makes it easy to find and download the chart(s) you need.

Chart catalogs are handy to have around. (Note: Coast Survey is transitioning from the large format to an easier 8½ x 11″ PDF catalog that you can print at home. Some of the catalogs are beginning to appear on Coast Survey’s website now, with all five catalogs scheduled for completion by the end of June.)

More information is available to make your trip more enjoyable.

The United States Coast Pilot® is a nine-volume book series (geographically based) that contains a wealth of information: regulations, facilities, weather, prominent features, radio procedures, currents, small-craft facilities, and more. They are now available as free PDFs, or you can purchase hard copies from NOAA-certified print agents.

nowCoast is a map-based portal that provides one-stop access to coastal observations and forecasts.

Coast Survey’s wrecks and obstructions database provides latitude and longitude on thousands of wrecks along U.S. coasts and in the Great Lakes, along with some historic and descriptive details (where available).

Does a chart have wrong or outdated information? Report discrepancies.

Seafloors, channels, shorelines, and aids to navigation are constantly changing. Coast Survey applies corrections to charts and the Coast Pilot every week, but we need the public’s help pinpointing changes in the 3.5 million square nautical miles of U.S. charted waters. Report charting discrepancies.

Have a happy and SAFE boating season!

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