NAVIGATION PRODUCTS AND SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE
NOAA OFFICE OF COAST SURVEY
14, 2005 — The use of marine navigation tools is necessary to ensure
safe and efficient marine transportation and commerce, offshore engineering
projects, naval operations and recreational activities. The NOAA
Office of Coast Survey, which is part of the NOAA
Oceans and Coasts Service, is responsible for providing many of these
tools, such as nautical
charts and hydrographic
surveys. These NOAA products must be kept accurate and up to date
at all times.
navigation services are provided by the NOAA Center
for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, which collects
and distributes observations and predictions of water levels and currents
and manages a national network of Physical
Oceanographic Real-Time Systems (also known as PORTS) in major U.S.
harbors. The NOAA National Geodetic
Survey plans and acquires aerial photography and compiles shoreline
data, primarily for application to the nautical charts.
to create nautical charts of the nation's coasts dates back to 1807, when
President Thomas Jefferson ordered a survey of the young nation's coast.
The Organic Act of 1807 authorized the newly formed coastal survey agency
(then known as the Survey of the Coast) to construct and maintain the
nation's nautical charts. The successor agency, the NOAA
Office of Coast Survey, is the oldest federal government scientific
organization in the United States. It has been a part of the NOAA National
Ocean Service since 1970, when NOAA
mandate to create and maintain nautical charts and related hydrographic
information is intended to ensure the safe navigation of maritime commerce
within the U.S.
Exclusive Economic Zone — an area of 3.4
million square nautical miles offshore from the coastline.
NOAA Office of Coast Survey supports one of NOAA’s primary mission
goals — to support the nation's commerce with information for safe,
efficient, and environmentally sound transportation,” said retired
Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce
for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "The mapping and
charting products produced by this NOAA office will also serve as one
component in the emerging global observing system," he added.
The NOAA Office of Coast Survey oversees a number of critical
Charts: The NOAA Office of Coast Survey remains the primary
agency responsible for constructing and maintaining the nation's nautical
charts. Nautical charts contain information about the nature and
form of the coast, the depths of the water and general character and
configuration of the sea bottom, locations of dangers to navigation,
locations of navigation aids and characteristics of the Earth's magnetism.
Nautical charts are available in paper
format, in a raster
format (georeferenced digital pictures of paper nautical charts)
and in a vector
format (i.e., NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts). NOAA also offers
service that provides the most up-to-date paper nautical charts.
Data and Coast Pilots: In addition to providing nautical charts,
the NOAA Office of Coast Survey collects hydrographic
data to construct and maintain more than 1,000 nautical charts and
Pilots, a series of books that provide a variety of information
important to navigators. Hydrographic surveys contain water depth data
that emphasize elements affecting safe navigation. These surveys identify
sea floor materials, dredging areas, cables, pipelines, wrecks, piles
and fish habitats using multibeam
mapping systems and side-scan sonars. Coast Pilot topics include
channel descriptions, anchorages, bridge and cable clearances, currents,
tide and water levels, prominent features, pilotage, towage, traffic
separation schemes, small-craft facilities and federal regulations that
are applicable to navigation. Coast Pilots are available from NOAA chart
agents or can be downloaded
from the Coast Survey web site.
and development efforts aim to improve NOAA's marine navigation
products and services.
Navigation Response Teams are highly mobile survey teams that
conduct "hazardous obstructions" surveys, Coast Pilot
updates and chart verifications. The six regionally-based teams
use dive operations, electronic navigation data collection and mapping
support capabilities to promote safe navigation and are available
to respond on short notice to emergency situations requiring hydrographic
survey support (e.g., vessel groundings, hurricane damage to ports
and waterways, etc.) 365 days a year throughout U.S. waters. NOAA’s
hydrographic survey vessels and Navigation Response Teams have used
side scan and multibeam sonar to perform highly accurate surveys
as part of NOAA's homeland security support
to the U.S. Navy and the Coast Gaurd.
— An Internet Mapping Portal: The NOAA
NowCOAST is an Internet mapping portal that provides spatially-referenced
links to real-time information from meteorological, oceanographic and
river-observing networks, as well as NOAA's weather and marine forecasts
and forecast guidance for major estuaries and seaports, the Great Lakes
and coastal regions. Within a mouse click, users can access thousands
of real-time observing stations and forecast locations in support of
safe and efficient marine transportation.
Maps and Charts Collection:
The NOAA National Ocean Service makes available more than 20,000 maps
and charts dating back to the late 1700's. The collection includes the
nation's earliest nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic
surveys, geodetic surveys, city plans and Civil War battle maps. Historical
maps and charts are scanned and made available via the Internet.
Hydrographic Surveys: Hurricane Season 2005
NOAA Office of Coast Survey recently provided emergency
hydrographic services in support of U.S. Coast Guard and Army
Corps of Engineers efforts to reopen critical ports and waterways
affected by Hurricane Katrina
and Hurricane Rita.
Emergency services included conducting side scan sonar surveys to
identify hazards to navigation and conventional surveys for updating
NOAA Nautical Charts, and coordinating the survey activities of
NOAA Ships THOMAS
JEFFERSON and NANCY
FOSTER and NOAA contractors working offshore.
here for a personal account of one crew
member onboard the NOAA Ship THOMAS JEFFERSON, who assisted with
hydrographic survey and tide station activities following Hurricane
Office of Coast Survey: What's New
Office of Coast Survey: Nautical Charts and Related Publications
Office of Coast Survey: Chart Updates
Office of Coast Survey: Automated Wreck and Obstruction Information System
Office of Coastal Survey: Hydrography and Hydrographic Surveys
Office of Coastal Survey: Geographic Information Products and Services
of OCS Emergency Hydrographic Surveys Hurricane Season 2005
Sherman, NOAA Ocean Service,
(301) 713-3066 ext. 178 or Glenda
Powell, NOAA Office
of Response and Restoration, (301)713-2989