For all of us cruising and navigating using marine charts, we rely on Coast Survey for accurate charts and keeping them up to date. This organization, under the larger umbrella of NOAA, does all it can to maintain correct nautical charts, surveying the sea floor and updating charts with the latest technology. And with each major coastal storm, it seems we need to go over it all again.
It should not be a big surprise that this responsibility is a tall order, especially with charts that date back to the time of the lead line and dead reckoning. As technology continues to provide even more accurate position information, it is vital that our charts reflect current conditions, which is an issue when some charts go for years before an area is resurveyed with newer technology for more accuracy. Having satellites and other equipment assist in this effort is making the entire process far more relevant, useful, and accurate that the methods of Lewis & Clark and Columbus.
Even so, nothing is perfect, and the folks at Coast Survey ask all boat owners and cruisers to be involved with the updating process. This is especially true for those really familiar with a specific chart area. Any known inaccuracies or discrepancies in existing charts should be reported to the Coast Survey office.
Coast Survey has a website for all mariners to report these issues and errors:
The idea of crowd sourcing information for the greater good is no longer a novel idea, and this is an invitation for cruisers to be involved with the updating process. We are getting close to the day when a boat's electronics automatically sends depth and other information automatically to a central resource which updates charting real time. This was a dream only a few years ago, but with the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting all devices, it seems the logical next step.
Seems we're getting there, aren't we?
Even though I am preparing to walk the Camino de Santiago in three weeks, expect to see some changes to FollowingSeas in the coming weeks. Have a great week.