Historical Nautical Charts Collection: New York Harbor

NY city electronic navigational chart

Figure 12. This 2006 electronic navigational chart of the waters around New York City reflects new advances in technology that increase safe navigation.
(Click the image to enlarge.)

An Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) is a digital representation of the paper charts presented in this collection (Figure 12). An ENC is a digital file that contains all the chart information necessary for safe navigation, as well as supplementary information required to plan voyages and avoid groundings. NOAA is the official producer of ENCs for the United States, and supplies these data to mariners, who in turn use it in electronic charting systems that are installed on the bridge of the ship. ENCs are often used by mariners to supplement paper nautical charts.

This chart, as with all ENCs, boasts electronic features that paper charts lack. For instance, a mariner can integrate Global Positioning System (GPS) data-which tells a mariner his or her precise latitude and longitude-with ENC data. The mariner can also integrate data from Geographic Information Systems (GIS), real-time tide and current data, and wind data to enhance the capabilities of the ENC. Incorporating these features can create a fuller, more accurate picture of the marine environment. A vessel using NOAA ENCs can detect an obstruction in advance and check planned travel routes to avoid crossing hazardous areas. The electronic charting systems used to view ENCs can display warnings and regulations that pertain to areas in which a vessel transits, and can sound an alarm if the vessel's projected course veers too close to a dangerous feature.

Related Web Sites

Office of Coast Survey, NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENCs) http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/index.htm

Works Consulted

National Ocean Service. (2003). NOS electronic navigational charts improve safety at sea. Retrieved June 20, 2006, from: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/features/supp_jul03.html.

Office of Coast Survey. (2005). NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENCs). Retrieved June 20, 2006, from: http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/index.htm.