August 2008

Download these images: MrSID format | ArcGIS 9.0/9.1 layer files (see README in zip)
Download the index layer: ESRI Shapefile

Overview

NOAA nautical charts are a graphic representation of a maritime area and adjacent coastal regions. Depending on the scale of the chart, it may show depths of water and heights of land (topographic map), natural features of the seabed, details of the coastline, navigational hazards, locations man-made aids to navigation, information on tides and currents, local details of the Earth's magnetic field, and man-made structures such as harbors, buildings and bridges.

In the United States, all official nautical paper charts produced by NOAA's Office of Coast Survey (OCS) are available in raster format. A fundamental tool of marine navigation, NOAA's Raster Navigational Charts (NOAA RNCs) are produced by scanning at high resolution the original color separates, which are used to print the paper charts. NOAA adds to the digital raster file such features as data describing the chart, its datum, projection, and its geo-reference. Geo-referencing enables a computer-based navigation system that is connected to a GPS to locate and display on the chart image on screen the vessel's exact position.1

DISCLAIMER: It is important to note that these images alone should not be used for navigational purposes. Because of potential updates and limitations on scale, the NOAA Raster Navigational Chart data distributed by MassGIS should be used primarily as a backdrop display, for plotting vector data, and for interpretation and analysis. Mariners should always consult Coast Pilot and local port authorities and harbormasters and check water and weather conditions. MassGIS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs do not assume responsibility for the improper use of these data.

In ArcSDE the 68 chart images are named NOAA_<chart #>_<quantity>, in the NOAA schema. The "chart #" is the five-digit number assigned by NOAA. Following the chart number and an underscore character is a number indicating the quantity of images produced from each RNC (some maps have one or more insets and/or sections of the main map, and each is included as its own image). Two additional images, with a "_TC" suffix, are not charts but digital versions of tide charts and other textual information for the small craft operator.

A vector index layer was created from the footprints of each image in ArcGIS. This layer, named NOAA_INDEX_POLY in the NOAA schema in ArcSDE, may be used to reference the location of each chart.

Please note that the August 2008 release of these images replaces the older, less spatially accurate images produced by MassGIS by scanning paper copies of NOAA Nautical Charts.

Production

MassGIS received the images from NOAA, via the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. MassGIS imported the rasters into its ArcSDE database and projected each to the NAD83 Mass. State Plane Mainland Meters coordinate system. The images are otherwise unchanged. For information on the processing used by NOAA to produce the original RNCs see http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/index.htm. Note that the new images include the "collars" -- the borders and other non-data areas (text, etc.) that appear on each chart. In the previous set MassGIS had clipped off the collars, which on the new images will obscure parts of adjacent or overlapping charts. See the "Displaying the Images" section below for more details.

To produce the index layer, the ArcGIS Raster to Polygon tool was used to create a polygon representing the outline of each chart image. All the polygons were then merged into a single polygon feature class.

The following table lists the image number, chart title and original paper map scale and edition date (last updated by NOAA) for all the images in this layer.
Click on an Image No. link to download a zipped MrSID image file.

Image No.Chart TitleScaleEdition Date
13006_1West Quoddy Head To New York6750002007-05-01
13009_1Gulf Of Maine And Georges Bank5000002007-05-01
13200_1Georges Bank And Nantucket Shoals4000002007-05-01
13203_1Georges Bank Western Part2200001999-08-14
13204_1Georges Bank Eastern Part2200001999-08-14
13218_1Martha's Vineyard to Block Island800002008-02-16
13221_1
13221_2_tc
Narragansett Bay
Additional information (tide charts, etc.) for the small craft operator
50000
--  
2006-06-17
13224_1
13224_2
Providence River and Head of Narragansett Bay
Seekonk River, Cold Spring Point to Pawtucket
20000
20000
2006-11-01
13226_1
13226_2
Mount Hope Bay
Continuation of Taunton River
20000
20000
2004-01-01
13227_1
13227_2
Fall River Harbor
State Pier
10000
2500
2006-03-01
13228_1Westport River And Approaches200001997-05-17
13229_1
13229_3
13229_4
13229_6
13229_7
13229_8
13229_9
13229_10
13229_11
13229_12
13229_13
13229_14
13229_15_tc
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Barnstable-Chatham)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Inset-Hyannis Harbor)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Gosnold-Barnstable)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Inset-Woods Hole)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Inset-Robinsons Hole)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Inset-Cuttyhunk Harbor)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Gosnold)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Dartmouth-Falmouth)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (N Buzz Bay)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (New Bedford Harbor)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Cape Cod Canal)
South Coast of Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay (Inset-Prince Cove)
Tide prediction chart
40000
20000
40000
5000
12000
12000
40000
40000
40000
20000
40000

 
--  
 
2004-12-18
 
13230_1
13230_2
Buzzards Bay
Quicks Hole
40000
20000
2005-10-01
13232_1
13232_2
New Bedford Harbor and Approaches
Continuation of Apponagansett Bay
20000
20000
2001-06-30
13233_1
13233_2
Marthas Vineyard
Menemsha Pond
40000
20000
2005-09-01
13235_1Woods Hole50002004-04-01
13236_1
13236_2
Cape Cod Channel And Approaches20000
20000
2006-03-01
13237_1Nantucket Sound And Approaches800002007-03-01
13238_1
13238_2
13238_4
Marthas Vineyard - Eastern Part
Oak Bluffs Harbor
Edgartown Harbor
20000
10000
10000
2007-08-01
13241_1Nantucket Island400002005-11-01
13242_1Nantucket Harbor100002001-05-26
13244_1Eastern Entrance To Nantucket Sound400002005-07-01
13246_1Cape Cod Bay800002006-12-01
13248_1Chatham Harbor And Pleasant Bay200002001-03-17
13249_1Provincetown Harbor200002007-04-01
13250_1Wellfleet Harbor400002001-10-13
13251_1Barnstable Harbor200002004-09-01
13253_1Harbors of Plymouth, Kingston And Duxbury200002005-07-01
13260_1Bay Of Fundy To Cape Cod3788382005-07-01
13267_1
13267_2
Massachusetts Bay
North River
80000
20000
2005-07-01
13269_1Cohasset And Scituate Harbors100002006-02-01
13270_1Boston Harbor250002006-06-01
13272_1
13272_2
Boston Inner Harbor
Mystic River Extension
10000
10000
2004-10-01
13274_1
13274_2
13274_3
13274_4
13274_5
Portsmouth Harbor to Boston Harbor (Hampton-Rockport)
Portsmouth Harbor to Boston Harbor (NH coast)
Merrimack River Extension
Merrimack River Extension
Portsmouth Harbor to Boston Harbor (Rockport-Boston)
40000
40000
80000
80000
40000
2007-06-01
13275_1
13275_2
Salem and Lynn Harbors
Manchester Harbor
25000
10000
2006-06-23
13276_1Salem, Marblehead and Beverly Harbors100002003-07-01
13278_1
13278_2
Portsmouth To Cape Ann
Hampton Harbor
80000
30000
2005-06-01
13279_1Ipswich Bay To Gloucester Harbor200002007-02-01
13281_1Gloucester Harbor And Annisquam River100002007-02-01
13282_1Newburyport Harbor and Plum Island Sound200002003-04-01
Chart numbers 13203, 13224, 13229, 13232, 13242 and 13274 were not included in the previous set of images. Chart number 13003 is not included in the new set.

Attributes

The images files do not contain attributes. Sounding values on the images with scales 2,500 - 80,000 are in feet at mean low water. Soundings on smaller scale maps are in fathoms.

The NOAA_INDEX_POLY attribute table for the index layer contains the following items:

ITEM NAME DESCRIPTION
IMAGE_NAME Name of image, as stored at MassGIS. Includes the 5-digit chart number assigned by NOAA.
CHARTTITLE NOAA Chart Title
SCALE Scale of chart (as it appears on each image)
ED_DATE Chart Edition Date

What MassGIS Distributes

Public distribution of these data include:

  • NOAA_CHARTS.gdb - ArcGIS 9.2 file geodatabase with all 70 images. Available as a digital data product on the online order form.
  • MrSID files - Free download of all 70 images in the MrSID file format (see table above). May be displayed in many GIS software products. Also, the entire set is available as a digital data product on the online order form. Included ArcGIS 9.0/9.1 layer files for use in ArcMap with and without the MassGIS Data Viewer toolbar .
DISCLAIMER, from the NOAA RNC User Agreement:
Limitations on Use: NOAA RNCs™ may be redistributed, but redistributed NOAA RNCs™ are NOT considered official NOAA RNCs™, and do not meet federal chart carriage regulations for regulated vessels. This official status attends only to the original downloaded files. At a future date, NOAA intends to establish a program under which distributors may be certified to redistribute NOAA RNCs™ such that they will retain their official status and meet chart carriage regulations.

Displaying the Images

As noted above, because these images include the map collars, displaying adjacent or overlapping charts will not be seamless. With the geodatabase version in ArcMap, choosing to display "nodata" and Color Index value 1 (white) as 'No Color' will minimize the effect of the collars. In the MrSID files,black "nodata" areas appear around the edges; displaying "nodata" as 'No Color' will partially minimize these areas. Also, some ArcMap users may want to choose to resample during display using Bilinear Interpolation for a smoother, more readable appearance (set this in the image layer's properties Display tab). The layer files available for download and included on the MrSID CD product include the bilinear resampling and layer titles as  listed in the table above.

Additional References

When using these NOAA Chart images, it may be helpful to refer to NOAA's "Office of Coast Survey" and "Nautical Charts & Publications" pages, which contain a multitude of links, including user manuals, map symbol descriptions and more.

MassGIS does not sell or distribute paper copies of the NOAA Nautical charts. To purchase the traditional paper maps, see http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/charts.htm#paper. Such maps also may be viewed at some major libraries.

The NOAA's On-Line Chart Viewer and Free Boating Charts Web sites provide online viewing of NOAA Chart images.
 

1 http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/index.htm


Last Updated 6/1/2011