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Ahoy mateys! US to stop printing nautical charts

Tuesday - 10/22/2013, 1:54pm  ET

AP: c8a9645c-cb63-43c0-a70f-b3c07dd1a1a7
In this undated photo made available by NOAA, mariners use a printed nautical chart aboard their ship. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 that the traditional heavy paper lithographic nautical charts will stop being printed next April. Capt. Shep Smith, head of NOAA’s chart division, said the agency will still chart the water for rocks, shipwrecks and dangers, but mariners will have to see the information using private on-demand printing, PDFs and electronic maps. (AP Photo/NOAA)

SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government is going into uncharted waters. It is deep-sixing the giant paper nautical charts that they've been printing for mariners for more than 150 years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that the traditional paper charts won't be printed after next April.

NOAA's Capt. Shep Smith said the agency will still chart the water for rocks, shipwrecks and dangers, but mariners will have to see the information using private on-demand printing, PDFs and electronic maps.

The 4-by-3 foot roadmaps of the oceans won't be printed because of the Federal Aviation Administration. Smith said the FAA took over federal chart-making in the 1990s and recently told NOAA it will stop making the charts to save money.


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