National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to discontinue paper maps

October 29th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Workflow

For many people, the idea of going paperless conjures up images of offices leveraging onsite document scanning and conversion services to cast out the cabinets, banish the bookshelves and fend off the files. But now, one government agency is taking the concept of paperlessness to a new level by reducing people's reliance on paper-based charts while out at sea.

According to The Associated Press, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that in an effort to reduce expenses, it will no longer produce the nautical charts it has been issuing to mariners for more than a century and a half. Rather, seafaring folk such as fishermen, boasters and sailors will have to turn to PDFs and electronic maps – or buy paper copies of on-demand maps printed by private shops.

The decision to do away with the paper charts was made by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has been in charge of federal chart-making since the turn of the century, but NOAA will still survey and chart the topography of federal waters, recording the locations of shipwrecks, rock formations and other notable occurrences that lie beneath the surface – an undertaking that costs a cool $100 million per year.

"Think of them as the roadmap of the ocean," said Capt. Shep Smith, head of NOAA's marine chart division, as quoted by the media outlet.

That said, as of April of next year, the administration will not be making its findings available via the traditional navigational lithographic maps, the source explained.

If you're hesitant about taking the plunge and looking into what paper conversion services can do for your company, think of the seafarers who will soon have to adapt to life without NOAA's maps – if they can learn to live without paper, so can your business.

Brought to you by Image One Corporation, providing government and industry compliance solutions since 1994.

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