NOAA’s latest mobile app provides free nautical charts for recreational boaters. MyNOAACharts, a mobile app beta test for Android tablets, can integrate the user’s location, nautical chart and navigational information from the U.S. Coast Pilot.
NOAA invites recreational boaters gearing up for summer fun on coastal waters and the Great Lakes to try the beta version of MyNOAACharts, a new mobile application that allows users to download NOAA nautical charts and editions of the U.S. Coast Pilot. The beta app, currently available only for Android tablets, was released 20 May.
MyNOAACharts, which can be used on land and water, includes built-in GPS capabilities that allow users to find their positions on NOAA nautical charts. With a touch of a finger, users can zoom in on specific locations or zoom out for a bigger picture to plan their day of sailing. The Coast Pilot has geotagged some of the major locations—embedding geographical information, such as latitude and longitude, directly into the chart so it’s readable in the app—and provided links to appropriate federal regulations. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play app store.
The beta test for MyNOAACharts will expire this Labor Day, 2 Sept. Coast Survey will then evaluate app usage and user feedback to decide whether to release a finished version of the app.
"Expanding the app across a multitude of platforms, ensuring easy accessibility to over a thousand charts and nearly 5,000 pages of U.S. Coast Pilot, will take considerable resources," said Rear Adm. Gerd Glang, director of the NOAA Office of Coast Survey. "We can do it if the boating community likes the app. We truly want the users to let us know if the app meets their needs."
Boaters without an Android tablet should not despair. The Office of Coast Survey provides free BookletCharts, downloadable and printable letter-size PDF versions of NOAA nautical charts. The U.S. Coast Pilot is also available in a free PDF version. For more information, visit nauticalcharts.noaa.gov.