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End of an Era: No More Paper Nautical Charts

Come April, the big maps will be a thing of the past
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2013 3:52 PM CDT
Feds Phasing Out Paper Nautical Charts
This image provided by NOAA shows a nautical chart for Annapolis Harbor last updated in January 2013.   (AP Photo/NOAA)

(Newser) – The digital age is doing away with a mariner tradition: The federal government will stop printing old-school nautical charts this April, reports NPR. Those would be the 3-by-4-foot paper charts that nobody used much more anyway, notes AP. Instead, boaters have increasingly relied on digital maps and "print-on-demand" charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association that get updated far more regularly.

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"The decision to stop production is based on several factors: the declining demand for lithographic charts, the increasing use of digital and electronic charts, and federal budget realities," explains the NOAA in a statement. The Savannah Morning News collects a quote from a local boater that pretty much sums things up: “The paper chart has gone the way of the sextant." (Read more NOAA stories.)

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