NOAA's NCS II Begins Production with Esri Nautical Solution

GIS Creates Integrated Data Workflow for More Efficient Chart Production

November 17, 2011

NOAA produces charts for the United States' 95,000 miles of coastline.

Redlands, California—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has implemented a new nautical charting system based on Esri GIS technology to produce more navigational products than ever before without increasing its budget or personnel needs. The new system, NCS II, is based on Esri Nautical Solution, and it allows NOAA to centralize the management of hydrographic data for US coastal waters.

Since accepting Esri Nautical Solution as part of its production system in 2009, NOAA has been transferring product production from disparate systems to NCS II. As a result, NOAA will produce more than 2,000 nautical charts that meet the organization's high standards, and it has transferred its entire Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) catalog of more than 800 products into Esri Nautical Solution.

"Having one source for data gives our customers access to nautical charts faster and with more content," says Captain Doug Baird, chief of Marine Chart Division, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey.

Esri Nautical Solution is commercial off-the-shelf software with a central geodatabase designed to allow users to create, maintain and archive navigational data. As changes are made to the data, updates are automatically posted to relevant products instead of each navigational product having to be maintained on its own, the traditional process for maintaining chart data. NCS II uses the solution to

"NOAA has been progressive in implementing a next-generation charting system that both streamlines current charting operations and provides a platform for future capabilities," says Timothy Kearns, deputy program manager for maritime solutions at Esri and a project manager for the NOAA implementation. "As one of the largest charting organizations in the world, NOAA's implementation of NCS II is a lighthouse for other hydrographic offices."

An agency of the US Department of Commerce, NOAA understands and predicts changes in the earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface to the sun, and it conserves and manages US coastal and marine resources. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has provided two centuries of service to the maritime transportation system, as America’s trusted source of navigational charts, data, and services since 1807.

Many organizations, ranging from survey companies and chart-producing companies to national hydrographic agencies and military departments around the world, rely on Esri for the ability to maintain, control, and share navigational data. Esri Nautical Solution enables hydrographic and nautical data products to be created from a seamless database, significantly reducing data latency, redundancy, and error. For more information, visit

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