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Old 07-14-2010, 10:02 AM   #1
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I am learning effectiv use of OpenCPN. For that, one needs charts. So I have downloaded - among others - the charts for the south china sea.

The first good thing about the charts that they seem to understand why free information flow is important:

"It was the view that if the SCS ENC could be freely and widely available to mariners, it would further enhance the safety of navigation in the region. This in turn could reduce the chances of environmental damage from grounding and oil pollution, which have tremendous cost impact. The EAHC decided to provide the SCS ENC to users free of charge. "

I would add that when there are more users of a chart, there is higher likelihood that errors and new hazards to navigation are reported.

I nearly forgot about the charts, when I got an email noting about updates, suggesting that I would download them.

Now, that is a service, which puts the East Asia Hydrographic Commission one step even above NOAA.

Well, NOAA makes coastal charts available for free. It is a great service.

I understand that making other charts available is very difficult due to copyright reasons. However I believe if NOAA would try to negotiate, lots of charts could be made available, perhaps by forming an alliance similar to the EAHC.

Sending out notices about chart updates is technically an easy task, but undoubtedly another one to do, and there might be more important ones, as a prudent mariner will actively look for updates and notices to mariners.

Well, I am not a US taxpayer, so all I can do is to humbly point out how US citizens would benefit from NOAA chart service extended (for example tp the Caribbean), and how the world would be a nicer place for all of us by that.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:51 PM   #2
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The US government is besieged by lobbyists to Congress for commercial interests. Every few years, NOAA has to justify its very existence. There are serious commercial interests trying to shut down NOAA's freely provided weather products, for heaven sakes! Commercial providers of weather and navigation products would just as soon have everything be forced to go through them for lots of $$$. The US taxpayer could care less about people (US citizens or otherwise) navigating the world's oceans in small yachts; such boat owners are considered "rich" by most US taxpayers and the last thing the tax payer wishes to do is fund someone else's lifestyle. The US taxpayer is also smart enough to know that commercial mariners crossing oceans use commercial charting programs too. Our system of safeguards for recreational boaters is very fragile and constantly threatened by the commercial interests. That is unlikely to change in this current economic downturn/recession. The bottom line for US citizens is that coastal navigation products are needed by US small businesses (fishing and charter boats here) but offshore--including the Caribbean-- US tax dollars will not be generating increased (small business) tax revenues for the US treasury.

Magwas, If your own country is not doing enough to provide free navigation products worldwide that you'd like to see, the first thing you can/should do is go to your own government and encourage them to sponsor/contribute your country's tax dollars to other nation's efforts (e.g. that of the US) to provide free access to navigation charts of the world. This issue is world-wide, not one that a single country can do anything about.
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbopeep' date='14 July 2010 - 08:45 PM View Post

Magwas, If your own country is not doing enough to provide free navigation products worldwide that you'd like to see, the first thing you can/should do is go to your own government and encourage them to sponsor/contribute your country's tax dollars to other nation's efforts (e.g. that of the US) to provide free access to navigation charts of the world. This issue is world-wide, not one that a single country can do anything about.
My own country doesn't have sea, and even our seagoing ships have been stolen in the transition from communism to capitalism. I did however encourage them to provide charts for our lakes and rivers besides Danube (which is downloadable for free), and I will ask them to contact NOAA to mutually publish each others free charts.

I guess I dont' have to tell you how the taxpayer would benefit from free charts (those commercial oceangoing ships deliver some products, and navigational risks due to bad information flow (besides the cost of charts of course) are embedded in the price of the product).

I believe that the bulk of the obstacles can be removed without paying tax money on copyright and stuff: coordination of publication of already existing free charts could be a first step, and it might encourage others to publish their own coastal charts.
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