The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has now authorized seven companies to sell its paper nautical charts. The information on the charts is still maintained by NOAA, and the charts are corrected with Notices to Mariners up to the week of purchase. The companies include OceanGrafix, East View Geospatial, Frugal Navigator, Marine Press, Paradise Cay Publications, www.mapshop.com~The Map Shop~ and Williams & Heintz Map Corp.
Despite advancing from printing plates to computer-generated charts, the system remained based on printing large volumes of charts; charts grew increasingly outdated until a new edition was printed. The print-on-demand system allows the changes made by cartographers to reach mariners much faster.
The paper charts sold by the NOAA-certified printing agents meet carriage requirements for ships covered by Safety of Life at Sea regulations.