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Nautical and Aeronautical Charts

The Map Library holds nautical and aeronautical charts in sets for both U.S. and international waters and air spaces.A nautical chart is a map designed to be used for navigation by watercraft. Nautical charts provide information on dangerous tides and other hazards of the water. These charts may also show water depths, coastal features, seabed features, locations of navigation aids, information on currents, and human-made structures such as lighthouses, harbors, and bridges. An excellent book to consult on how to use nautical charts is How to read a nautical chart: a complete guide to the symbols, abbreviations, and data displayed on nautical charts by Nigel Calder.

An aeronautical chart is a map designed to be used for navigation by aircraft. Like any road map, these charts are to help captains and pilots to determine their location and choose the best course.Aeronautical charts supply information about what altitudes are safest in certain areas, air currents to be aware of, airports, designated no-fly zones, and safe landing places.

Nautical and Aeronautical Map Web Resources

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aeronatical and nautical charts
General information including a “Mapfinder.”

NOAA National Ocean Service
“The nation’s principal advocate for coastal and ocean stewardship” and producer of domestic waters navigational aids.

NOAA Nautical Chart User’s Manual
Basic information about nautical chart construction and interpretation. The chapters are PDF files.

NOAA Online Chart Viewer
Includes charts of US coastlines and continents.

SkyVector Aeronautical Charts
Super useful with loads of features! Includes sectional, area, and TAC charts. Find the area you are looking for by typing any identifier (place name, airport code, coordinates, etc.) in the search box. Offers multiple ways to make a flight plan, links to airport information (including user-submitted photos of airports), and information on no-fly zones. The six-minute video tutorial is easy to understand, painless to watch and listen to, and very helpful.

Includes VFR and IFR aeronautical charts and links up with Google Maps. Also links to a searchable airport directory, airport terminal procedure publications, and real-time weather information. Is also “optimized for mobile devices.”

“BlooSee is a web platform designed for sailors and sea-lovers, a place to geolocate and exchange knowledge and information about the oceans, seas and coasts, as well as create and share sailing and power boating routes. BlooSee includes a social network for people interested in the seven seas…The core of the system is a map of the world with information updatable by all registered users, resulting in an up-to-date global navigation chart, pilot guide and trip planning guide.” Requires registration but appears to be worth it if you are an avid sea-goer.

Chart No. 1: Nautical Chart Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms
A free PDF download from the NOAA. “P rovides descriptions and depictions of the basic elements and symbols used on nautical charts published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). ” Adobe Reader is required.

Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide 10th Edition
Published by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).