Electronic commerce and print-on-demand for nautical charts

Nautical charts are a fundamental tool ofmarine navigation. Hundreds of criticalchanges occur to them every week.Unfortunately, traditional printing methodsrequired as many as 38 weeks to print neweditions, which meant that charts weredangerously out-of-date when they rolled offthe press. To remedy this problem, a team fromthe Office of Coast Survey developed largeformat, full-color, variable data, on-demandprinting technology. This technology printscharts only when ordered and from digital filesthat are updated daily. The team also developedelectronic commerce software( for chart ordering,and which controls the automatic assembly andprinting of charts from the up-to-date digitalfiles.Through a CRADA between the Office ofCoast Survey team and OceanGrafix, LLC ofSt. Paul, Minnesota, an industrial-strengthPrint-on-Demand/e-Commerce system wasbuilt. Today, the National Oceanic andAtmospheric Administration (NOAA) andOceanGrafix are jointly using the system toproduce NOAA’s suite of 1,000+ nauticalcharts.The benefit of this technology is having currentnautical charts to help mariners meet federalregulations and avoid catastrophic marineaccidents. In addition, this technology avoidsthe annual $17.5 million cost to correct chartsby hand and reprint them.
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