Introducing NOAA’s new ENC Direct to GIS

ENCDirectFeatures in an electronic navigational chart represent thousands of pieces of data describing the coastal and marine environment. This data includes coastal topography, bathymetry, landmarks, geographic place names, and marine boundaries for the specific geographic region encompassed by the chart. What if we could aggregate the ENC features into a geospatial database? Such a product would provide a continuous depiction of the U.S coastal and marine environment.

Well, welcome to that product. Coast Survey now translates NOAA ENC® data into a GIS-friendly format, expanding uses of ENC information beyond the traditional navigational purposes.
In November 2012, Coast Survey launched an experimental version of ENC Direct to GIS, using ESRI ArcGIS 10.0 technology, and we asked site users to provide feedback. We can now report that we listened to your suggestions and made several new enhancements, using the 10.1 version of ESRI ArcGIS. With these changes, we have removed the “experimental” tag and can now provide an official NOAA product.
Those of you who have been using the experimental version will appreciate several new features.

  • Additional scale bands (4 to 6) keep each scale band seamless
  • A note on the bottom of the screen reminds viewers that all soundings are in meters
  • Improved functionality identifies features when users point and click on the features
  • Search functionality is improved
  • Measurement tool now includes “nautical miles”
  • Improved visualization reduces clutter
  • Additional base maps have been added
  • Textual extraction form has been updated for easier access
  • Metadata records are streamlined, with multiple records for a single item compressed into a single record
  • More information is available in the “frequently asked questions”

This video provides an explanation of many of the enhancements, as well as an overview on how to use various layers of the electronic navigation chart.
The ENCDirect team thanks everyone who provided feedback on the experimental site. They will continue to take your comments and suggestions through Coast Survey’s online inquiry system, continually working to meet the needs of the user community.
The ENCDirect project manager is Mei-Ling Freeman.

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