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Old 13-07-2011, 18:49   #1
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Nautical Charts of the UK

Isn't it time the United Kingdom made its nautical charts available for free downloading over the internet the way the US and other countries do in the ineterest of boater safety rather than profits?
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Old 13-07-2011, 19:13   #2
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

It's way time for it to happen. To be fair, there aren't that many countries that do provide their electronic charts for free. Most countries view charts as something to make profit on.
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Old 14-07-2011, 11:27   #3
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

I very much doubt that any Country actually realizes a profit from preparing & selling charts.

Rather, I believe that it’s a case of a “user pays*” policy, where consumers are expected to pay the cost of the goods that they consume.

User Pays: the principle that a user of a service or resource pays directly for the amount they use, rather than the cost being shared by all the users or a community equally. The UPP may seem to be a good and fair idea: Who uses a service pays for it, and who does not use it, does not.
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Old 14-07-2011, 11:51   #4
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

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I very much doubt that any Country actually realizes a profit from preparing & selling charts.
Well, "income" might have been a better word for me to use than "profit."

Different countries just look at it differently. NOAA takes the tact that chart production is funded by taxes so the data is available to all - it's already paid for. The US wants the charts for other government uses too so it seems pretty fair and a pretty good deal for everyone.

Other countries, I guess, don't rely on taxes for chart production or try to make some of the expense back by charging for the charts.

Personally, I much prefer having free charts. It promotes innovation and allows sites like ours to do interesting things with the chart data.
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Old 14-07-2011, 12:04   #5
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

I would advise the OP not to hold his/her breath.
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Old 14-07-2011, 16:14   #6
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Actually recently the UKHO was the subject of significant criticism by the office of fair trading. Suggesting that UKHO was funded by the taxpayer and should not be attempting to profit from the sale of such data.

In response rather then going down the US route, UKHO is seeking to form a commercial company in cooperation with a private partner, allowing it to bypass such criticism and sell chart data for profit. 

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Old 14-07-2011, 16:36   #7
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

"rather then going down the US route, UKHO is seeking to form a commercial company in cooperation with a private partner, allowing it to bypass such criticism and sell chart data for profit."

Typical UK .....

Whose taxes funded the UKHO when they compiled the charts ?

For sure commercial users should pay for their charts & anyone requiring paper charts should pay for them ... but recreational boaters & not-for-profit organisations should be able to download digital charts for free ...

The UK government recently made the Ordnance Survey put the entire UK land maps online for free download & use after much lobbying by organisations such as The Ramblers Association .... UK boaters should lobby hard & press their membership of the RYA to act on their behalf ... write to your local MPs ... something needs to be done ... it's OUR coastline & OUR seas ... we are the taxpayers ! ! !
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Old 14-07-2011, 17:08   #8
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
I very much doubt that any Country actually realizes a profit from preparing & selling charts.

Rather, I believe that itís a case of a ďuser pays*Ē policy, where consumers are expected to pay the cost of the goods that they consume.

User Pays: the principle that a user of a service or resource pays directly for the amount they use, rather than the cost being shared by all the users or a community equally. The UPP may seem to be a good and fair idea: Who uses a service pays for it, and who does not use it, does not.
I rather believe that charts are created by government hydrogaphers paid out of the public purse and therefore our money! "User pays" is paying AGAIN for what you have already paid for in your taxes.
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Old 14-07-2011, 18:18   #9
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

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I rather believe that charts are created by government hydrogaphers paid out of the public purse and therefore our money! "User pays" is paying AGAIN for what you have already paid for in your taxes.
That sentiment is stated often, BUT...

Either 10,000 people pay 1 cent each in taxes and 1 person gets a free set of charts

OR

Those 10,000 people pay 1 cent less tax and that 1 person pays for their charts.

The first way everyone is paying even if they don't use the end product. The second way is like Gord says, the end user pays.

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Old 14-07-2011, 18:43   #10
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

a shade off the OP but in Canada,they aren't free either,
but in our defense,as a discussion point,we have a huge coastline+excellent hydrographers versus a small population of taxpayers.I haven't the numbers on the proportion paid-for by taxes versus sales income but maybe there's some lobbying by the chart sellers against free online access too...
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Old 14-07-2011, 19:12   #11
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

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The first way everyone is paying even if they don't use the end product. The second way is like Gord says, the end user pays.
That ignores a few things...

First, chart production is also performed for national defense. Most Navy's of the world prefer to have good chart data for their ships and coastal protection. Every citizen should be paying for that.

Second, chart production is used commercially to move commerce and generate more taxes for governments. This infrastructure type of production is exactly what governments should do for their citizens and their own self interest.

There's not a lot of philosophical difference between road production and chart production. Every time you get in a car, you're not asked to cough up a few bucks. How come you have to do that in order to just view the charts of other countries?
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Old 14-07-2011, 19:28   #12
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

The argument seems to have slipped from a US citizens right to access what US taxpayers have paid for, to the rights of US citizens to access what other nations' taxpayers have paid for. Our moral high ground is a little weak here.

That said, I really enjoy the privilege of accessing NOAA data ...
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Old 14-07-2011, 19:41   #13
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

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Our moral high ground is a little weak here.
Only if the US is charging non-residents money to access the NOAA charts, right? Don't get me wrong. I'm perfectly happy to see my tax dollars spent on producing charts that all international sailors can use for safe voyaging here. If anything, it promotes the ability for them to come here and spend their money on our things!

I'd go so far as to say that if Canadian charts were free, the "loss" of chart revenue experienced by CHS would be more than made up by increased VAT taxes paid by Americans who ventured across the border and explored by boat. Canadian charts are wicked expensive today and a lot of day cruisers don't go because of it except to places close to their known home port.
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Old 15-07-2011, 04:39   #14
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

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Originally Posted by JARogers View Post
Isn't it time the United Kingdom made its nautical charts available for free downloading over the internet the way the US and other countries do in the ineterest of boater safety rather than profits?
US charts are owned by US people. UK charts are owned by UK queen.

Now how a queen works it takes rather than gives.

b.
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Old 15-07-2011, 04:53   #15
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Re: Nautical Charts of the UK

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I would advise the OP not to hold his/her breath.
Quite, lets face it the UK along with the other European counties are broke so the chance of the Hydrographic Office giving away a nice little earner to offset the cost of maintaining all those charts is zip. The also have an iron grip on tidal data as well.

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