I had heard that the shuttle had done a radar mapping of the planet for the department of defense and that the results were extremely accurate.
A lot of what you hear is inaccurate. The shuttle could not do such a project
. What is true is all the Garmin
data was created from Soviet satellite data. Garmin
bought all the data for a good price
so they could make the data they now sell.
I have also heard that NOAA has been using aircraft to measure water depths in harbors, and that they have been updating charts as fast as possible ... good news
Chart making includes a lot of different data especially when making harbor charts (1 : 10,000) these are the really detailed level charts. Aerial Photogrametry is cheaper and easier to use because it captures all the land stuff as well as shoreline features with good depth information. When used in stereo plotters the level of detail is quite accurate. On a limited basis is can be used for depth too.
Currently they have a 52 ft Cat called "Self". It tows side scanning sonar. It scans for about 2 miles per scan and produces the best bathymetric data. Waters that are deep or murky don't scan well and can not be scanned from aircraft. The use of "radar" for depth sounding is BS.
Yes, the DOD has highly accurate satellite imagery, but for chart making it would be as if using a high powered microscope to survey
the state of Rhode Island
. Since you have all seen Blue Chart data you get a feel for how accurate old school
level satellite data can be and for the most part it it's pretty good. After that it gets harder as in exceptionally expensive. Once you got the imagery then begins the expensive part. NOAA could produce more charts and more detailed charts - if they had the money
and the mission to do so using all the technology they already have.
has anybody seen NOAA's ENC charts (the free stuff) of Cuba?
That would be USECOM1 there is also US2ECOM2 that covers most of the southern Bahamas
. These are 1 : 120,000 scale charts. I have them. They don't cover the detail that the charts for Puerto Rico
do where you get the nice 1 : 10,000 scale port charts. The Cuba charts is just coastline and major navigation
aids. The Bahamas
are similar. They both connect seamlessly to the US Offshore
charts. They also have a chart that connects the the US mainland to Hawaii
USPO02M that is a 1 : 1 million scale chart that covers 2,000 nm by 2,000 nm. The SW corner is Johnson Atoll and the NE corner is Vancouver. This is continued north around all the Alaska
peninsula to make a nice western Pacific chart. None of this data is what you would call "new". It would be a nice chart to have were you headed in that direction. The Hawaii
charts and the US coast charts are as you would expect nice and detailed.