OceanGrafix, the exclusive provider of NOAA print-on-demand (POD) nautical charts for U.S. waters, announced today that QR codes are now available on eight NOAA charts for the Tampa Bay, Fla., area. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) added the QR codes in an effort to test their effectiveness in providing valuable and timely information to mariners.
“While consumers have been somewhat slow to adapt to QR codes in other applications, this is the perfect scenario for how they should be used, and I hope mariners will take advantage of this unique feature,” says OceanGrafix President Ron Walz. “Having real-time navigational information at your fingertips will not only be convenient, but could also be a critical safety tool.”
Quick Response Codes, or QR codes, are two-dimensional bar codes that can be scanned by a smart phone to direct users to digital content online. In this instance, boaters can scan the QR codes on select NOAA nautical charts to access real-time data sites for important information such as tides, currents, and marine weather.
Instead of searching several websites to gather marine information, the QR code can be scanned once to immediately access up-to-date data for the boater’s particular geographic area. Numbered icons on the chart match up with the web menu.
After a four-month period, NOAA will evaluate the results of testing QR codes in the Tampa Bay area to determine whether the feature would be effective in other geographical areas. “We will look at the desirability, utility, and usability of the QR code, real-time data service,” says Dave Enabnit, technical director at the Office of Coast Survey, NOAA.
The QR code service is provided free of charge from NOAA on print-on-demand (POD) nautical charts purchased through OceanGrafix and its retailers.