Traditional paper charts are in the process of being replaced with electronic navigational charts (ENC) and a new form of paper chart called NOAA Custom Chart (NCC), based on these ENC. In this new system, the user designs and creates a high-res PDF file of the paper chart they want using the NOAA NCC online app, and then it is up to the user to get these printed. Existing print-on-demand (POD) outlets will likely play a major role in that process, especially for commercial and government applications, but there are also other options that might meet the needs of many mariners. There is a video at the end of this post on the process of creating an NCC PDF.
We keep in mind here that the desire for having the paper charts is for many just a secure backup to the primary navigation done with the electronic charts, and the backups can be in other sizes and papers than are used in the traditional paper charts. The present POD traditional charts are all of standard, fixed sizes and all on high-quality heavy paper. A major virtue of the NCC is we can choose the area we want to chart, it does not have to match existing charts, and it is up to us to choose the size and quality of the paper.
There are several nuances to creating the NCC, such as scale and depth contour choices and the location of compass roses that we cover in a separate NCC design video and is not the topic at hand, which is the printing. Below is a summary of the products we can create and print.