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    Re: sextant without paper charts
    From: R B Emerson
    Date: 2008 Nov 4, 12:39 -0800

    FYI, here's the NYT take on the QE2 grounding:
    On Nov 3, 7:47 pm, Lu Abel  wrote:
    > Peter Fogg wrote:
    > > Lu continues:
    > > Consider then the crudeness of our charting capabilities.   Satellites
    > > can't spot stuff below the water like they can above the water.   Side
    > > scan sonar is great -- if you've got the time and money to scan the
    > > ocean a few hundred yards at a swath.  Bottom line:  we really don't
    > > know what's out there in the great oceans.
    > > Response:
    > > Although this is changing, at least in our waters.  Australia claims a
    > > vast swathe of underwater territory (in the guise of 'economic
    > > interest') and has set about charting this realm in a systematic way.
    > > All sorts of interesting  things are bobbing to the surface .. of our
    > > understanding.
    > There's more than that, too.  It's one thing to slash the bottom of the
    > QE II, quite another to do it to the bottom of an oil tanker or to an
    > LNG tanker.  On more and more charts, I'm seeing symbols for channels
    > where commercial ships operate having been swept for obstacles by drags,
    > rather than merely having been scanned with sonar.   It's interesting to
    > look at the chart for that particular region -- whilst there's one tiny
    > region where surveys date back a century, most of the shallower areas
    > transited by commercial ships have been charted with side-scan sonar
    > since the QE II incident.
    > If anyone wants to take a look for him/herself, here's the image of the
    > chart:  http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/13218.shtml
    > There are a westward running string of islands eminating in the
    > northeastern corner of the chart, off the western tip of the westernmost
    > island is Sow and Pigs Reef, the QE II was sailing just south of that
    > and I rather suspect some of the shallower rocks are recent discoveries.
    > We have people from all around the world on this list and since I gave a
    > weblink above, I'd like to mention that all charts of the US are
    > available for on-line viewing.   Starting point 
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