In a reversal of previous policy, the U.S. Navy has lifted its restriction of high resolution bathymetric charts of the ocean bottom.

The announcement, made in a Department of Defense statement dated March 30, means that data from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration program to map the 200-mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone will no longer sit under lock and key. In addition, the possibility of classifying all government-supported high resolution sonar surveys by academic institutions that was considered earlier by the Navy has been ruled out in a letter from Oceanographer of the Navy Richard Pittenger to NOAA Administrator William Evans.