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Old 13-09-2003, 09:36   #1
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Article re NOAA charts & mapping programs

In this month's Motor Boating magazine

http://www.motorboating.com/motorboa...480316,00.html
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Old 26-10-2003, 01:21   #2
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From another forum:

" Free Electronic Charts from NOAA
Submitted by John Nantz of Poulsbo WA on 10/25 at 10:12PM regarding General_interest.

This topic has been discussed before but I've got it to work and thought I'd share a few sources and my experience.

Chart: Step 1; Available from the NOAA web site at http://www.chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/index.htm.

In "Overview" click on the hot link "(NOAA ENCŪ) "

In the "menu bar" (that's a stretch) near the top middle of the page select "Download NOAA ENC[registered trademark]"

At "Downloads" in the middle of the page, read, understand, and agree then click on "Proceed to NOAA Downloads" at bottom of page. This takes you to a table which is arranged by chart number where you can select the charts you want to download. Click the boxes to the right for those you want.

It is possible to download the files to a folder so set one up ahead of time. Since the files are Ziped, if you don't have Winzip a link is available on that page, too. There is also a note that there is a New download site available that's under testing for those that like to singlehand across oceans can check out.

ENC Viewers: As for a free software program there are some of those available too. Since my PC is older (switching over to Mac's), I went with 7c's because it works with Win95 through 2000. To access the various viewers available, select "Resources" from the original link at Step 1, near the top middle of the page.

Go to the section "Free ENC Viewers" and select something that suits your computer/software situation. For older systems the first link is what you want and for newer systems the others would be better.

Downloading and getting the files operational is the easy part. The work comes when trying to import the map files into the viewers.

For the SeeMyDec files the one you want is named "*.000". Visit the menu "Display" to turn on depth, lights, etc. otherwise they won't show in the map.

A fun project for a rainy day.

Related link "
http://www.chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/download.htm
Office of Coast Survey - NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts, Download
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Old 26-10-2003, 04:59   #3
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I've run Fugawi all year using the ENC NOAA charts. Here in the Chesapeake the coverage with ENC charts is virtually 100% complete. You won't find another area with this much continuous coverage with ENC charts.

ENC Charts are great. Being vector based they always look nice at any scale and they are continually updated. I've not found anything on any current paper chart that does not match up with the ENC charts. ENC charts are the same level of currency you get when you order On Demand paper charts. They do require a bit more CPU power than raster charts however. I've found my PII 450 laptop does OK, but I would like it a bit faster for good 1280 x 1024 screen display speed.

Right now the key is when the coverage will expand for more US charts and hopefully international as well. ENC is the international standard! For sailors on the Chesapeake, ENC is here and now. I like the Fugawi software for ENC but it also will handle many other formats as well as let you scan your own sources too. It interfaces to my Garmin GPS and Simrad auto pilot just fine too. The Fugawi viewer is only $20 and is better than any of the free ones I tried.
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Old 26-10-2003, 05:08   #4
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Thanx Paul

Paul:
Thanks for the info'.
I thought the Fugawi was listed at $198, or am I (once again) totally confused?

I note that you specified "View" at $20.
I'm a computer "Luddite" so please excuse the dumb question, but what are the other (more expensive) products listed? Is view ALL I need?

" Fugawi, a Canadian company, is offering a navigational program that will handle both for-fee charts from companies like Maptech and SoftChart and for-free ENC charts from NOAA. The 200-plus ENC charts currently available are contained on a CD that comes with the Fugawi program. Fugawi is also working with WXport to provide weather overlays on its electronic charts. Price: $198. Fugawi, (416) 920-9300. www.fugawi.com "

Regards,
Gord
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Old 28-10-2003, 15:22   #5
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Gord,

There are two products the viewer just will let you look at ENC charts and it is $20. It won't plot any courses or support any interfaces but you can zoom and look at all the info. If you already had a laptop it is a nice feature to use for just this low cost. If you have a screen capture application you could even print some images too. I bought it first as I was not sure how good the ENC charts really were. I was impressed enough to buy the full product.

The full product however is $198 US. Note with the full product you get a lot of stuff including support for hand held upload included as well as the usual features you would expect from any of the other products. NMEA in and OUT is supported so you can intergate the software with all your toys. They even support real time weather radar overlay if you pay for the subscription and have an internet link on the boat. the Marine version adds a few features but you could use the same software in your car. They also throw in the GDT road data base. Really handy when you pull into port and are ready to hike into town or have call for a rescue vehicle to bring cold beer.

They do pormpt updates that include new features as well as any fixes. I write software for a living and did a lot of land based mapping software and this stuff really is good.

For an alternative solution for me I would have had to pay more plus then be looking at electronic carts all for about double the price.
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Old 10-11-2003, 21:43   #6
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ENC viewer

The best free ENC viewer I've come across is from a Korean company. I haven't found a way to purchase a full version, but it makes an easy to use viewer that's much faster than any of the others I've tried. http://www.mecys.com/
It includes a converter to convert the free NOAA ENC's to SENCs that the program uses.

-Pete
CSY44 "Imagine"
refitting in Bellingham, WA
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Old 11-11-2003, 00:16   #7
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Hi Pete,

Hey, your just up the road from me here in Everett. Good to see someone else here in the Puget sound.

Here are the contact numbers for their (Mecys) system.

_E-MAIL_:__support@mecys.com
_Phone_:__ (+82) 51 337 1902 (Korea)

Del............................................... ......................_/)

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Old 14-11-2003, 08:38   #8
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I contacted mecys. It seems they don't make a "retail" product. They make custom software for the merchant shipping companies as well as governemnt software for the Korean Navy. They don't have any plans for recreational products.

The demo app they have available does deent job for display only. It takes serious horsepower to run however. It relies heavily on DirectX and needs 16 bit color support.

It is an attractive user interface and the full scale product even supports radar overlay and 3D display. With some proper marketing I think they could beat out anything else you can buy. Retail software is brutal these days. A product like this would take a million just to bring to market.
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