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Old 11-09-2009, 07:35   #16
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- - In the history of raster digital nautical charts. The old Maptech with the "Charthdr" files are the oldest available format. In the early days scanners and computer memory systems were extremely limited. All e-charts come from "real" paper charts or the original "acetates" (transparent plastic sheet that the cartographer actually drew on with pen and ink). It was not possible to scan the entire chart in one pass and also the size of the digital file exceeded the capacity of the computers so each chart was divided in smaller pieces. These are the "ao1, a02, etc." files you are seeing on the CD. The e-chart programs assembled these parts to display the chart on the monitor. One chart consumed up to 6mb or more storage space and had to be brought into the e-chart display program in little pieces as the amount of memory was limited.
- - The next generation of e-charts was the BSB format where they were able to reduce the file size dramatically enough to get all of a chart into one file of - on average - 1mb. Still the little "side charts" to a chart were kept in separate files, these are the "_1, _2, _3" files.
- - The originals of all the USA NOAA nautical charts were made available for free to BSB and also Maptech under the idea that taxpayer paid for government charts had to go into the public arena where there would be competition. However, shortly later BSB bought Maptech and that ended all competition and the prices skyrocketed. At this time Softchart started up and did not use the "Acetates" from NOAA, instead they simply purchased paper charts and scanned them. They had to change some of the original color schemes of the "normal" nautical charts to avoid copyright and other problems. And better yet, they underpriced BSB by significant amounts of money. All this caught the attention of some politicians in Washington and a war ensued over the $400 prices for CD's when the charts had been made available for free from NOAA. Softcharts was the counter argument that it did not cost what BSB claimed to produce these CD's. Upshot, laws were passed that forced NOAA to make the charts available to the public for free (not really, since taxpayers paid for the original costs of surveying and producing the charts).
- - Refinements were made in the BSB format to decrease storage space needed through BSB1, BSB2 . . . BSB4 and so on. So now prices dropped for the BSB charts - for awhile - forced by competition from Softcharts and the free NOAA download services. BSB was not very happy.
- - It was about now that "quilting" of charts within the e-chart navigation programs was developed. Memory size was now available to hold more than one chart so they could be "quilted" together. However, the original "old" Maptech (hdr) were too huge and the programmers simply excluded this whole series of charts from being able to be loaded into their programs.
- - In a deal with the e-chart navigation programs a new software change was installed that blocked the use of the "free" NOAA charts. Still there was the problem of piracy, copying of CD's. Dongles and "keys" and so forth were tried to "lock" the CD's. Finally, the disc format was changed from individual chart files to one huge continuous file that only the approved software could parse.
- - If you want to access the old Maptech (hdr) charts that I mentioned contain charts for places in strange and wonderful corners of the world, you have to retain one of the "pre-quilting" navigation programs such as Cap'n version 6 and earlier. These ancient charts are easily recognized as many contain hand-drawn palm trees and huts and are usually monochrome.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:01   #17
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Yea, they were great. As you mentioned, new or updated charts have little use IMHO... except in the USA. The bouys and lights are jhit or miss in third world anyway. I once spent a bunch of time going through and updating paper charts, most of the updates were administrative anyway....
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:33   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W32PAMELA View Post
... the .hdr files are an early type of raster format used by Maptech ... I keep my old copy of Capn 6.0 just so I can use my CD's that are in the .hdr format ...
Thanks. After messin' a bit I found (confirming your post) that with Capn Voyager 8.3, and electing "Capn Voyager Classic," I can see and load the ".hdr" files and get them to display properly. Getting the files to load in a folder other than the root of the default partition is another matter that still needs some attention. The ".hdr" charts do not display with SeaClear II, OpenCPN, Capn 8.3 Mosaic, etc. If you are using Capn Voyager 8.3 you may be able to avoid loading one of the older Capn versions alongside it.

Note to "osirissail": I responded before I saw your helpful and detailed summary. As noted above, Capn 8.3 includes the executable for a non-quilting verision of Voyager which allows one to load the ".hdr" charts. I thought I was up on this sort of thing, having started with a DOS version of Capn in 1993 and having, at that time, purchased charts on floppy diskettes directly from Dennis Mills, author of The Capn. Each chart (and only 1:80,000 charts were available) was hand-loaded via 5 or 6 diskettes, and usually I could get perhaps only 3 or 4 charts on the hard drives available at that time. IIRC, Mr. Lincoln was in the White House just then and had his hands full.
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Old 11-09-2009, 15:00   #19
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Way back when I was also a first user of The Cap'n system progressing up to version 6 and then I came into some money so I called up sales office of The Cap'n and told them to send me the latest and greatest which cost me $40 bucks for the upgrade back then. I loaded it and referenced my chart library.
-- I keep all my nautical e-charts in a folder name "nautical charts" with subfolders for each region. I can service the charts and include/exclude regions from loading into The Cap'n to maintain speed of the program. I have a library of every raster chart in the world that was in BSB/Maptech/ any other readable format - over 14,000 charts. Then you use The Cap'n > Charts > Set Paths (advanced) and build a text file of all the locations of your charts on your hard drive. Then you turn off the "Options > Advanced > Search for new charts on startup" option. This makes the Capn load much faster as it does not have to search your whole hard drive to see if they are any new charts.
- - When I loaded the new version of Capn 8.x it came up and the quilting function was horrible. I have a whole series of Pavididus's sketch charts for the Bahamas and T&C and Dominican Republic which are digitized and display on the system. When the new version tried to "quilt" a DMA or NOAA chart with a sketch charts it was disastrous. Then the new version would not read my old Maptech (hdr) charts. And the new system was "locked" and required internet access to unlock.
- - I telephoned the programmer at The Cap'n and talked about these problems. He was the one who told me about the problem with the ancient Maptech (hdr) charts being too large to quilt so they were blocked from loading. He also mentioned the problem with quilting charts with sketch charts and said the "market was with power yachts and sailors were only a small portion, so we went with quilting". Finally I offered to pay whatever extra was needed to get a key that would allow me to rebuild my system after a computer crash while I was out of internet contact. He said no, that was not possible. I asked him, so what should I do? He said keep the version 6 of the Cap'n - It was our best version. And he sent me back all my upgrade money as soon as I returned the disks. Completely honest and willing to do what was best for me - give me back my money - I like that in a company.
- - The Cap'n Classic on the Version 8 CD is version 6. I had read several years ago that The Cap'n has been bought by one of the mega e-chart programs companies, but today it is part of an outfit called Star Technologies out of Virginia. The original company was in Maine.
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Old 28-10-2010, 15:29   #20
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Where to by charts for the Baltic to opencpn?

I have installed Opencpn under Linux and have tried it with some old BSB/KAp-charts I found on the net. It works so well that I want to invest in a new set of charts covering the south of the Baltic and the north of Germany.
I used to have Maptech installed on a virtual Windows system but decided to abandon that as that was the only thing I did with Windows. Rather have a nice clean system in Linux. The charts are still on the CDs but seem impossible to convert.

Anyone who has a tip on where to buy up-to-date charts?
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Old 30-10-2010, 01:31   #21
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I use Navpak Pro which can use the HDR format charts. Check out the demo on their website. It is enabled for traditional navigation.
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Old 30-10-2010, 02:35   #22
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There is one more way to reuse old HDR charts. You can stitch all the PCX picture tiles together to one big picture, that can then be georeferenced and used in many programs. As a user of OpenCPN I convert these, stitched together pictures, to bsb2 files. Of course bsb2 charts can be used with most chart plotters and navigators, SeaClear included.
I wrote a script to join all the tiles available here.
More about OpenCPN and HDR files here.

A bit of work for sure ...........

Thomas
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Old 09-02-2011, 18:08   #23
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Hi

Does anyone know how to convert MAPMEDIA *.map chart files into a format that can be displayed by OpenCPN ????
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Old 26-01-2014, 21:04   #24
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Re: Charts on CD

Thomas,
I have some old Cuba, Dominica and S America charts in .hdr format. In dire need of .kap files to run on open CPN.
I'm not a program savvy guy (mechanical Engineer before I retired) and was only successful in generating empty tif and png directories.
Is there any further instruction I can find that would help the lay-person (I'm being kind to myself) perform the conversion? I feel like I'm in over my head by at least a foot.
Thanks
Matt
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Old 27-01-2014, 02:09   #25
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Re: Charts on CD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsmatt View Post
Thomas,
I have some old Cuba, Dominica and S America charts in .hdr format. In dire need of .kap files to run on open CPN.
I'm not a program savvy guy (mechanical Engineer before I retired) and was only successful in generating empty tif and png directories.
Is there any further instruction I can find that would help the lay-person (I'm being kind to myself) perform the conversion? I feel like I'm in over my head by at least a foot.
Thanks
Matt
It sounds like you may have got some of the old Maptech original echart maps - maybe -
If you have a map folder like this below:
Charthdr - folder name
MWORLDS0.HDR - file within folder
M00124S0.HDR - file within folder

You also need the additional folders like these below:
M00124S0 - folder name
M00124S0.A01 - file within folder
M00124S0.A02 - file within folder and so on . . .

The "charthdr" files are worthless without the accompanying folders of the actual map parts. Likewise, if you have a folder of the map parts and no "charthdr" folder with the same prefix name they are not usable.

Very few modern chart-nav programs are still able to load and display these old original echart formats. One chart may consist of 132 parts (M00124SO) or more and the e-chart program designers recognized that these charts required too much memory to reassemble and display so they simply avoided coding for them. Early versions of "The Capn" can read and display them but later versions cannot. Which is why I keep an old version 6 of "The Capn" in my library of e-Nav programs.

There is a wealth of very old and rare charts of extremely "out of the way" gunkholes that are only available from these old Maptech charts. Since these very "out of the way" areas are not in much demand, modern commercial echart companies did not feel it was worth it to convert them to the modern echart formats. So they are "lost" to those who are not using an ancient enav chart display/navigation program.
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Old 27-01-2014, 06:41   #26
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Re: Charts on CD

Yes,
My cd has the chthdr folder, and world files, etc.
So how do I get started.
Need Dominica, north coast of S Amer, and western Carib, all of which I have in hdr format.
Thanks for the reply.
Matt
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Old 27-01-2014, 08:25   #27
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Re: Charts on CD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsmatt View Post
Yes,
My cd has the chthdr folder, and world files, etc.
So how do I get started.
Need Dominica, north coast of S Amer, and western Carib, all of which I have in hdr format.
Thanks for the reply.
Matt
First off, the ancient Maptech echarts were organized in volumes/disks with the name "CP-08 Caribbean", "CP-09 Imray Caribbean", "CP-14 Panama to Brazil", etc. somewhat similar to what they are selling today.

But, read my post #25 again, carefully - the old chart disks were organized with folders as the examples I cited showed. And along with the top folder titled "Charthdr" were additional folders named as the examples I cited - one folder for each map named in the "Charthdr" folder.

Because these folders consumed enormous amounts of disk space, each CD could only contain a limited amount of charts and were therefore organized into regions. I believe there were 14 or more regions - that is, you would have to have 14 or more CD's before you accumulated all their US and Caribbean, etc. maps. Now-a-days with the modern chart formats you can get all of the world's charts on one CD/DVD.

Back to the ancient Maptech charts - for each entry in the "Charthdr" folder you must have the corresponding folder that is named for that chart.

For Mapchart "124 - North Atlantic Ocean (Southwestern Sheet)" in the Charthdr folder will be a file named "M00124S0.HDR" which contains computer instructions for piecing together the actual chart that is contained in another folder named "M00124S0" Unless you have both the "charthdr" file and the folder containing its parts, you cannot load the map. Since these old charts are not sold anymore, it is common that folks trade the files and only have the "charthdr" directory/folder and do not have the actual folder of each chart's pieces. Once when I was editing my chart collection I found hundreds of "charthdr" files for which there was no corresponding folder of chart pieces.

For the chart areas you are asking you would need the regions CP08, CP09 and CP14. The chart regions contain the old echarts for the Caribbean and area from Panama to Brazil.
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Old 27-01-2014, 08:34   #28
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Re: Charts on CD

Thanks for your reply.
You said:
the old chart disks were organized with folders as the examples I cited showed. And along with the top folder titled "Charthdr" were additional folders named as the examples I cited - one folder for each map named in the "Charthdr" folder.

My disk has the charthdr folder, and the accompanying small chart folders with the multiple bits .a01, etc.
Also the mworlds are there too.
I believe I have the proper .hdr format data to do the conversion. They are old Maptech disks, I believe.
Just need some help in the procedure.
Thanks again,
Matt
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Old 27-01-2014, 09:35   #29
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Re: Charts on CD

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
If you ask around you will probably find some old timers with CD's of the older raster charts that can be traded.
"A mariner operating on an uncorrected chart is courting disaster."

Bowditch, LL.D., Nathanial, ed. The American Practical Navigator. Bethesda, Maryland: NATIONAL IMAGERY AND MAPPING AGENCY, 2002. s.v. "Using Charts., page 49"

I've never understood why someone would buy an old, uncorrected chart, particularly one that can't be corrected.
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Old 27-01-2014, 11:46   #30
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Re: Charts on CD

A mariner relying on only a chart is courting disaster. One mistake that modern mariners make is to not take their eyes from the chartplotter.
Additionally, after a long discussion with a reputable British chartmaker, when traveling outside the US, the chart data often has been uncorrected since the first data was taken, sometimes more than 200 years ago. The US has spent the money to keep charts updated. Many other locales don't have that kind of budget.
The chart is a tool only as safe as the person using it.
That said, who can help with .hdr chart conversion?
Thanks,
Matt
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