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Old 21-11-2014, 18:41   #16
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

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I always use N up. That's how I look at charts and that's how I orient myself normally. My partner always uses Head up. That's how she sees the world and charts just confuse her unless she rotates them. We all engage our senses of directions differently.

On the other hand I always know where I am and never get lost, and she nevers knows where she is. So I'm right.
What he said X 2.

I do however switch to course up for really narrow channels at very high magnification. Dunno why - I just do.
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Old 21-11-2014, 18:43   #17
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

Hmm... Downunder the convention South Up in open waters and Head Up in confined waters.






































Hey, who said I had my head up where...
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Old 21-11-2014, 18:45   #18
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

My preference is course up near or in-shore, because it matches what I see around me without turning it around in my head.. And north up off-shore, because it matches a compass course in open water.

I doubt I'm not the only one who turns a paper chart of a bay to appoximately course up.
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Old 21-11-2014, 19:06   #19
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

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Hmm... Downunder the convention South Up in open waters and Head Up in confined waters.






































Hey, who said I had my head up where...
LOL. And clockwise relates to toilet bowl theory?:sly:
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Old 21-11-2014, 19:20   #20
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

Disclaimer: I've always used N up. I can't get my head around course up. The digital world keeps moving when I do it that way

I do wonder if it comes down to how one thinks of a plotter. If you believe the plotter shows you where you actually are, then course up makes sense. It's simple, clear and apparently obvious. But if you use your plotter as a fancy chart with moving digital fixes, which is at best a thrice-removed representation of where you might be, then N up makes the most sense.
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Old 21-11-2014, 19:30   #21
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

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...I do wonder if it comes down to how one thinks of a plotter....
Interesting take on perspective

I think of a plotter as representing where OTHER THINGS ARE in relation to my real time position. (Assuming I have a GPS fix)

Be it Reefs, Wind, weather, other ships, current direction, it all inter-relates to the information you receive from others about their position and direction towards harbors or your destination.

That is why North up is my default and most others when communicating relative positions.

I only consider changing to Course/head up when I am winding up or down a river or channel that is navigationally limited to Port or Starboard by a few degrees
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Old 21-11-2014, 19:42   #22
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

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I do wonder if it comes down to how one thinks of a plotter. If you believe the plotter shows you where you actually are, then course up makes sense. It's simple, clear and apparently obvious. But if you use your plotter as a fancy chart with moving digital fixes, which is at best a thrice-removed representation of where you might be, then N up makes the most sense.
I think you are projecting and justifying your biases - it is quite possible that one could use a plotter either way while "believing" quite the opposite of how you portray each.

It is even possible one could not "believe" anything, is a good navigator, and just has a preference for how they like to view a chart.

How is a chart on a plotter with a GPS position fix a more removed representation than a celestial or DR fix on a paper chart? And why would it make any difference which end of the chart was where (assuming you know how it is oriented)?

I assume your radar is also North up?

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Old 21-11-2014, 19:47   #23
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

I grew up on paper charts so north up is intuitively correct for me. Radar is always heads up and that is also intuitive for me. I rarely overlay radar to the chartplotter, but when I do I keep the chart plotter north up. The problem arises when others take the helm and adjust to their preference, then the next guy takes over not realizing that the change. That can be dangerous, so we have a rule on my boat that the plotter is always north up and radar always course up. After several days at sea, lots of people have become converts.
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Old 21-11-2014, 20:07   #24
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

The thread about Metric vs Imperial boiled down to how people intuitively visualize and give measurement

As MYTraveller explains, those of us brought up with paper charts tend to think in terms of cardinal points with North up.

As Mark says, no “right or wrong” but I added that it is important that you stay consistent within the same boat and be able to give someone a reciprocal bearing based on range and compass heading from ‘their” ship
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Old 21-11-2014, 20:15   #25
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

There is some history that is relevant to this question. Many older sailors prefer a heads up display because that's what all the early RADARs were. Then came Gyro-Fed RADARs that were capable of a North Up display. It really was considered to be an improvement over the older technology.
Later came along electronic Charts and there were passionate supporters of both RADAR systems. But really North Up was the more evolved system at the start of the debate.
I see value to heads up, but rarely use it unless I'm in a small fast boat in a channel. I like my RADAR/ECS to match my chart, which ideally I should at least be mentally plotting on.
Further more, if you're in an area where you have used the North Up display before and are familiar with how that appears on your screen, it seems counter intuitive to switch on a return trip.
A lot is going to have to do with your navigation style too. If you got into boating after ECS became popular, then you may not care how the paper charts look. It's going to be a personal choice, however, on open water, most people will agree North Up is the right way.
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Old 21-11-2014, 20:45   #26
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

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I think you are projecting and justifying your biases - it is quite possible that one could use a plotter either way while "believing" quite the opposite of how you portray each.

It is even possible one could not "believe" anything, is a good navigator, and just has a preference for how they like to view a chart.
It's very likely my views are coloured by my history. Hard to get away from that . I do find it confusing to look at a continually shifting chart which is rotating around my position. Perhaps it is the Copernican in me that does not believe the world revolves around little ol' me .

I accept that either way works, but my approach is to never completely believe my plotter. This is why I continue to prefer N-up. As I said, I think it depends on how one perceives the plotter. If you believe it's an accurate representation of reality, then course-up makes sense. If you use it as a digital chart display with an approximate fix, then north-up works better.

Your point about DR or celestial fixes are well taken. Both involve an often not-insiginficant error range. This is understood by the navigator. Celestial fixes are used well away from luppy hazards, so errors are accommodated, and DR positions are (hopefully) corrected with direct observations by other tools (eyes, sonar and radar). In both cases the navigator appreciates the positions are prone to significant error. And in both cases, these positions are plotted north-up on a chart.
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Old 21-11-2014, 21:17   #27
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

I run mate on a platform supply vessel, and I prefer North up offshore and heads up true bearing in restricted waters such as bayous or the ICW. I'll offset the PPI a little bit, so I can see a little more ahead than astern. When I worked for NOAA and the CG, it was mandatory to run in North up no matter where you were. That way the radars matched the charts and the ECDIS.

Personal preference is basically what it boils down to. The first thing my relief will do is change the radar settings to what they like. To each his/her own. As long as you know what your heading is it shouldn't matter too much. However, if you like to reference a paper chart or ICW guide and the plotter relatively often (I do this), then you may want to stick with N up to avoid confusion.
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Old 22-11-2014, 01:29   #28
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

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.... When I worked for NOAA and the CG, it was mandatory to run in North up no matter where you were. That way the radars matched the charts and the ECDIS.
Pretty convincing argument.
Many large shipping companies have that same standing order which I said before are based on IMO recommendations and lessons learned from past accidents.

Those who do not learn to communicate and navigate in North Up presentation will always be suspect to a professional mariner.
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Old 22-11-2014, 03:05   #29
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

I always get a giggle out of this particular debate .My preference regardless of where we are is course up because the display simply is the same as what is around me.
Over the years I have had a few GPS systems in a variety of cars and from memory most use course up as default ,plain logic,and for years I did not even realise there was a choice why would there be a need of an alternative.The screen displays exactly what you are seeing around you why change that?
No one has yet managed to convince me that having to mentally calculate that what the chart or map says is on your right is actually on your left is a better way to operate a car or boat.However if someone cares to explain I will at least listen.
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Old 22-11-2014, 04:42   #30
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Re: Choosing Map Orientation on Chartplotter

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No one has yet managed to convince me that having to mentally calculate that what the chart or map says is on your right is actually on your left is a better way to operate a car or boat.However if someone cares to explain I will at least listen.
Ok I'll try...

Imagine you are in heavy fog, Zero visibility approaching San Diego channel
using radar and your plotter

Over the radio you hear an urgent message obviously directed at you:


“Vessel bearing 220 degrees True from XX fixed marker at a range of 0.4nm, steering 030 degrees at 5.2 knots…. this is American Naval ship approaching your stern at speed 29 knots on urgent business.

Please immediately change course to 120 degrees to avoid severe wash and you must turn back onto a reciprocal course once we pass you in 2 minutes and remain safely outside harbor until further notice"



How well does that work for you in course up and radar ranges when you are blind piloting in a developing emergency situation where soon there may be many craft around you from all different cardinal points ?
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