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Old 01-03-2011, 14:20   #1
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Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

Wired is reporting

Quote:
The Federal Aviation Administration is allowing charter company Executive Jet Management to use Apple’s tablet as an approved alternative to paper charts. The authorization follows three months of rigorous testing and evaluation of the iPad and Mobile TC, a map app developed by aviation chartmaker Jeppesen.
FAA OKs iPad for Pilots’ Charts | Autopia | Wired.com

This will just feed the fires of debate: paper vs electronic.

If the FAA is actually approving iPads over the paper charts in Jets, can the USCG be far behind in endorsing electronic charts as fulfilling the requirement to carry charts? "Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and in our lifetime"
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Old 01-03-2011, 15:54   #2
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

I personally feel that at the end of 2010 there was a shift away from the usefulness of paper charts on boats. Perhaps if you're cruising across oceans, paper might still be useful. But for the large bulk of cruisers who stay along and near coastlines, I believe that using paper charts adds more risk and danger than throwing them off the boat. I reached this conclusion after visiting 20 boats in a row who had paper charts that were more than 5 years old. The electronic charts on most of my devices are weeks-to-months old.

Yes, I understand the issues (I'm a software and hardware developer). Yes, I know about lightening and the need for redundancy.

I also know that my 4 smartphones, 2 pads (soon to be 3), and 4 laptops will all show my position on charts if there is GPS available. If every GPS satellite falls out of the sky, I'll still be able to view all charts on my electronics and perform DR. It just won't show me where I am by itself. In other words, I'll be in the exact situation I am with paper charts even when every GPS satellite is working perfectly. Of course, many of the buoys and shoaling features on my paper charts would have been out-of-date.

Power backups provide enough reserve power for me to pilot with my iPhone for 1,000 nm (probably more) assuming I lose all engine provided power which is quite unlikely. New Trent makes some fantastic iOS power devices.

I know some people will feel this is crazy. I'm not advocating it for everyone or telling anyone to stop using paper. You'll come to that realization on your own much as most cruisers stopped carrying sextants a decade ago.

Since January, the few passages I've made have been sans-paper. And I'm loving it.
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Old 01-03-2011, 16:14   #3
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

I'm kinda old school, I see electronic over paper as yet one more technology that is faster-better-cheaper but not a complete replacement for the old technology. Not many new technologies completely replace the old technology. Quite often, there remains at least some use for the old technology.

I use the chart plotters all the time while underway. I use the paper charts to plan and discuss what we are going to be doing out on the water with the people I work with.

No screen has a larger image or better resolution than an entire paper chart. I also know that if my plotter goes down I had better have a paper chart.

So in my case, paper has not suddenly become obsolete because of electronic charts.

A good navigator does not throw out all his old tools when a new tool comes along because you never know when you might need the information those old tools can provide. Electronic charts are just one more tool to add to your navigators tool box...along with radar, dividers, AIS, sextant, watch, pencils, logbook, your eyeballs, your hearing, binoculars, etc etc. You wouldn't throw those navigation tools out would ya? Even if God were onboard pointing to the chart saying we are here and going this direction, I would still keep all my tools.
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Old 01-03-2011, 16:24   #4
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

I always say I stopped using paper charts during 2003 and it's true, but I do have cruising guides and/or nautical almanacs that have charts and these are my paper backup. I actually used the charts in the Bauhaus guide while cruising Panama... amazing, isn't it?

Long time sailors need little to find their way. I wouldn't hesitate sailing from Horta to the Caribbean with just a compass. Did just that between Holland and England and found myself within 2 nm of where I wanted to be. But when available, I use electronics plotters, laptops, radar, AIS etc. The more sources of information for navigation the better, but we need very little when it comes down to that.

The same is true for pilots: just fly where there's people living below you and ask traffic control where you are and you'll find your way when the iPad has failed. Times are changing

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Old 01-03-2011, 16:27   #5
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

I feel like this development by the FAA is quite disrespectful of passenger safety. The cost of paper charts is hardly astronomical compared to other airline expenses, and provides a margin of safety in many possible situations.

I carry paper charts on my boat. GPS is nice, but you can't trust it.

For instance, my friend was motoring down Portage Canal (Port Townsend Ship Canal) in pitch black conditions. On the bow, she called back to the helm saying that they were dangerously close to shore. She responded that they were "right in the middle of the channel" because she was steering completely by GPS, with no regard to actual location, they ended up almost running aground in about 5 feet of water on the side of the canal, because of the GPS.

If they had been using paper charts, this situation would never have come this close to disaster.

Same story with many obstructions: rocks, pilings, shoals.

Many GPS chartplotter users assume that the charts are accurate, and fail to give obstructions the wide berth they deserve, resulting in many "But the GPS says" moments.
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Old 01-03-2011, 16:47   #6
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

Quote:
USCG be far behind in endorsing electronic charts as fulfilling the requirement to carry charts? "Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and in our lifetime"
ENC electronic charts are internationally legal (the only ones) for those vessels required to carry charts. The US Navy no longer requires sextant training although merchant ships still do. Not clear why on that. Last I heard the Abacus is no longer required any place (though still legal and quite efficient).

In a bigger historical perspective sailors have always without exception used the very latest navigation tools available. At one point in time paper charts were considered state secrets and to lose one to the enemy was a criminal offense.

The whole romance of recreational sailing is barely more than 100 years old and popular and affordable for maybe 50 years. In the business of commerce and war there has never been any limits on using technology to the last degree of availability.

Paper references still are a very handy quick reference that in a slight moment of doubt might make you consider options you might not if you had to fire up an electronic device. Personally, I prefer both and I do prefer to hand steer by a real magnetic compass when not using the autopilot. I find the bounce is easier to deal with in analog.

Piloting by chart plotter is mostly foolish. In tight quarters you need your full visual attention. It's amazing how easy it is to hit a buoy or day mark when you are aiming for them on a chart plotter.
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Old 01-03-2011, 16:47   #7
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

I have to agree with David M,
My take is,
Get some paper charts, as up to date as you can live with, if you are using electronic charts I wounld't sweat having them out of date as much, and if you really wanted to you can update your paper from electronic.
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Old 01-03-2011, 16:55   #8
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

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Originally Posted by tager View Post
...in pitch black conditions.
Actually, in pitch black conditions, with paper charts, they probably would have waited outside the canal.

Again, every GPS satellite can fall out of the sky. Then my electronic charts give me the same abilities that my paper charts used to provide. Except my paper charts were old...

I think it's a really important point that DR works just as well using electronic charts with no GPS as it does on paper. In fact, some software like Coastal Explorer actually do the cursor movement by DR settings if the GPS signal disappears.
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Old 01-03-2011, 17:28   #9
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by tager View Post
I feel like this development by the FAA is quite disrespectful of passenger safety. The cost of paper charts is hardly astronomical compared to other airline expenses, and provides a margin of safety in many possible situations.
With all due respect, you can't be serious. First of all, if you had read the Wired article, you would know that this FAA legal change applies to a charter jet outfit whose customers are in general not part of the traveling public (it's called fractional ownership).

Second of all, do you really think that the pilot of a 767 landing at LAX has some paper chart in his lap as he is making his approach? I am a licensed private pilot, and I can assure you that if a commercial pilot has actually opened up a paper chart in the cockpit, your ass is in a world of hurt way beyond disrespect. Yes, they have the paper charts in a leather bag somewhere in the cockpit, but the approach speed of your average airliner is around 200 kts; if the instruments go blank on approach, they don't have time to unfold the chart even if they wanted to.

"cost of paper charts".... ROTFLMAO
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Old 01-03-2011, 20:13   #10
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

The story about navigating blind while looking at a chartplotter is either a funny story or a description of people who should not be on a boat at all.

Go get some navigation lessons; not only will they learn one how to navigate with paper charts, tide tables etc. but they will tell you about radar and how it can be used to find your way even in pitch black conditions.

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Old 01-03-2011, 20:26   #11
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

Ah, the paper vs. chart plotter debate. Always happy to re-hash this topic.

Piloting skills and advanced navigation tend to go hand in hand with better seamanship. It's rare to meet a great celestial navigator who isn't a great sailor, but it's very common to meet someone steering with a chart plotter who doesn't know a bow from a stern.

I have no idea if a chart plotters track DR positions (I don't know why they would), but one great way to determine if there's a cyclone nearby is by currents that are very abnormal from what should be going on. No set and drift without a DR, and no DR if you're not on paper, and then no course to steer because the chart plotter is keeping course to steer up to date.

Chart plotters abstract a lot of details away from you which can be very important. I wouldn't feel comfortable boarding a cruise ship if the bridge crew only had electronic navigation and the captain put his thumb up his ass when he had to use something other than a gps/chartplotter to get a lot of people home.

Charting and piloting is fun too. You're more aware of navigation aids, currents, shipping lanes, and just overall have a much bigger view of what's going on.
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Old 01-03-2011, 20:58   #12
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

I love paper charts because I can see the whole picture of an area, no postage stamp zooming in to read the details.

On coastal paper charts, past notations made of shore or fishing possibilities burn in to me with a clearer perspective that often lead to new discoveries. Warm memories of when those notations were made and the coffee stain stamp of approval are just simply tactile and personal

I know I can navigate with either, but that is not the reason I keep old detailed charts of areas rarely visited.

Sometimes it just boils down to your preference of a favorite book or a Kindle at times?

I still see no reason why you cannot have both.
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Old 01-03-2011, 21:02   #13
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

Ah, now we get people who admit they don't know much (or anything?) about chartplotters, telling us that they are no good.

FYI: yes, they do DR when needed. Like repeated many times already: an electronic chart is a chart... it's more chart than a paper chart; in fact, the paper chart was made by printing the electronic chart.

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Old 01-03-2011, 21:08   #14
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

Cook charted a lot of the world, which is to say he had no charts. Of course he had guys hanging over the bow dropping leads and someone up the mast watching for things that go bumo in the night, not to mention fellows out in the tenders helping work things out. It's hard to get people to do that for you these days!!

I like the overview paper charts give you but am thrilled to have electronic navigation gizmos (in lieu of someone hanging over the bow)
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Old 01-03-2011, 21:27   #15
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Re: Death to PAPER ! More Nails in the Paper Chart Coffin . . .

What I hate about paper charts is I don't have a big enough boat. IAW the chart table is always too small to get the thing flat out. I will surely welcome electronic charts. BUT, no matter what, I will carry the paper stuff if I go out-of-sight of land!
Just another back-up system.
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