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Old 11-10-2005, 19:25   #16
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Something to consider. A lot of the product in terms of maps are being rresold with no updates.

All Garmin charts are derived from Soviet satelite imagry they bought a long time ago. They are nice charts as the imagry was pretty good, but always consider the updates. For US charts the standard is Maptech (they have a contract wth NOAA - the folks who pay the big money) and the new ENC formats come off their digital vector systems. You'll soon be able to get all US charts as PFD files too free. The bad news is they slice up a normal chart into 16 or 20 sheets. Printing them in color is costly but you'll get them free.

The future is vector but if you need the whole world you need flexibility. The world does not run on one standard yet. ENC aks S-57 is the world international standard - period. They internationaly legal for ship rerquired to keep charts too. The software you buy is peanuts compared to what you pay for the actual charts. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Consider that some times more that one software application is the cheaper course.

Based on my research for ENC Fugawi is the tops for ENC. It displays better and use all the ENC features well. For raster there are a whole host of packages to pick from. Raster formats are old and will die in enough years but it may be the only source you can get for where you want to be. The ability scan a paper chart is also sometimes all there is.

I looked at SeaClear - sometimes free is not worth the money. SeaClear is a good example of a minimal product worth it's price. I'm sorry, I worked in GIS for many years and I write software for a living and it's a free product because no one with a brain would pay for it. It works to a point but is not what I would call worthy sofware to use in a situation where it may be important. Even high priced packages are at least very functional and for the cost insigificant compared to the cost of a complete set of global charts.

Persoanlly I think CMap format is dead, but not if you already have the charts. Just know that updates may be your issue later on. Poor charts can send you to to a wreck as fast as poor navigation skills. You need charts where you are going (or end up). It will clearly not be all in one format and some will be only paper and you may want paper backups in every situation.

There is a bigger picture to consider, so don't let the price of software be the only measure. Look at the quality of the chart data. You want the better chart no matter what format it comes in.
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Old 15-10-2005, 04:21   #17
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There was an earlier query on this thread about where to download the S-57 format charts:

http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/download.htm

Also worth looking at are
http://www.nauticalcharts.gov/bookletcharts/
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Old 17-10-2005, 21:50   #18
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I have all the booklets. They are nice but they slice up a full sized chart into 16 small parts. They are however the real chart and it is indexed with Lat / Long so you could cheat and calibrate the sheets in a raster chart format.

Free is not always worth the full price of admission. Might take a while with 517 charts though.
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Old 17-10-2005, 21:59   #19
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Thanks Talbot. That's what I was looking for.
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