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Old 17-01-2009, 14:00   #46
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Originally Posted by Sam Plan B View Post
Now, I think the best of both worlds would be a GPS chart plotter that has a "print screen" option. There are color printers that are compatible to a laptop in size. It would be nice to be able to print the area you traversing and have that on 8 1/2 x 11 on a plot board in the cockpit. I have a Northstar GPS. Maybe there is a way to have it print. I haven't looked into that yet. Anyone actually done this?
We print A4 chartlets off Maxsea on our computer as a backup to our electrickery, just display full size overlay Lat/Long grid and use print screen, usually just print out Harbour charlets for plces I might have to get into if I have a problem after each leg I just throw them away, cheap and easy
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Old 17-01-2009, 15:11   #47
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I tend to agree with MarkJ's comments. A prudent small boat navigator should be primarily relying on electronic charts, not paper ones. If there are not backup electronic systems then paper charts in limited numbers should be carried as a fall back position but no need to keep a course plotted on them.

In subsequent posts there have been some incorrect comments made trying to diminish his claim - one example, the claim that raster charts, they being a copy of the original paper, are more reliable than vector charts. That is completely incorrect insofar as official charts are concerned as the vector ENC's are regarded as more reliable than the raster charts taken off paper. For example, while vector ENC's are approved by most flags for paperless navigation on commercial vessels RASTER ones ARE NOT.

Things are a little different in the electronic chart reliability area when it comes to pleasure chart plotters and the 3rd party charts they use - you are putting yourself in the hands of the quality control systems of non official providers. NONE of these charts are approved for paperless bridges on commerial vessels by any flag as far as I know, certainly not for SOLAS vessels.

Even so, I think the pleasure boat navigator is still in better hands with these third party electronic charts than with paper. The best solution is to use a charting system on a PC that uses official electronic charts and giving one the tools to also plot bearings, etc if the unlikely need is felt to validate the GPS position. There really is no excuse whatsoever (including cost), providing ones boat is not a wet leaky one, for a prudent navigator not doing so if one sails in the waters of a country that makes their catalogue of electronic charts available free (eg USA, and New Zealand - NZ currently only with respect to their raster charts though).

I have seen the use of paper charts disappearing rapidly over recent years off cruising boats and I am absolutely positive that trend will increase.
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Old 17-01-2009, 15:39   #48
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BTray, is dead on in his post. I thought Marks post was a gag at first too. Hey Mark, do you count all those nice hand drawn charts in the cruising guides too? Some of the responses here are hard to believe...and shouldn't be believed. BTW Mark, post us when you find a way, any way, for a paper chart to cause a collision with your boat...
Right on!

Maybe I can simplify the problem for those that do not understand.

- GPS will give you a very accurate lat/lon. No argument.
- A GPS plotter can then "plot" that accurate lat/lon onto an electronic chart that represents the real world.
- Charts, paper or electronic (usually) give an accurate representation of the real world ie the bottom contours, shore line, location of reefs/rocks, etc. BUT
- The lat/lon points on any chart (paper or electronic) do not necessarily match the lat/lon calculated by the GPS.
- So the location a plotter shows on a screen in relation to the shore or bottom is not necessarily where you are in the real world. ALSO
- Plotting an accurate lat/lon from a GPS (or celestial navigaion or loran or any other source) onto a chart does not mean you are at that exact location either.
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Old 17-01-2009, 16:43   #49
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Not sure what you are saying there Skipmac apart from any chart can be inaccurate.

But you will find that official (not third party) vector ENC's are by far the most reliable of all. There are in fact moves towards making the use of these charts mandatory on SOLAS vessels. They also allow added safety in that they can provide automatic voice and windowed warnings based on the charted features for a whole range of situations such as depth ahead on the current heading being too shallow, air draft inadequate, there being a a charted danger, an area that the navigater has highlighted on the chart as dangeraous is ahead, etc, etc. In fact the charting system I use has 40 different such warnings.

Why people are against all these benefits as the primary mode of navigation I have no idea at all - except that they are dismissing electronic nav without having much understanding of all the benefits it can deliver.

As just one example, and related to some of your comments, a very common claim of the anti electronic chart brigade is that because when coastal/pilotage one can plot bearings of prominent landmarks on the chart one is plotting a true position relative to those landmarks and dangers (assuming they are charted correctly). So one is navigating against the charted landmarks rather than the GPS fix against lat/long or one can use those bearings to check the GPS. The fact is that with an electronic charting program on a PC one can do exactly the same on the electronic chart and do it more quickly and efficiently having a wide range of drawing tools available to one for doing so.

In general, I find most all the claims of the paper chart die hards to be either falsely or poorly based. Most dangerous of all is the absolutely incorrect assumption that paper charts are more accurate than electronic ones (especially official ENC's and official rasters).
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Old 17-01-2009, 16:55   #50
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Originally Posted by MidLandOne View Post
... In subsequent posts there have been some incorrect comments made trying to diminish his claim - one example, the claim that raster charts, they being a copy of the original paper, are more reliable than vector charts. That is completely incorrect insofar as official charts are concerned as the vector ENC's are regarded as more reliable than the raster charts taken off paper. For example, while vector ENC's are approved by most flags for paperless navigation on commercial vessels RASTER ones ARE NOT.....
No, not quite. Raster charts ARE approved for commercial vessels under ECDIS. See the following from NIMA:

"Initially, IMO regulations require the use of vector data
in an ECDIS; raster data does not have the flexibility
needed to do what the ECDIS must do. But it soon became
clear that the hydrographic offices of the world would not
be able to produce vector data for any significant part of the
world for some years. Meanwhile, commercial interests
were rasterizing charts as fast as they could for the
emerging electronic chart market, and national hydrographic
offices began rasterizing their own inventories to
meet public demand. The result was a rather complete set of
raster data for the most heavily travelled waters of the
world, while production of man-power intensive vector
data lagged far behind. IMO regulations were then
amended to allow ECDIS to function in an RCDS mode
using official raster data in conjunction with an appropriate
portfolio of corrected paper charts. Nations may issue regulations
authorizing the use of RCDS and define what
constitutes an appropriate folio of paper charts for use in
their waters." p202, chap 14

Whatever the regulations may be now, and what they may evolve to be in the future, a commercial vessel is very different from a small yacht.



The prudent mariner will choose the devices needed to ensure safe passage in the waters sailed. For many of us, that means paper charts in addition to whatever gadgetry we may have aboard.


Bill


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Old 17-01-2009, 16:58   #51
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...BTW Mark, post us when you find a way, any way, for a paper chart to cause a collision with your boat...
One comes immediately to mind for me - one is on a mooring in a charted mooring field and someone navigating by paper and bearings unwittingly strays into it (for any one of many reasons) at night and "crunch".

Whereas if he was using electronic charting he would have seen that happening in real time on the screen and if using a charting application available to anyone with a PC and vector ENCs would have had voice warnings as well of the danger ahead should he not be watching the screen at the time.

That just one example of many along similar lines involving dangers - so see what I mean by people being unaware of the advantages electronic charts can deliver compared to paper .
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Old 17-01-2009, 17:05   #52
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I tend to agree with MarkJ's comments. A prudent small boat navigator should be primarily relying on electronic charts, not paper ones. If there are not backup electronic systems then paper charts in limited numbers should be carried as a fall back position but no need to keep a course plotted on them.
As much as I like paper, that is what has evolved for me.

I plan a trip at home on the laptop, save it and also upload it to the handheld. Then plot the daily run into the chartplotter at the helm.
We carry paper chartkits for typical cruising grounds.
Have stopped doing a DED reckoning plot on paper as taught, but I will plot fixes of various kinds at regular intervals ( just in case )

I might plot a current triangle on paper, positions of large ships that call in their movement on paper or a danger bearing ( no radar yet )
Paper charts and cruising guides generally give better info on shoreline features and local idosycracies. " Block island will appear from seaward to be two islands"

I can monitor the helmsman from my laptop and the handheld or just the handheld. I find the Chartplotters to be pretty accurate for the east coast and the extra's like tracks, tides, currents etc are awesome.
Although, I still buy an eldridge every year though.

Yes, I do love my electronics, but please don't ask me to give up my paper yet!...
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Old 17-01-2009, 17:59   #53
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Not sure what you are saying there Skipmac apart from any chart can be inaccurate.
Gee I thought it was pretty clear. Let me try again.

Look at the screen your GPS chart plotter. The little picture of the boat you see on that chart. You may not be on that exact spot in the real world.
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Old 17-01-2009, 18:04   #54
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One comes immediately to mind for me - one is on a mooring in a charted mooring field and someone navigating by paper and bearings unwittingly strays into it (for any one of many reasons) at night and crunch
Is this really the best you can come up with? Dude, if ya run into an anchored / moored boat, any boat, you are at fault. Try blaming a chart, a chart plotter, an abusive father, ANYTHING, and you are gonna lose. How about tomorrow I anchor in Barnegat Bay, smack in the middle and turn on my anchor light. You nav by plotter, and ram me 'cause ya cant peel your eyes off the thing. Is this any different? IF YA CANT SEE, YOU ARE AT FAULT. For once, cant we take responsibility for our actions?
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Old 17-01-2009, 18:28   #55
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The way I see it is that a Paper Chart and an Electronic Chart both have the same purpose: to aid you in understanding where the boat is (usually in relation to something else best avoided ).

With a paper chart no one says to themselves "their is no need for me to understand where the boat is - the paper chart knows". IMO the only prudent way to completely avoid the need to bother with navigating is to delegate to a Skipper. not delegating to a chart plotter, no matter the bells and whistles.

But as I said before I am not anti-electronic gizmo - I want one - but IMO simply not the magical substitute for navigating that they appear to be. "Just" a bl##dy useful tool in certain (many?) situations, including those involving laziness (that's part of my plan anyway ).
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Old 17-01-2009, 19:11   #56
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Neither chartplotters or paper charts, manage to guide me through endless fields of lobster/crab pots in long island sound, chesapeake bay....or boats at anchor....So the best navigation tool might just be a good pair of glasses..... :-)
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Old 17-01-2009, 22:22   #57
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...Dude, if ya run into an anchored / moored boat, any boat, you are at fault. Try blaming a chart, a chart plotter, an abusive father, ANYTHING, and you are gonna lose...
Dude2 , where did I say anything different? Read my post.

All I said was if one was navigating with vector ENC's and a PC based charting system the computer would have shouted out to you with a voice warning that you were proceeding into danger and therefore one would have avoided being at fault because you would not have collided with anyone in the field.

Even without that but with electronic charts one would have seen the danger approaching in real time rather than as you managed the time to actually plot a fix on paper while trying to find your way around in the dark. Note, in most jurisdictions it is not necessary to show anchor lights in charted mooring fields - perhaps you did not realise that?

Do you have any understanding of the benefits that electronic charting can bring or are you just shooting from the hip because you are wedded to the past? Would you not like a system that works in real time and one that warns of dangers that your course is taking you into (as I said earlier, mine warns of 40 different danger situations including danger areas marked on the chart by the navigator himself)?
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Old 18-01-2009, 00:45   #58
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I reckon, seriously, that within 5 years paper charts will be gone.

Those that don't use them or haven't used them should take a sail into a new port with one. Or try crossing a barred river entrance from the sea.

Instantaneous positioning, exactly accurate, and right in front of the helmsman’s face.

Our course over the recent bar into this estuary was within meters of breaking waves. Only the instant updating of out path along our route enabled us to manoeuvre the few meters left and right to maintain our course exactly enough to enter safely.

The whole way in we NEVER once sighted the physical leading markers. The difficulty being, of course, that by the time one without a chartplotter had realised that they would have been committed to the entry or face turning their boat into open breaking waves.

A bar is just one point of nav where paper and a hand baring compass are useless. Entering any port for the first time there is too much nav information so it becomes a sensory overload. No one can be expected to remember all that s required of a unfamiliar commercial or busy port.

And running up and down to the nav station plotting lat & Lons takes too long. Bringing a flimsy paper chart into the rain not practical.

And 'eyeballing'? Thats probably one of the most inaccurate methods of navigating! How many times an hour do you look at something and not 'recognise' it before it slowly becomes apparent, or visa versa? Things look different from the deck of a boat with your hand on the wheel!

Now, a final word to those that like pulling the fuse out of their electrical boards: Modern plotters rarely fail! Intelligent people have back ups for everything (few do for paper charts, though!). The chances of a boats' main plotter and battery operated hand held (etc) backup failing on the same day are negligible! About the same chance as Slocums goat eating the paper charts. Yes it can happen, but the last time was 100 years ago.



I am not saying people should stop using paper charts now. They are fine to learn with, to make off shore passages with and to use till the budget allows for the expense of plotters and electronic charts. What I am saying is that the new technology has outdated the old and to such a significant amount that I believe the old will be outlawed soon in most applications.

Certainly where safety of lives are concerned paper should not be used now for closing the coast, entry to unfamiliar ports, entry to dangerous navigation areas such as barred rivers and estuaries etc in the affluent Western World.

I commend those still reading down this far to give a plotter a go with an open mind to what I have said.


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Old 18-01-2009, 00:49   #59
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As an aside for those interested in what a 'bar' is - not a beer type one! - There is a good page on how to cross one.

Note it expects you to sit on shore and study it carefully fisrt. Not so easy if you are coming INTO port for the first time! LOL

http://www.clubmarine.com.au/internet/clubmarine.nsf/docs/MG17-6+Technical




Power boats must love 'em!


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Old 18-01-2009, 01:31   #60
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I'm all for electronic navigation, but I also carry paper charts. I have learned that while electronic charts are pretty accurate, I did find a mistake once.

We were coming into Pillar Point Harbor once during day light (also known as Half Moon Bay), and after we tied up I happened to look at the chartplotter. I was looking at our track into the harbor, and on both vector and raster charts in the plotter, our track showed that we ran across two docks...but in reality we didn't. If we had relied on the plotter solely with either one of those chart formats (in real foggy conditions, or foggy and night time), we could have very conceivable hit the first dock.

That was a perfect example to me that you really have to use your eyes, and only use the plotter as a general indicator of where you are. It also told me that either the chart was wrong, or somehow the chart was not orientated correctly in the plotter...but I'm inclined to think the chart was wrong. Either way, not using our eyes would have been a problem.

I now think that the only reliable way to get yourself back into your favorite harbor in zero visibility situations, is to save an accurate track of a past entry...so I save certain tracks as a back up.
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