It's been established that the charts in whatever medium are inaccurate. The electronic charts are either scanned paper charts or digitized paper charts so it introduces another layer of error. It may not be much but we are dealing with some primitive technology in map making and much of those charts date back to the 19th century or or older I suppose.
position as a lat lon is probably quite accurate and capable of measuring tiny changes in faults so it must be capable of enough precision to navigate a vessel.
What we need to get is a GPS survey
of all coast lines and maps created from that data. I suppose that the could then do a GPS survey
of the bottom as well as Nav Aids but this would require constant updates as "things move" and I am not talking tectonic plates here.
Nav Aids should have AIS
type beacons which report their current
position, not where they were supposed to be. This would alert the coasties as well as mariners who assumed they were on station when in fact they have moved.
We are really living in a bizarre world as we "transition" from old hand made maps and charts, to digitized GPS surveys. A GPS plotter today has one foot in the old world and the other in the new world. We can see how powerful GPS plottings can be and how useful, but we can also see how reliable paper charts are where you rely on traditional skills to navigate.
I learned the old way and that gives me comfort and I carry papper charts and do (offshore) maintain a pencil track of positions. I do have several GPS with different chart so I can pick the one I like the best, so to speak and have some redundancy including a handheld which does not rely and the house electrics. Actually all the plotters do but with solar
the chance of not having enough current
to fire up a GPS for a fix is pretty slim.
But I have seen how one can't rely on the GPS plotters for positions, when the underlying charts are not correct. I was anchored on a mountain in Moustique years ago. However, in the waters where I am mostly naviagating these days, they are quite accurate as far as I can tell. But I have not updated the charts since I got them machines 8, 4 and 2 years ago.
I am looking to the day when our navigation
linked and the devices we use receive automatic updates of the charts in the background of course, seamlessly. It's only a matter of time before this happens... but the genius need to figure out a way to get inexpensive internet
to the entire planet obviously wireless/satellite based. Once this happens you have weather
and more real time anywhere.
In my life we have gone from some basic paper charting - to land based Loran
and now to sat based GPS with digitized charting and now the internet has become like oxygen - we can't live without it and it enables and enhances everything.
And why can't we print a paper chart from a GPS plotter? It would seem that this too is very acheivable with printer drivers and small color printers.
I expect to see this all before I die as the changes are coming fast and furious as computers
get more powerful and smaller. Soon will have both feet in the future... ands will still be travelling by the wind
blowing big rags. hahahaha