Originally Posted by GreatKetch
Are there any navigation programs other than the free-ware SeaClear (www.seaclear.net
) that allow you to use self-scanned papercharts in electronic navigation?
I am (slowly) being dragged into the 21st century by the benefits of computer aided navigation, but INSIST on paper charts on board. Right now there seem to be three ways of doing it:
a full set of paper charts AND a full set of electronic charts. Very Expensive!
How about buying
paper backup charts for selected locations along the way? You don't need every chart and there could be a cost savings. The only problem is when you electronic chart system dies. Pencils and paper always work. How about swapping charts or buying used ones?
* Buying a full set of electronic charts and printing them all out. Time consuming and still not cheap, and without a big and expensive printer, you end up with marginal paper copies.
Size and image accuracy would be a prime problem. There is no way to verify that your printer/program will reproduce exactly what the chart contains to the ppi accuracy you may need unless you can do a one-on-one comparison before leaving. You're also stuck with a huge printer, the requirement to stock paper for your printer (not all stores outside where you live may stock paper you use - e.g. US letter is not the same as A4) and another power and storage
hog. Finally, there is the problem of moisture. You'd have to seriously consider water-tolerant paper and inks and the cost/sheet is way above the bulk paper prices you're probably thinking about.
* Buying a full set of paper charts and scanning them in to the computer. Time consuming and cheap(er).
The smallest charts I've seen that I'd even consider using are 24x30" and the largest are 34x46". To my knowledge I know of no pro/consumer scanner that would scan the entire image. That means you must overlap and then stitch the images
together into one large image, convert it to a format that's acceptable to your chart software
, and then verify that the import
is 100% complete. That means playing with scanning resolutions, depths of color, and other factors. Then you have to decide if the file size is something you and your system can work with.Way too much work and possiblity of error for a few dollars saved.
I have had good success "scanning" charts with my high-end digital camera. Am I missing something an alternative?
For my circumnavigation
I'm looking at paper charts, guides, and electronic charts. The further you go afield, the higher the costs to travel there. I grumbe when the best chart for an area is USD40 and current
(WGS84) as opposed to a 4th-generation photocopy of a survey
made in 1849. But I have a far better sense of security
knowing the data presented is more accurate. And I rejoice when I can get Admiralty chart photocopies for a few dollars. I am not a fan of B&W charts and have spent days coloring land and shallow water
areas in with colored pencil.
I'd consider finding additional charts for the next area your heading a priority. I've been able to borrow current
versions of guides, and for the cost of dinner and comradery, update my older ones to reflect the latest changes. I've found out-of-print charts and guides at book swaps or from other sailors. I've even borrowed guides and had the relevant sections photocopied so I'd have additional information. I belong to SSCA and their monthly Commordores Bulletins is about as current as it gets. I have the last 6 years on CD and I can use that as a reference. Areas you may be considering may have charterboat operations and they usually have a good guide of places to go.
My $0.02 worth: navigation references
are too important to drop too far down the cost/item list. Pay the money
, get what makes you the most secure, work another month, or shorten your cruise.