Originally Posted by silviris
So I know the difference between the Raster charts and the vector charts, but aside from the vectors looking a little cartoonish and un-professional, are they any worse than the raster charts? I read somewhere that they were somewhat incomplete, but that may have been an old website. Thoughts and opinions on ENC vs RNC?
At the present time raster charts (RNCs) are superior to vector charts (ENCs) where both are available and contain equally recent data. Both RNCs and ENCs will use those same soundings, even if they are a century old. For US charts, new information is applied to both RNCs and ENCs.
RNCs require more RAM and disk space for storage
, but those things are cheap
nowadays. Even a cheap
netbook has enough storage capacity to handle all the US RNCs (just under 4GB).
(1) RNCs display quicker.
(2) RNCs display the information you need. Cartographers have spent years figuring out what you are going to be interested in seeing when you look at an object on a chart. If the object is an underwater obstruction you want to know how deep it is. If it is a bridge you want to know its vertical clearance.
(3) RNCs look like paper charts. You don't have to learn new symbols or abbreviations.
ENCs are the future of marine
cartography. Symbols are being standardized. Chart display programs are getting better at showing important information. Eventually chart display programs will be cognizant of your vessel's draft
and the depth
ahead of you. When you plot a course over a shoal the program will warn you that the water
is too shallow for your draft
. Already, OpenCPN
allows you to customize ENCs, displaying soundings in feet, fathoms, or meters according to your preference and showing deep, shallow, and dangerous water (white, light blue, dark blue) according to your settings for deep, safety
, and shallow depths.
Once chart display programs are mature ENCs will be superior to RNCs. Change in the field is rapid, but we're not there yet.