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Old 12-01-2017, 09:01 AM   #1
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Electronic charts of Mexico

We recently completed a run from San Diego to La Paz Mexico, including a little bit of cruising north of La Paz. Prior to departure, I updated my C-map charts of the area to the latest and greatest.

But they totally suck, and are generally unfit for navigation. Some parts are accurate, but many are not, so you need to assume everything is wrong until otherwise confirmed to be at least somewhat accurate. I also have Navioncs charts on my iPad, and they are better, but still quite poor.

Has anyone found quality electronic charts of Mexico? I would want to use them on Coastal Explorer, and it will accept all the standard electronic chart formats, plus of course the C-map proprietary charts which aren't worth anything.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:32 AM   #2
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Our friends that are still cruising Mexico, seem to favor Navionics.

Here’s a screen shot from the latest Navionics taken by Richard Spindler. It’s of the Tres Marietas approaching Punta Mita (Banaderas Bay). Our CMap charts are off by several miles and don’t show all three islands.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:56 AM   #3
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Well, we've just got here (Cabo), and we are treating everything electronic with caution. The charts are fine for headland-to-headland passage-making (but anything drawn by a 3-year-old would do that), but we found our first discrepancy between Islas Cedros and the mainland.

Heading to Los Frailes, and some peace and quiet, after the 6am discos of Cabo!
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:58 AM   #4
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TT

I'm of no help for electronic chart questions. But, many decades ago when traveling from San Carlos, Mulege, Lorreto or La Paz we got a new set of paper charts for each area and had very good locals mark in their known unmarked obstacles. Spanish or English fluency really helps.

I'm surprised Active Captain hasn't had a bunch of updates to Baja area electronic charts. Likely due to little cell coverage maybe.
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:56 PM   #5
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TT

I'm of no help for electronic chart questions. But, many decades ago when traveling from San Carlos, Mulege, Lorreto or La Paz we got a new set of paper charts for each area and had very good locals mark in their known unmarked obstacles. Spanish or English fluency really helps.

I'm surprised Active Captain hasn't had a bunch of updates to Baja area electronic charts. Likely due to little cell coverage maybe.
Remember, Jeffrey locked me out of Active Captain, so I no longer have access to it. It's just as well. I'd rather support the people who create professional content for guide books, rather than a product that seems to have copied it all.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:13 PM   #6
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Friends of ours that cruise down there like the Blue Latitudes charts. Kind of like the Explorer charts for MX.

https://www.bluelatitudepress.com/

https://fugawi.com/store/product/TD-...10&taxon_id=82
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Old 12-01-2017, 08:18 PM   #7
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Friends of ours that cruise down there like the Blue Latitudes charts. Kind of like the Explorer charts for MX.

https://www.bluelatitudepress.com/

https://fugawi.com/store/product/TD-...10&taxon_id=82
Thanks. I'll check them out.
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Old 12-01-2017, 08:35 PM   #8
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Folks, I recommend you look 3 times, even at paper - There's paper charts with hazards "discovered" in the 50's that are VERY small on paper. They're still there! Bahia de Tortuga has a very low-profile oyster farm in the middle of the approach to the small village (can't remember the name) it's not small. One would run over it in the dark - no lights or markers of course. In Mexico everything is a little bit broken! :-).
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:39 PM   #9
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Folks, I recommend you look 3 times, even at paper - There's paper charts with hazards "discovered" in the 50's that are VERY small on paper. They're still there! Bahia de Tortuga has a very low-profile oyster farm in the middle of the approach to the small village (can't remember the name) it's not small. One would run over it in the dark - no lights or markers of course. In Mexico everything is a little bit broken! :-).
No argument with that. Just looking for charts that can be used on Coastal Explorer that are better than C-map, and preferably better than Navionics
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:21 PM   #10
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Remember that until a few years ago all the world’s charts relied on celestial navigation for their absolute position accuracy. An approximately one-mile accuracy was the norm. With the advent of GPS the charts are slowly being updated with much improved accuracy, a few meters in most cases. The rich, developed nations have updated their charts first as would be expected. Other countries are doing the best they can but you shouldn’t be surprised that large errors can still to be found in many parts of the world. If the position information has not been updated it does not matter whether you use paper or electronic charts of who the distributer is. I was once told of a dangerous, uncharted rock near Agua Verde, north of La Paz. The rock was not uncharted, it was clearly on the chart, and it was just that the chart was ¾ of a mile off. Boater beware.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:15 AM   #11
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Nobeltec offers the raster charts for that area
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:24 AM   #12
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Remember that until a few years ago all the world’s charts relied on celestial navigation for their absolute position accuracy. An approximately one-mile accuracy was the norm. With the advent of GPS the charts are slowly being updated with much improved accuracy, a few meters in most cases. The rich, developed nations have updated their charts first as would be expected. Other countries are doing the best they can but you shouldn’t be surprised that large errors can still to be found in many parts of the world. If the position information has not been updated it does not matter whether you use paper or electronic charts of who the distributer is. I was once told of a dangerous, uncharted rock near Agua Verde, north of La Paz. The rock was not uncharted, it was clearly on the chart, and it was just that the chart was ¾ of a mile off. Boater beware.
Well, for a private company like C-Map, and with sat photos that unambiguously locate land masses for decades, and for a popular cruising area like the Sea of Cortez, I see no excuse for miss-located land masses and directly related hazards. Off-shore submerged features are more understandable.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:25 AM   #13
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Nobeltec offers the raster charts for that area
Do you know if they can be run on Coastal Explorer? I have them on my iPad and they are better than the C-map charts, but still not great.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:34 AM   #14
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I have Nobeltec - I'm backing it up with a hard copy. The cruisers guide might be the way to go. Gotta chew on it awhile.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:22 AM   #15
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We recently completed a run from San Diego to La Paz Mexico, including a little bit of cruising north of La Paz. Prior to departure, I updated my C-map charts of the area to the latest and greatest.

But they totally suck, and are generally unfit for navigation. Some parts are accurate, but many are not, so you need to assume everything is wrong until otherwise confirmed to be at least somewhat accurate. I also have Navioncs charts on my iPad, and they are better, but still quite poor.

Has anyone found quality electronic charts of Mexico? I would want to use them on Coastal Explorer, and it will accept all the standard electronic chart formats, plus of course the C-map proprietary charts which aren't worth anything.
I used both Navionics and C-Map electronic charts of Mexico and both "suck". Often found islands and landmarks 2 or 3 miles off and found many occasions where my chart plotter would show me well inland when at anchor. Paper charts and "good" cruising guides are a must. Noticed that you are heading to Los Frailes and I would assume on to La Paz and up into the Sea. If you are going up into Sea of Cortez I would recommend the "Sea of Cortez: Cruiser's Guide Book" written by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer as your "bible". IMO this guide far surpasses any other for this cruising area and gives you information about harbors, anchorages, fuel docks and most important of all accurate GPS waypoints. Also, IMO this is definitely not the time of year to cruise the Sea of Cortez. The "no shoes and shirt" weather during winter is south of Cabo along the mainland coast. Come back in late April or May. By the way it appears that you liked Cabo about as much as we did. When we cruised in there we planned to hang around for a couple of weeks and lasted 3 days which was 2 days to many. Spent 12 years cruising Mexico and never came back to Cabo except for fuel on the way back to California.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:49 AM   #16
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Thanks for the input on Baja season: it's very warm down here right now, certainly enough for a fair-skinned Irishman! We'll review the position after new year.

We've got all of the guides, and you're right: Shawn and Heather's is a lot more useful than the others (and we are working off the 2009 edition :-) )
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:06 PM   #17
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Do you know if they can be run on Coastal Explorer? I have them on my iPad and they are better than the C-map charts, but still not great.
I do not know if they will run with Coastal Explorer.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:28 PM   #18
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Look into Navionics, I haven't personally used it for Mexico, but travel quite a bit in the Caribbean and find their maps very thorough.
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:15 PM   #19
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Look into Navionics, I haven't personally used it for Mexico, but travel quite a bit in the Caribbean and find their maps very thorough.

If I have learned anything about charts, it's that a chart source that is good in one location isn't necessarily good in another. I have found C-Map to be quite good in many areas - the bahamas for example - but they suck eggs in Mexico.
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