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Old 12-10-2010, 06:23 AM   #1
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Lap top Navigation Re-done

Folks, I was reading over the lap top nav thread of a couple of day's ago and wanted to ask some questions concerning the software you guys use.

As I understand it there are two types of Electronic Navigation Charts.
Raster which is a scanned image of the NOAA charts
Vector which I don't know much about but will give additional information about the chart in use, such as tides, currents and marina facilities. They look a little like a cartoon image of the NOAA charts.

There are several free chart readers available and two were discussed in the previous thread.

Sea Clear II which reads primarily raster charts. I've loaded this and have had some success in loading charts, but haven't really got the charts I want. Will keep working with this.

OpenCPN which reads primarily vector charts. I've got this to work, but am disappointed in the detail displayed.

So my question is which of these chart readers do you guys like or are there others out there that you prefer and are cheap or free?

Incidently, *I've used the Navionics for the andriod and it's a great back up, but not a primary chart plotter.

-- Edited by timjet on Friday 10th of December 2010 10:32:02 AM

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Old 12-10-2010, 06:49 AM   #2
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RE: Lap top Navigation Re-done

Somebody wiser than me will doubtless join the fray but OpenCPN reads raster charts just fine as far as I can tell.

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Old 12-10-2010, 07:16 AM   #3
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RE: Lap top Navigation Re-done

Don't give up on OpenCPN - I downloaded the Region 3 Raster Chartset and started playing with it. There is a lot of detail once you get used to the interface. The manual helps too. When in "quilt mode" (F9) (I think that's what it's called) you can zoom in and it will switch to the detailed map.

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Old 12-10-2010, 09:37 AM   #4
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RE: Lap top Navigation Re-done

DavidM wrote:
Vector charts like ENC are a different animal. Coastal contours are represented by vectors- go north for x feet and then turn NW for y feet, etc, etc. Navaid data is given by a lat/lon type location and data for the navaid- type, light info, etc. All of this data is in a database which can be turned off or on in layers for display purposes.

Each chartplotter treats vector data differently. I don't think that there is a universally accepted symbol for a given navaid, like an unlighted daymark. So each chartplotter vendor chooses his own and each looks differently with vector data.

OpnCPN does a particularly bad job IMO with vector charts, so I don't use them. People like Raymarine and Garmin do a great job (or maybe its their chip cartography vendor) and so their vector charts look very good. But you have to pay for it of course.

David,I'm a little confused about vector charts. ENC's downloaded from NOAA using the*S-57 international exchange format is the vector charts used by OpenCPN and others, correct? Do Garmin and Raymarine also use these ENC's with their chart plotters? In other words is there only one source for US RNC charts - NOAA.

I'm guessing the chart plotters are the key to extracting the data from ENC's if all the ENC's are the same. Are there any other free or low cost chart plotters other than OpenCPN that do a good or better job of displaying ENC's.

My Garmin handheld displays charts in better detail than OpenCPN, so I will try OpenCPN with raster charts.
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