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Old 11-15-2021, 10:16 PM   #1
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paper charts

My wife is watching a trawler journey documentary. The yacht has every electronic navigation aid imaginable but still uses paper charts as well. She asked why they would use paper charts too and I didn't have a good answer.

Can you help educate her and myself as well.
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Old 11-15-2021, 11:01 PM   #2
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Because paper is more glitch resistant and stable. Also some of us old timers like to be able flip it over and rip it in half in a fit of frustration.
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Old 11-15-2021, 11:08 PM   #3
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are you sure they were not getting ready to make gaskets from the paper charts.
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Old 11-15-2021, 11:11 PM   #4
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Paper charts? What's that.
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Old 11-15-2021, 11:52 PM   #5
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Paper chart definition: Attractive decorative absorbent mat used to catch errant moisture from ventilation window in vessel underway in less than optimal cruising conditions... I actually still like paper charts, I like to be able to spread them out and see the big picture. I like to jot notes on them and mark my progress. That being said, I'm not a truster of technology, I use it for what it is good for, but I'm not turning my back on those sneaky boxes.
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Old 11-16-2021, 12:31 AM   #6
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I am sure someone else will chip in on whether it is currently required to carry paper charts (I believe it is), however my input is purely prosaic;

When all else fails, with a paper chart you can plot where you are and plan for your arrival. If you also have radar working that can also help you manage your coastal approach. This is why, on a voyage, you periodically record your position, So if all the screens go blank you can transfer your position from the log to the paper chart and work from there.

Doesn't seem likely does it? We all have several levels of redundancy and perhaps it's time to roll up those charts into a massive bong - but. Russia is getting active in space and if they drop a few satellites GPS might crash. Boats do have total electrical failures. Again, not likely, but then neither is your boat sinking but you still have life-preservers and a liferaft - right?

And after a day of scrolling and zooming across a finger-grease-stained screen it can actually be rewarding to review your progress on a large scale paper chart of the area. Especially if you have an audience - children like to see where they are going. Some of us have plotted voyages across oceans on paper charts and those charts are precious.
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Old 11-16-2021, 01:09 AM   #7
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One reason is a big paper chart is about a D size sheet, 22 x 44. Some larger. A big chartplotter is about 16" maybe 20" (diagonal at that). Size matters.
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Old 11-16-2021, 01:12 AM   #8
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Paper charts, compass, depth sounder, radar, chart plotter etc are all great tools. BUT the user must know how to use (any of) them or they are all worth the same, nothing.

Paper charts are still available by special order, but they are going by way of the DODO bird. I keep mine in vacuum sealed bags until the day they become collector items.
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Old 11-16-2021, 05:51 AM   #9
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I liked plotting my course manually on the paper charts, gave me something to do while on watch.
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Old 11-16-2021, 05:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo-Valley View Post
are you sure they were not getting ready to make gaskets from the paper charts.
Oh yea, gasket material

Plus you can make notes on the paper charts.
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:24 AM   #11
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I have near zero concern about electronics' failure - I have backup PCs, phones, tablets, GPSs, more electronics than a space shuttle.

But I prefer paper charts for planning. Same for long road trips where I carry an atlas. There is a lot of information on a chart/map that is not captured on an electronic screen. I find it easier to develop context and identify patterns. Electronic charts are great for pinpoint navigation. Paper charts are good for situational awareness. Electronic charting will tell you that you are 35.3 nms from a waypoint. Paper charts will tell me I should be able to see a landmark or feature.

For me, two different tools with different strengths. Suggest buying a paper chart of your area for your wife and read the fine colored text and the features highlighted. There's a reason they are attractive sheets of paper. There's an amazing amount of data embedded.

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Old 11-16-2021, 06:29 AM   #12
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Paper charts are no longer going to be printed by the US Government because they are archaic and are out of dates when printed.

Since 2016 the IMO has required e-navigation.

https://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Safet...avigation.aspx

The e-navigation concept is governed by IMO as the organization responsible for establishing mandatory standards for enhancing the safety of life at sea, maritime security and protection of the marine environment, as well as having global remit for shipping.

The Organization defines e-navigation as "the harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment."
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:38 AM   #13
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Relying on one type of navigation does not explain why the Academy has restarted teaching the sextant.
IF the GPS goes down, does the e-charting fall back to dead recognizing ?
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:54 AM   #14
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Relying on one type of navigation does not explain why the Academy has restarted teaching the sextant.
IF the GPS goes down, does the e-charting fall back to dead recognizing ?

No the charts are still in the computer just like a paper chart on the screen.

Plus 3 or 4 different satellite systems would all have to go down at the same time and enav will do dead reckoning as well as you can do it on paper. If they go down for e charting you can still nav just like paper but manually entering your position.

The problem with thinking paper charts are still a good thing is usually ignorance (in the sense of exactly what they are and can do) of and lack of practice on electronic charting.

While true larger format paper charts may seem easier to plan on....I thought so for awhile...I changed my mentality and thought through my planning differently making smaller format screens just as useful. Plus you can do it at home and transfer the data to your nav on the boat when you get there.

For smaller vessels I get hanging on to charts...especially for those places where it would be expensive to buy new or electronics charts for.

But it is the future already here and auto routing makes things incredibly fast and easy and no different for captains that have to trust a navigator to plan a route, then just review it for safety reasons.
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:57 AM   #15
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When was the last time gps went down? When was the last time you spilled coffee on your desk?

The "gotta have charts as a backup" is a very common thread theme in boating forums. Yet in the 100s (1000s?) Of posts I've read, I don't recall anyone relating a credible actual story of needing, having, and using paper charts for navigation when electronics failed. Versus phone, tsblet, or PC navigation options

For cruising, backup radar and backup autopilot would be more useful and more likely to be brought into service. There are many alternative sources of electronics on a boat. As Psneeld points out, paper charts are no longer printed and updated by the government.

There are good reasons to have paper charts aboard, even outdated ones. Backup navigation is way down the list. Frankly, I doubt many modern boaters could adapt to the inherent lack of precision intrinsic in DR/chart navigation. I started long ocean runs when lighthouses were still useful for coastal navigation. Loran was common but only gave lat/long that had to be transcribed to a chart for a location fix (and prone to human error - at least this human, especially in a seaway). Accuracy was within a few miles I'd suppose. Certainly kept your distance as a buffer

Peter

EDIT- Psneeld - I can't get the hang of planning on electronics charts. Places disappear when you zoom in or out. I know there are probably some settings I can change. But still I was recently doing some dream/planning down the central American Pacific coast (Navionics). I had problems finding Acapulco, a city of over a million. Was only visible at a very specific intermediate zoom level.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:19 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDan1943 View Post
Relying on one type of navigation does not explain why the Academy has restarted teaching the sextant.
IF the GPS goes down, does the e-charting fall back to dead recognizing ?
As part of required coursework? Or some sort of historical view that includes art of scrimshaw, using an adz to hew a keel timber, careening a boat for repairs, blunderbuss marksmanship (handy for SHTF scenarios), curing fish in salt barrels (handy if refrigeration goes out), rendering blubber into lamp oil (handy if electricity goes out), and rigging a topsail (handy if engine goes out)?

Peter.
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Old 11-16-2021, 09:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
...I can't get the hang of planning on electronics charts. Places disappear when you zoom in or out. ... I had problems finding Acapulco, a city of over a million. Was only visible at a very specific intermediate zoom level.
... If it's visible at all.

Probably the biggest reason for keeping old charts is that geographic names are all there.

I was just doing some trip planning, and had my current (vector) charts on the laptop, entering routes to various places from the guide book I was using. But I needed to also have another app open, displaying the old (raster) charts which show every town, river, creek, island, hill and swamp name. They also show built-up areas, streets, railroads and often even buildings.

Most of that is missing on the modern vector charts, at any zoom level. When place names are displayed they're often unimportant inland ponds and such, not islands, coastal towns, navigable rivers or other landmarks visible from the water. And even when useful names are displayed, they're often in an unhelpful or flat-out wrong locations.

I can only conclude that the contract for digitizing the old charts went to the low bidder, and the specifications weren't all that stringent. We've gained a technically superior technology, but lost centuries of hard work by skilled cartographers.
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Old 11-16-2021, 09:45 AM   #18
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One point of note. As you zoom out with a vector chart you loose data. This is not the case with a raster chart or paper chart. While not a case for paper over electronic it does mean that paper still has some back up value.
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Old 11-16-2021, 10:35 AM   #19
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I suppose depends on the boating area, inland and coastal more likely we carry enough electronic gizmos, offshore, a paper chart could make a difference.
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Old 11-16-2021, 10:42 AM   #20
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I'm not overly concerned about GPS and GLONASS going down at the same time. But spoofing GPS locally can happen and I think that is why cadets are being instructed on the use of the sextant.

I keep charts at hand, but usually hand them off to crew/guests so they can become oriented/familiar with the area and not mess up my electronics that they have not been schooled on.
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