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  #51  
Old 06-24-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
I'm a bit too close to all of the different apps and products on the market. I know the guys who wrote Nobeltec TimeZero as well as just about every competitive product on the market. NTZ is literally a week old. You're not going to find many with cruising experience on it yet.

My suggestion...don't get wrapped up in one $20-$35 app over another. They're $35 after all. Get a few of them. Get one that uses free charts if you're lucky enough to cruise in an area where free charts are available. Purchase others just because they're different and use different chart data. They're all good and all have advantages and disadvantages. I have every single product that exists for marine navigation - none of them are "best".

All of that said, I mainly use Garmin's BlueChart Mobile and Navimatics Charts & Tides (not Navionics). I like Garmin's product because it includes Bahamas charts in their US region and they are the licensed Explorer data which is fantastic. I like Navimatics because it's fast. There's a new PolarView MX product for iOS that costs $4 and uses the free NOAA charts.

There are a variety of products for Android about to come out. If you swapped your Nook for a Kindle Fire (or other Android tab with GPS) you'd still have your books and the tab would act as a chartplotter too. There is much more available for iOS today but that will change over the next 5 years.

I write apps too - everything I produce is free. My DragQueen anchor alarm and eBoatCards Exchange are in the Apple App Store and Google Play now. I have a major social navigation product coming out (hopefully) this summer for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It's a much different kind of nav product and is unlike anything else - a totally different dimension of navigation. It too will be free so you'll see.
I have a Verizon tablet that I also use, I have not tried it out yet for using as a chart plotter, but I believe it should work. I am looking at a rugged tablet possibly, I need to upgrade anyways before I leave. I am not totally sure which one I will end up getting yet because there are sure to be a whole bunch of new ones before it is time to go.

I had looked at the nobeltec stuff before trident timezero came out, and I liked it, and since I would like to have the best that is available at the time I thought maybe timezero would be a good bet, I just did not know that it was so new. By the time I leave I think it should be ready for use with the bugs that are always there being worked out. It just looks really good, not that I am an expert on software, but I liked all the demo stuff and the way it appeared to integrate pretty much the whole vessel's instruments and charts and GPS in one pretty amazing package. I do have some of the free stuff, and I have used it, but it is not as good as the stuff you pay for....duh.

I am planning on sailing outside the coverage of the NOAA free ENC areas, a lot of blue water, the South Pacific Islands, and South America. I know the very wide area charts are about $500.00 per module for coverage that is actually a very wide area. What I am not sure about is how close in detail will be in the wide area electronic charts, the modules for South America and the South Pacific would be added to the cost of Timezero, which comes with pretty much all of the NOAA charts for North America and the Caribbean, so I would be covered for most of my planned area with those. If I see I need more, well I will have to buy them just like for the Garmin systems or any other, and they would be about the same cost as any others.

I will probably pick your brain a bit more when purchasing the final system, if you do not mind. I really appreciate your answers, and suggestions. I have sailed in the past down to Brazil, we used a combination of paper and GPS Chart Plotter, but that was years ago and the technology is so much better now than it was then, and a WHOLE lot cheaper. As we continue to improve our equipment we will probably see the cost of the electronic chart information go down, and paper charts will probably go up a lot as people move away from them. Paper is not cheaper even now if you cruise in a lot of foreign countries, and with the increasing requirements for notification of host countries as you cruise the coastal areas it becomes more advisable to know with accuracy where you are and be able to communicate that position with government agencies that regulate cruisers.

I am hoping to get the chance to sail a few days next month or early August, with a friend of mine if the weather is not getting silly in the Gulf, just a week of cruising down from Galveston to South Padre Island and back. He said he is currently installing a Furuno GP1920C NT Navnet system to integrate his full system into one piece, plus it is supposed to also work with his laptop or tablet with some software, effectively making an extra station with it on the chart table. I will be very interested to see it in action. It appears from what he sent me on it in email to be a great system, but the proof is on the boat. It is nice to have friends to purchase stuff and invite me along to see it work before I buy my own stuff HAHA.
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Old 06-24-2013
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Re: charts

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Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg
My point is simply that having paper charts in addition to my array of plotters, etc, makes my sailing even safer than if I were to rely on the flow of electrons and abundant battery power alone...
With all due respect, I hear what you're saying. I've heard others say the exact same thing. Then I walk onto their boats to actually see their honored and revered paper charts. Yep, 3 - 5 years old in almost every case. Some even older.

Maybe you're different. Maybe you just re-purchased all of your paper charts for the new season of cruising. You'd be the first that I've come across but it is surely possible. I'd seriously doubt though that you throw out the old charts and re-purchase them all every year. I've never known anyone outside of a an unlimited ton license who actually did that.

So if your charts are 3 - 5 years old, are they all that safe especially in the US where almost every chart gets updated about once a month with navigation updates?
Virtually guaranteed in these discussions, is the eventuality that any defense of my preference for carrying paper charts leads some to draw the apparent conclusion that I still do all my navigating using such tools as an astrolabe, or a Walker log... (grin)

Of course not all my charts are new, or updated weekly (Some of my current British Admiralty charts of Belize, for example, are still reliant on surveys taken in the 1800's - so, in a region virtually devoid of navigational aids, I'm not holding my breath on the latest update from Ranguana Caye)
I use my paper charts primarily for planning, keeping a plotted record of my progress, jotting down relevant notes/info, and as a correlating cross-reference to my plotter - which remains my primary means of navigation while underway... And, of course, as a backup means of getting me home safely... The point I'm trying to make is, simply, should it ever come to it, I'd prefer to have an out-of-date paper chart to refer to, than a blank computer or plotter screen...

This focus on the need for constant updating seems to be largely an American affectation, and frankly its importance I think is a bit overblown... Sure, it's probably nice to know that a tug took out a daymarker last week on the Coosaw River, but if the time ever comes where I can't make it down the ICW without such knowledge, well - then it's time to shoot me... In some of my favorite cruising grounds - Newfoundland & Labrador, for example - the rocks don't move, nav aids are few and far between, and 'shoaling' is something that occurs on another planet... Any prudent mariner can easily get away out-of-date paper charts... Expecially, when they are not being used as the primary means of navigation...

They sure can come in handy, however. A few years ago I was approaching Grand Bruit in thick weather, and what I was seeing on my infallible plotter just didn't feel right... Stopping, and taking the time to do a bit of plotting on paper, confirmed something was amiss with what had otherwise been my extraordinarily accurate e-charts of the south coast of The Rock up to that point:



Had the Navy boys aboard that minesweeper in the Sulu Sea bothered to do the same, they might have saved the Navy a ton of embarrassment, and the American taxpayer a $100 million, give or take...

As I said at the outset, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this... Sorry, but you're gonna have a tough time convincing me that my feeling my way into Grand Bruit for the first time, or cruising in those - or any other waters - would have been far safer had I thrown all my paper charts away prior to heading out of Barnegat Inlet... (grin)



Last edited by JonEisberg; 06-24-2013 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 06-24-2013
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Re: charts

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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
At one point, somewhere in southern Virginia and parts of North Carolina, the GPS clearly showed that our position would have been 100 or more feet outside the waterway and aground, which obviously wasn't true. So, what was wrong? Was it the GPS/Plotter, the charts, both? A call to an old friend in Washington, DC provided me with the answer. The problem is that when the charts were created, the same charts that were scanned into the GPS/Plotter, the ICW didn't exist. Sure, it was on the charts, but many of those dredged ditches between creeks and rivers were not yet in place. Therefore, what is on the charts, and in the GPS, is the proposed locations of those ditches - not the actual locations. Now, the GPS/Plotter's accuracy is +/- 9-feet - it knows exactly where you are at any given time and displays that location perfectly. The problem, then, is obvious, the charts. Whoops!
Sorry, Gary - perhaps I'm simply not understanding your friend's explanation, but that makes no sense to me... How could the ICW have been "charted", before it existed? What am I missing here?

btw, you do know that general area - and the Chesapeake-Albemarle Canal between Great Bridge and Currituck Sound in particular - was originally surveyed by George Washington, right? (grin) So, that waterway has been around for awhile...

You might think about shopping around for a different e-chart setup... I've taken pretty much every type of plotter down the Ditch at one time or another, and I can't ever recall any of them ever placing me in the trees, anywhere...


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Old 06-24-2013
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Re: charts

The Dismal Swamp Route was around before charts existed, Jon. Not in it's present form, but pretty much the same. The segment I'm referring to is well to the south of that and I'll have to go to the boat to find the exact area, because I marked it on the charts as a reference. It was pretty much about 50 to 100 feet off, and has nothing to do with the GPS/Plotter software - it's the actual chart in reference to the actual position. This is nothing new, by the way. I've found lots of errors such as these in other bodies of water, including Chesapeake and Delaware bays.

As you would suspect, I too thought it was a software glitch - but that was not the case. There are lots of places where USGS placed channels, islands, etc... on charts that were not positioned correctly. Keep in mind that I also have the entire Maptech collection of charts, and three, different GPS/Plotters, and all provided the same information. Now, they were not long stretches of the ICW, maybe 3 to 4 miles at best, but they were definitely improperly positioned on the charts. I'm not sure how you could verify this on a paper chart without the aid of a surveyor quality GPS. And for the most part, it's irrelevant because for most individuals running the ICW at night is akin to insane. Yeah, there were some tugs and barges running at night, but I guess some local knowledge, radar, and some damned bright lights that I saw made this possible. For most recreational boaters, though, nighttime is better suited for finding a nice anchorage, mixing up a Green Coconut Margaretta and getting a good night's sleep.

Now, of all the locations where I, personally, noted the error, they were all dredged ditches - not creeks, rivers or bays. All of those were dead on accurate to within a few feet. From what my friend in Washington told me, the same is true with many roads as well. These are locations where the road is not on the map in the originally, proposed location, which is the case with Grafton Shoppe Road Bridge, located just a few miles from my home. The proposed bridge site turned out to be too swampy to support the structure, so the site was moved about 50 yards farther north where the terrain was more suitable. However, that move never made it to the maps, which in turn are on the GPS mapping devices frequently installed in cars. My GPS in my van, which I use a lot, clearly shows the vehicle traveling through an open field about 50 yards from the actual bridge. It's the same scenario as those locations I encountered in the ICW - nothing at all unusual.

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 06-25-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
So if your charts are 3 - 5 years old, are they all that safe especially in the US where almost every chart gets updated about once a month with navigation updates?
Jeffrey, in your experience with updating software, which elements of charts change from one version to another? If I'm not mistaken (and I often am so I stand by to be educated ) it's mostly about lights that move/expire/appear and channels that are dredged/silt up.

Mostly islands, continents, rocks, harbours, docks, etc don't move about much. To put a finer point on it the charts that Commander James Cooke penned centuries ago were still the basis for newly updated charts as late as a decade or two ago and not only yachtsmen but commercial shipping were using them. Updates in Notices to Mariners also allow one to update old charts as far as those things that can and do move go.

In all the sailing that I have done, the only time I have gotten myself into trouble is when I didn't pay attention to what was on the paper chart that I had. I have done a lot of sailing coastal and inter-continental and have always used paper charts - I have never got into any trouble of any sort other than when I never read the charts properly. I learned a scary lesson and now read every word on every chart I use.

But I still can't justify the purchase of a plotter based on a navigation light that goes out. When I'm that close that I can see stuff then any form of charting instantly becomes redundant and if it's dark and I can't see, I stay away until I can. Old school I know but I've stayed alive that way for four decades.

I shudder when friends tell me they went into strange little inlets/harbours at night using their chart plotter - I haven't got the courage for that.
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Old 06-25-2013
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Re: charts

Every Chart Plotter I have seen being used correctly was linked up with the GPS, Sonar, and most of the time radar, and with those working integrally with the charts I cannot imagine why one would think that a piece of paper alone would even be considered. Do you have your mate up on the bow with a piece of rope with lead on the end and some wax fitted into a little cup in the lead doing soundings every few feet?

I mean come on people, you are not fooling me, you use GPS, you use sonar, so why is it you seem to think linking them together would not work at night in some place you have never been before. Tell me I am not correct when I say you have sonar for depth, and GPS to show you a coordinate set so you can see where you are on the chart. If you are using a knotmeter and a clock and compass set up doing straight up DR, taking a sighting with a sextant and all of that, please let us all know. We will enjoy watching you, and also we might even want to know where you are going to sail so we can know where to send sea tow when you run aground running back and forth with that sounding line and your sextant and compass and somewhere along the way you actually find the time to trim sails and actually steer the boat.

You who say you would not sail into an unfamiliar harbor at night with a chartplotter, I agree, I would take a boat.
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
Jeffrey, in your experience with updating software, which elements of charts change from one version to another?
Without any question, it's the aids to navigation.

Except when it's not.

You see, it doesn't matter what's the most frequent. What matters is the change that you'll unknowingly come across. Like right now along the coast and intracoastal waterway of New Jersey. And I'm sorry but in the 11 years I've been onboard almost full-time, I have never once yet seen someone who every week goes through their LNTM's and updates all their charts.

But it's more than that too. This is the oddest topic because it almost always comes down to some people who feel they get some of their identity from saying that they use nautical charts. The precious few who actually do? Not so much. Again, I see charts left out on tables as window dressing with no laylines, no marks, no fix updates - just left on a table somewhere as testimony to how safe a sailor they are. In my mind, I'd rather be onboard with a guy who has an extra phone in a watertight case who can pinpoint his position within 20 seconds at night should the boat find itself on its side. Those wonderful charts in that situation won't ever be found and would be useless even if they managed to float by.

But it's even more than that. Because this topic also tends to move toward the exaggerated example - finding a wild scenario where either method of navigation fails like I just did myself. For nearly every moment of all of our cruising, the reality is that we all are going to be sitting behind a glowing screen showing our exact position on a chart. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I do it and rely on it. In fact, I think it makes me a much better navigator and sailor. I embrace the technology just like all previous sailors did (up until this last decade). And heck, I hope I'm actually creating some of it too.
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Re: charts

Good morning. I am new in sailing. Everytime. I go sailing I forget my paper chart however I have iPhone with Navonics app and it works perfectly fine for my club boat. I'll try iPad next time.
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post

In my mind, I'd rather be onboard with a guy who has an extra phone in a watertight case who can pinpoint his position within 20 seconds at night should the boat find itself on its side. Those wonderful charts in that situation won't ever be found and would be useless even if they managed to float by.
Uhhh, have you actually ever experienced a knockdown that put your spreaders in the water, or the mast beyond horizontal? It's hard to understate the violence of such an event, and the chaos that ensues - and I'd wager the average paper chart stands a better chance of surviving such trauma, and maintaining its utility, than, say, a laptop computer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
But it's even more than that. Because this topic also tends to move toward the exaggerated example - finding a wild scenario where either method of navigation fails like I just did myself.
Well, it's not like such examples very hard to find, after all... Right now, there's a Swan 48 floating somewhere between Bermuda and the Caribbean, largely due to the fact their electronics went dark a few months ago... Would that example be less "exaggerated" if the boat was only worth $250K, instead of the half a million or so her sisterships are generally worth? (grin)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
For nearly every moment of all of our cruising, the reality is that we all are going to be sitting behind a glowing screen showing our exact position on a chart.
Well, until we aren't, of course...

I'll admit, I've only suffered the loss of the glowing screen once on my own boat, and it was likely my own fault, for attempting to start my engine with my battery lower than it should have been allowed to have gotten... Nevertheless, it couldn't have come at a more inconvenient place, or time... About 10 years ago, while preparing to depart Baracoa, Cuba, for the Ragged Islands in the Bahamas...



Good luck getting a Simrad chartplotter repaired anywhere in Cuba, or having a replacement shipped in... Especially in a spot as remote as Baracoa, which was only connected by road to the rest of Cuba a few decades ago, and where the internet has yet to exist...

And, good luck finding paper charts in such a place - especially, for any waters outside Cuban territorial waters... The mere possession of such could easily land a Cuban citizen in jail, after all... And, good luck waiting for another cruiser to show up in Baracoa that might give you theirs, I remained the sole yacht in that harbor for over a week...

If I had not had my compliment of paper charts aboard, I could have been in serious trouble... What would you have done in such a situation, having thrown away all of your charts beforehand? Only thing I can imagine, is that I could have tried to make my way up to Clarence Town, on Long Island... The Flying Fish Marina would have been the likely closest place I might have been able to fine some Explorer Chartbooks... Still, such a trip without charts would have been extremely risky - even for one as comparatively familiar with those waters as myself... For someone cruising that region for the first time, it could have resulted in big trouble... And, of course, my planned cruise back through the Jumentos - one of the most magnificent regions of the Bahamas - would have been taken off the table, it would have been nuts to venture anywhere close to them without charts of any kind...

Funny, but your vision of sailors "sitting behind the glowing screen" is a big part of the problem with the ever-increasing reliance on electronic navigation, IMHO... John Harries relates an incident that illustrates how 'seductive' these systems can become, and how easily sailors can forget to simply look outside of the boat:

Quote:

It was 4:00 am on a black early morning anchored at Cape Lookout Harbour when Phyllis and I were awoken by a crash from up forward followed by a sickening scraping sound. A quick look out the companionway showed the outline of another sailboat reversing away from our bow.

...

Two days later George and I had a long conversation in which he clearly and frankly told me how this very experienced and skilled sailor had come to have his first accident in over 30 years of owning this particular boat. And George’s experience in which two relatively small problems built on each other to cause an accident contains lessons for us all:

...

Plotters Don’t Show the Real World

After struggling with and finally clearing the rode and getting the anchor aboard, George returned to the cockpit where his first action was to look at the plotter to see where he was. A few moments later he looked up from the plotter to see our bow looming right in front of him. The by then inevitable crash took place seconds later.

Lesson 2: If George had not been equipped with a plotter he would have oriented himself by looking at his surroundings first, or possibly, if so equipped, glancing at his radar. Either way, he would almost certainly have seen us in plenty of time to avert a collision, particularly since we were showing a bright anchor light.

George is not alone in making this mistake, I have made it several times myself since getting electronic navigation two years ago—the damned things are just so seductive. I have just been luckier than George. In fact Phyllis and I now have a standard reminder that we use when we see the other looking down at the screen at the wrong time or for too long: “Look up…that’s not reality”.

Analysis Of An Accident Between Two Sailboats
I'll confess to being as easily "seduced" as Harries, as well... Start playing with a plotter while running a boat at 25 knots or more, it's astonishing how narrowly disaster might be averted... No need to ask me how I know this... (grin)

I've always thought every chartplotter should come with a warning label stating something along the lines of the conclusion of the NTSB inquiry into the crash of Eastern Flight 401 in 1972, the first-ever crash of a jumbo jet, and a classic example of the flight crew becoming so distracted by dealing with a problematic 'gizmo' in the cockpit, they basically forgot to keep flying the damn plane:

Quote:

The final NTSB report cited the cause of the crash as pilot error, specifically: "the failure of the flight crew to monitor the flight instruments during the final four minutes of flight, and to detect an unexpected descent soon enough to prevent impact with the ground. Preoccupation with a malfunction of the nose landing gear position indicating system distracted the crew's attention from the instruments and allowed the descent to go unnoticed."
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
For nearly every moment of all of our cruising, the reality is that we all are going to be sitting behind a glowing screen showing our exact position on a chart.
LOL! So, then - which is more important? Your exact position on a CHART, or your exact position on THE EARTH'S SURFACE?

Again, I'll let John and Phyllis on MORGAN'S CLOUD take it from here...

Quote:

Things Are Different Now
by Phyllis on July 9, 2011 3 comments

Onboard Morgan’s Cloud one of the biggest changes is that we now have electronic charting for the first time while voyaging in Greenland. And so far we have been able to navigate electronically, because C-Map has done an amazingly good job of correcting the datums (the original paper charts are off by as much as ˝ mile in places against the GPS).

However, there are still some spots where the datums are significantly off and we suspect that this discrepancy will only increase as we continue north. Since we have all the paper charts we aren’t worried, though we are a bit concerned about how rusty our ability to use the hand-bearing compass, parallel ruler and course protractor has become!


On this chart C-Map has done a very good job of correcting the amount that the datum of the original paper chart is off. However, the ranges shown are where we checked the distance to the shore to be sure.


What is worrying is how seductive electronic charting is: after using a plotter for just a little while it is extremely hard to believe that the picture on the computer screen is not reality! So we are constantly reminding each other that we have to regularly confirm our position relative to the land using radar ranges and bearings, which are reality.

http://www.morganscloud.com/2011/07/...ion-greenland/

Last edited by JonEisberg; 06-25-2013 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 06-25-2013
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Re: charts

Once more, the chart plotter mentioned in accidents above was not to blame, the Captain was driving his boat without paying attention to things around him. I have to say some people just are never going to get it, the electronics should not be sailing your vessel, you as the Captain must sail the vessel. The same accidents can happen when a Captain is looking through his bifocals at his charts. In Spanish we have a saying, a word really, envergado I won't translate it to closely but it means you screwed yourself...sort of... by getting stuck on it.

If you get stuck on a chart, a cup of tea, or a chart plotter you are distracted. If you are sailing rapidly in the dark into a mooring area or dock, as would have to have been the case in the above mentioned boating accident, you were in the wrong before you even got started looking at the plotter. If you get envergado you did it to yourself.
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