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  #61  
Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I've always found it interesting how few people - when transiting sections of the ICW that run due E & W, such as the Alligator-Pungo Canal - will still speak on the VHF in terms of being either 'south' or 'north-bound'...
This could be a subject and a thread in itself. I'm one of those who believe that proper usage on the ICW is always "North / South bound" since it is quite clear which direction you are heading.

On a side river or route where the two ends are clearly east and west of each other, I would say "East / West" even if there were a bridge in a short north / south running portion.
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
This says the man with the computer, I pad, tablet or smart phone

That's the problem Jon, they are both and they are neither, just like the dinosaurs who are afraid to depend on a GPS device who think some day a EMP will wipe out all the satellites all at once.
Well, for the record, I will note that I only possess one of those 4 toys you mention, not sure how that has any relevance to the points I've been trying to make... And, for the umpteenth time, may I remind you that I, too, rely on GPS as my primary navigational tool, just like most everyone else... (grin)

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Why is it so important to have map reading skills Jon, they are becoming obsolete except for the water where its a needed skill still? It isn't a necessary skill on land anymore for most people.
So, what happens when one of those Dirt Dwellers with minimal map-reading skills buys a Plastic Fantastic 40 for his first boat? Ah, right - as Roger points out, he learns to use a chartplotter... Which is most often a far cry from actually learning how to navigate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
It isn't a necessary skill on land anymore for most people. It doesn't mean they are lost either.
In the weeks after Hurricane Sandy, one of my neighbors had his FEMA inspection postponed, due to the fact that the inspector's smart phone died, and he had no means of finding his way to our neighborhood... I had to drive to a shopping mall to meet with my inspector, because her GPS was inexplicably routing her to my address over a bridge that had been closed, and there was no other way she could be 'talked into' my house... Which, from the parking lot she was in, would have involved making ONE left turn at the 3rd traffic light she would have encountered... Though she had a map of the area, she candidly admitted it was of no use to her...

Yeah, ain't Map-Reading Obsolescence wonderful?

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Time marches on as does the world. People don't forage for food anymore. It allows them do do things like deliver boats, become rocket scientists, CHefs, teachers, accountants. Time marches on.

March with it or get left behind and perish with he dinosours. grin
Sometimes, I wonder if I'm the only person around here who's ever had one of those Magic Black Boxes aboard a boat go dark... (grin)

Again, to the aftermath of Sandy... We were without power here for 20 days... For the first time, it truly hit me how dependent many people have become upon their smart phones and such... Whenever I'd make a stop at McDonald's to poach some WiFi, here would be lines around the power outlets, people waiting to re-charge their devices, probably so they could figure out how to get to where they're going next... (grin)

So, disregard the mention in the article I cited, of the pleas from authorities in Scotland for hikers to familiarize themselves with other means of finding their way back home, as a result of so many needless rescues they're having to make... My nephew is a Ski Patroller out at Mammoth Mountain, and rarely does a single week go by without them being called to find some clown who ventured Out of Bounds somewhere on the mountain, because his smart phone went dead, and he lacked the ability to interpret something as simple as a freakin' trail map... Or, the countless other examples offered up every day, and certainly over the VHF any weekend out on the water...

Sorry, but they are the sort of people, lacking those sort of antiquated, "obsolete" skills, who might find themselves "left behind" when TSHTF, but "time marches on"... (grin)

Last edited by JonEisberg; 07-10-2013 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

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Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post
I've noticed that this is very much a generational thing. There are exceptions, of course, but most people I've met who learned to navigate before GPS prefer north up and those who learned to navigate post GPS (I'm not sure that really counts as learning to navigate.) prefer heads up.

Being old enough to remember running miles of fog with the most complex device on my boat being my wind up Timex watch, I find there is a lot less mental math involved in north up. The steadier display is also a plus.
Back to my posting about different brain wiring. I am an oldster and have only used electronic NAV for five years or so and used paper charts exclusively for more than 30 years. I use both orientations but mainly course up.
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I need north up to get oriented and plot a course on a paper chart.
Once oriented if I am looking at the course and say have the map or cp in Fremont of me I like course up to compare with what I see in the real world in front of me.

Sort of like my opinion.
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  #65  
Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I agree with Jon re map reading skills. Ok so we have backups that do not rely on boat power but had we been sailing when our girl was clobbered by the lightning earlier this year we would have been starring at a blank screen. In one case our nav station plotter survived the strike but its aerial didn't.

Now I am well into the school of "paper as a backup" but really, if anyone going sailing or trekking does so without the ability to read a map then man oh man that soul is looking a tadge dim. Presumably also, anyone who goes out using IPhone for navigation probably doesn't even carry a pocket compass.
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I love these posts where people are categorized as inferior sailors/navigators just beacuse their mind does not work the same way as yours...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
'Course Up' is for 'drivers' of Sea Rays, without a paper chart in sight...

Anyone who can't figure out North Up, shouldn't be at the helm to begin with... (grin)

All bets are off, however, aboard boats without paper charts, then one may as well let domestic tranquility rule the day..

Jack's right, in anything other than flat calm water, the continuous 're-drawing' of the chart due to the boat's movement is very distracting, and can be a real impediment to safe navigation...

Seriously, a paper chart should always be the 'Go To' point of reference/confirmation, in any moment of doubt, or possible confusion... Having the plotter set to a different mode will likely only add to any confusion, and I have little doubt such a discrepancy has led to many a navigational mishap...

Hey, I'm hoplessly Old School, what else would you expect? (grin)
First I carry paper charts as a backup togheter with all kinds of old school navigation equipmemt and I know how to use it.

I think "Nintendo navigators" are a danger to both themselves and others.
A "Nintendo navigator" is one the believe that the screen is the truth not what he/she can see/observe (marks, lights, light sectors, depths, compass ++) around the boat.

Fixed marks and fixed transits usually stay put so if the GPS is showing differently, the GPS is probably wrong.
(even floating marks tend to stay put)

So when I once i a while "see" that I'm sitting on top of a mark and my visual tell's me other ways..

My "home" waters is the Skagarak / Kattegat area where we do lots of inshore navigation (under sail) in areas where we have lots of rocks and islands.
Sailors from other places feel this a bit intimidating..

I believe that old school piloting (Coastal navigation, as by reference to buoys and soundings) still is an important art.

But used correctly a chart plotter can improve Coastal navigation. When short or single handed you don't have time to go up a down to the chart table.

Showing the correct map are on the plotter is handy and it's more resilient to water (and more handy) than a paper chart.

It's easy to measure distance and bearing to your next mark on the plotter to help locating it early.

Having course up I can even estimate the bearing to next mark at a glance - often enough data to spot it using the binoculars.

With paper charts i do my chart work north up because it is easier to
  • Plot a position from GPS
  • Plot a position line from one or more bearings
  • Reading the LAT/LONG of a waypoint and other objects
  • It's easy to plan/plot a great circle route using the data I calculate using my calculator (Oh good forbid, must use a slide rule)

When under way may chart plotter is oriented heading up.
  • I have no problem switching from paper to plotter and back even with different orientation
  • I don't plot on the chart plotter the same way I do on paper, waypoints are input using input box or pointing in the chart.
  • I don't use any kind of old type ruler on the screen - I move the cursor and get LAT/LONG/bearing and dist at a glance.
  • I don't feel that "the continuous 're-drawing' of the chart" is any problem (maybe there are better plotters around?)
  • I often put the boat icon at the lower part of the screen, this way I can utilize the "scree estate" better (usually more interested in what is ahead). Must admit that i haven't tried to offset the boat in North up.

You know that paper chart also can have errors in them?


When I sail in unknown waters with unknown charts I cross reference a lot. If I'm feel that the electronic charts are accurate the paper charts is more of a backup.
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

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Originally Posted by knuterikt View Post
I love these posts where people are categorized as inferior sailors/navigators just beacuse their mind does not work the same way as yours...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg
'Course Up' is for 'drivers' of Sea Rays, without a paper chart in sight...

Anyone who can't figure out North Up, shouldn't be at the helm to begin with... (grin)
My apologies, but perhaps you are taking that first comment a bit too literally, or seriously... Sure, I can be pretty flip with my comments, and in truth probably don't apply a (grin) nearly as often as I probably should... (grin)

However, you'll note that I did not say that anyone who has a PREFERENCE for North-Up shouldn't be at the helm, but rather anyone WHO CAN'T FIGURE OUT North-Up shouldn't be there...

I'll stand by that distinction... Aboard my boat, or any boat I'm running, anyone not comfortable or confident in their ability to interpret a chart or plotter in a North Up orientation, well... I won't be trusting them to take the helm unsupervised, or in anything other than the most benign of circumstances, they'll just be along for the ride... Nor, will I be going below for a nap... (grin)



Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
I agree with Jon re map reading skills. Ok so we have backups that do not rely on boat power but had we been sailing when our girl was clobbered by the lightning earlier this year we would have been starring at a blank screen. In one case our nav station plotter survived the strike but its aerial didn't.

Now I am well into the school of "paper as a backup" but really, if anyone going sailing or trekking does so without the ability to read a map then man oh man that soul is looking a tadge dim. Presumably also, anyone who goes out using IPhone for navigation probably doesn't even carry a pocket compass.
That's one of my primary reasons for arguing in favor of North-Up... If one is forced to resort to navigating on paper alone, unless one possesses the remarkable ability to "just as easily" read every detail, and plot accurately on an upside-down chart under a dim red light at night (grin), the chart staring you in the face in the North-up mode WILL be the 'default setting' you'll be dealing with...

Given the added stress placed upon a navigator suddenly placed in such straits, and the high probability of fatigue and exhaustion eventually coming into play, it seems to me that forcing someone to navigate in a manner that they are heretofore unaccustomed to might only add to the drama of such a scenario, and increase the potential for making a mistake...

Different strokes for different folks, of course, and I truly admire the ability of those who can switch from one orientation to the other, and think nothing of it... Perhaps because I've done as much singlehanding as I have, I'm more than a bit acquainted with true fatigue, and exhaustion, and how easily the stupidest of errors can be made by one as experienced as yours truly... (of course, this could be just me, and others here are immune to such ill effects)

I'll always argue in favor of the KISS principle... Pick one mode of navigating, and stick with it... And, you may as well stick with the one you'll be stuck with, in the event that plotter goes dark... (grin)

Last edited by JonEisberg; 07-11-2013 at 12:03 AM.
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

The hard wiring of the brain is an interesting theory. At least in my case I think it has more to do with visual clues. Going over land with a topo map there are lots of visual clues that you can use to determine your position so it makes sense to have the map oriented to your line of march. On water there are a lot less visual clues, it's flat and open and the clues are harder to decipher. Its basic course and speed which for me is easier to handle with things North up. I also use a small hand held chartplotter with a small screen, zoomed into about 1 or 2 nautical miles. A larger chart is used for the big picture, and I'm constantly comparing the two. It's a lot easier if both are oriented on the North axis rather than constantly turning the map to match a constantly changing bearing.
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Well, for the record, I will note that I only possess one of those 4 toys you mention, not sure how that has any relevance to the points I've been trying to make... And, for the umpteenth time, may I remind you that I, too, rely on GPS as my primary navigational tool, just like most everyone else... (grin)



So, what happens when one of those Dirt Dwellers with minimal map-reading skills buys a Plastic Fantastic 40 for his first boat? Ah, right - as Roger points out, he learns to use a chartplotter... Which is most often a far cry from actually learning how to navigate...



In the weeks after Hurricane Sandy, one of my neighbors had his FEMA inspection postponed, due to the fact that the inspector's smart phone died, and he had no means of finding his way to our neighborhood... I had to drive to a shopping mall to meet with my inspector, because her GPS was inexplicably routing her to my address over a bridge that had been closed, and there was no other way she could be 'talked into' my house... Which, from the parking lot she was in, would have involved making ONE left turn at the 3rd traffic light she would have encountered... Though she had a map of the area, she candidly admitted it was of no use to her...

Yeah, ain't Map-Reading Obsolescence wonderful?



Sometimes, I wonder if I'm the only person around here who's ever had one of those Magic Black Boxes aboard a boat go dark... (grin)

Again, to the aftermath of Sandy... We were without power here for 20 days... For the first time, it truly hit me how dependent many people have become upon their smart phones and such... Whenever I'd make a stop at McDonald's to poach some WiFi, here would be lines around the power outlets, people waiting to re-charge their devices, probably so they could figure out how to get to where they're going next... (grin)

So, disregard the mention in the article I cited, of the pleas from authorities in Scotland for hikers to familiarize themselves with other means of finding their way back home, as a result of so many needless rescues they're having to make... My nephew is a Ski Patroller out at Mammoth Mountain, and rarely does a single week go by without them being called to find some clown who ventured Out of Bounds somewhere on the mountain, because his smart phone went dead, and he lacked the ability to interpret something as simple as a freakin' trail map... Or, the countless other examples offered up every day, and certainly over the VHF any weekend out on the water...

Sorry, but they are the sort of people, lacking those sort of antiquated, "obsolete" skills, who might find themselves "left behind" when TSHTF, but "time marches on"... (grin)
Ah yes a good "Chicken Little" demo...the sky is falling...the sky is falling and we all need to go back to our roots, get out the maps, get out the firestarters Why.... lets take it to the nth degree. Lets go back before the wheel....it was the ruinatuion of all of us and it caused cars which caused global warming. ( grin) how far should be go back...to the dinosaurs....the flageliites,,,,,the spark that caused it all....the big bang.

So what if people cant find places without a GPS or a smart phone. Are the satellites still there? Most people cant grow food either, certainly a more fundemental skill than reading a map. Should we all have gardening/ growing experience just in case Armageheddon comes?

We all agree we are dependent on electricity and all the devices run by them, Sandy reminded us of that and not just the cell phone part. It was the lack of electricity.

Its great to take a few examples and look at them from the critical half empty scenario and extrapolate the next issue of the "sky is falling" thread. I prefer to focus on the positive. What a great advance electrontics has been.

Easier to rescue people because of it GPS fixes on EPIRBS, VHF radios we carry etc. AIS to let you know where the big ships are, radar to see in the fog. Satellites to map the land and ocean within 6 inches. Doppler radar to predict and give tornado warnings. Satellites to track hurricanes to warn mariniers. Pactor modems to get weather systems while at sea. SSB to have communicatuion over the horizon. Why are you just fixated on chartplotters. All these advances have made it possible for more safety and yes as you say for more people to feel confindent and possibly overconfident and get in trouble. Every action in nature has an equal and opposite reaction ( Newton) associated with it.

And oh by the way those maps you use, or the mountain rescuer....I bet they were not made and verified by Lewis and Clark, but by some GEOSat satellite 233 miles in space.

While I agree and utilize paper charts as you do, I do not demonize the use of electronics and aids utilizing electronics as a use only by the inexperienced Darth Vadars of the world. I refuse to point to a few isolated publicised incidents, sensationalize and then extrapolate them to mean the "sky is faling", especially when the hard facts show otherwise.

Time does march on....thats a true fact, like death. Technology does with it.

You can pick and chose which electronics to use (I notice you use the demon computer to post) and let the technology help you become a better safer sailor, or you can get left behind. ( grin). Not referring to you Jon...you use GPS of course ( grin).
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Ah yes a good "Chicken Little" demo...the sky is falling...the sky is falling and we all need to go back to our roots, get out the maps, get out the firestarters Why.... lets take it to the nth degree. Lets go back before the wheel....it was the ruinatuion of all of us and it caused cars which caused global warming. ( grin) how far should be go back...to the dinosaurs....the flageliites,,,,,the spark that caused it all....the big bang.
Congrats, that's about as far as I've ever seen anyone run with such a hysterically absurd analogy regarding the issue of navigation and seamanship, and the possibility that a sailor may someday have to resort to more traditional means to find their way home... (grin)

Again, perhaps it's just me, and I am the only one who ever has - or ever will - experience a total power failure at sea... Or, suffered the consequences of the inherent incompatibility of sophisticated electronic devices with salt water, and had one of those screens go dark...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
While I agree and utilize paper charts as you do, I do not demonize the use of electronics and aids utilizing electronics ...
OK, I give up...

How you continue to interpret my views on these subjects as "demonizing electronics" is completely beyond me...
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