Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 87 Old 07-09-2013 Thread Starter
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Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I always prefer to have my chart plotter setup in a north up configuration. This is likely due to using paper charts for years and years. The problem is the admiral and any crew we have aboard get really confused by it, especially when we are on a southern course. If I add the radar overlay then they really complain. But every time I try and use a course up configuration I nearly get nauseous. My brain just can't seem to deal with it. I am thinking about just making the change to course up and learn to start dealing with it.

What are your opinions out there?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 87 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I prefer course up view. This keeps me from having to think when I am trying to relax and have a good time. If there are no shoals to the top of the chart then I am safe and happy.
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post #3 of 87 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I prefer north up; I keep my bearings easier that way. But if your crew prefers the other way, is it that hard to change it for whoever is at the helm?

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post #4 of 87 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I run the chartplotter north up (paper chart user) and radar head up (conventional).

I will use them both head up, perhaps with an overlay) when I am teaching folks how to read radar.

The jumpiness of the course plotter on the course mode is distracting to me.

My netbook charts are always north up as they are raster.

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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

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Originally Posted by kellysails View Post
I always prefer to have my chart plotter setup in a north up configuration. This is likely due to using paper charts for years and years. The problem is the admiral and any crew we have aboard get really confused by it, especially when we are on a southern course. If I add the radar overlay then they really complain. But every time I try and use a course up configuration I nearly get nauseous. My brain just can't seem to deal with it. I am thinking about just making the change to course up and learn to start dealing with it.

What are your opinions out there?

Thanks!
I have also grown up with paper charts navigating with the north up.

But on the chart plotter I prefer using Heading up for several reasons.
  • I sometimes use split screen with radar and chart side by side, for me it feels more natural to have the radar heading up.
  • With heading up it's easy to offset the boat to the lower part of the screen so I can see more of the chart ahead of me.
  • I feel heading up works better on the small screen.
On my plotter Heading up is not the same as course up..
Heading up refers to my compass heading (rate gyro)
Course up refers to the way point if set.

AFAIK aircraft pilots navigate on paper chart heading up.

An former college of mine was commander on a FPB squadron in the Norwegian Navy - he did learn to navigate on paper charts (North up)
When he started training for his pilot license - his instructor could not understand why he did his navigation North up instead of turning the chart..
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post #6 of 87 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

Head up.

Many times I like to advance the CP forward to anticipate what lays directly ahead of me and have it set in that configuration as the boat advances forward.

It is especially useful when traveling or plotting or keeping a course to a dedicated spot or say an inlet in seeing what is exactly in your way depth wise. The boat advances though the CP just like it does when I have the chart laid out on the nav station.

I actually turn the paper chart in the direction I am going so the peripheral landmarks are in the same position on the chart as they are when viewing in the cockpit when looking outside of the boat . IE if the rocks are on my starboard by sight, they are on my starboard by CP and also by chart. Its far less confusing when teaching someone also.


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post #7 of 87 Old 07-09-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I think heading is the direction the boat is pointing and course is the actual path the boat is taking. This takes into account set/run effects of the current/wind.
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post #8 of 87 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

'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)
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post #9 of 87 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

Interesting that people say they go north up because of paper charts. From Scouts to university in geography I always oriented the map/chart to the course I wanted to follow rather than to north. Heck the m/c has true north at the top,not even magnetic.

On the boats generally have course up except in tight corners where I want the land features to stay in one place even I'd the course is changing frequently.

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post #10 of 87 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

Heads up for us. Same reasons mentioned by others.
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