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  #1  
Old 03-06-2006
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Electronic Chart/Navigation programs

Now that you can download charts for free from NOAA, the whole game has changed. My version of The Capn is very old, so I was thinking of getting an upgrade. I downloaded their trial version and some NOAA raster and vector charts. I got the raster charts to display right away, but not the vectors. A call to them and I determined that the NOAA vector charts are not usable by The Capn. Before I give up on a old familiar charting program and start looking for another, I would like to get some comments from other people. What are your plans for NOAA charts?
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Old 03-07-2006
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I've decided to go with Maptech for a nav program because it comes with all the US vector & raster charts.

But while looking at different nav programs I looked at the new Capn. I know it will read Maptech raster charts and I assumed it would also read their vector charts as well. If you like and are familiar with the Capn check out the newest version.
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Old 03-07-2006
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I did check out the latest. In fact that was what showed the problem. They have a demo download, so I loaded it at home (my boat computer does not have an Internet connection). When I could not bring up the vector charts from NOAA, I called them and got that response. From reading their literature, I also assumed that it would handle them. But it only handles a few of the various vector formats.
I ran into trouble last year (actually I ran into the bottom!) because I was using outdated paper charts (of local waters that I ought to know dammit!). So the advantage of regularly downloading up-to-date charts means a lot. But with vector charts being the up and coming thing, I want to be able to use both. If I am going to put that much money into a program, it ought to do both.
I think that all the charts that come with the Maptech kit are very easily downloaded from the NOAA site. So that is less important to me. But the Maptech package looks like a real contender.
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Old 03-20-2006
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I have been using Coastal Explorer. Fairly new program created by an ex-microsoft employee. It is full featured and uses the govt issue ENC vector charts amoung others. It has displayed all the various elctronic charts I have thrown at it. Check out the web site.

=>rosepointnav.com<=

Previously I had Nobeltec 7.0 and found it difficult to use and I was not pleased with the tech support. Explorer does NOT do hi-end yacht parts database or engineroom video camera or integrated radar interface, other wise it is full featured and I am very pleased. It has interfaced well with GPS and TackTick NEMA module.
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Old 04-07-2006
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Electronic Chart/Navigation programs

I downloaded Seaclear II and am planning to use it this season for the first time. Seems fairly easy to use, and provides access to multiple COM ports for connection to other on-board devices. Also, it is FREE.
The only drawback is that it only uses raster charts. Back on the plus side, NOAA provides more raster charts than they do ENCs, and at the same price (read FREE also).

The software will automatically select the correct chart from the list of available on the PC as you cruise, you can set a route and/or waypoints for the autohelm to follow, and it keeps your track as you go.

I haven't tried any of the other programs as I am basically cheap, but this looks like it will do a good job ... for me at least.

Fair Winds for you

Mark
s/v Seastar
1977 Fuji 35
Lake Ontario
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Old 04-07-2006
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I just went to ebay and if you type in NAUTICAL CHARTS you will find CD's with the USA in NOAA RASTA $5.00 + shipping. you can get Sea Clear for free.
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Old 04-07-2006
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I have a question RASTA? what does that mean, I keep thinking of Bob Marley with a huge splif and a cloud of smoke. Maybe that could be when your lap top goes UP IN SMOKE.
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Old 04-07-2006
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
The NOAA charts are available in both Vector or Raster format. I wouldn't pay for them, as they're available for free download from the NOAA website.
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Old 04-09-2006
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Traveller.ny
I dowloaded Seaclear II a few weeks ago and plan on using it this summer on Lake Champlain. Got the free raster charts from NOAA.
My only problem right now is how to get the depth to show in feet instead on meters and the wind speed to show in knots.
I emailed the creator but got no response.

Danny
Montreal
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Old 04-09-2006
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We use Oziexplorer ($85) as it is more configurable, constantly updated, and useful ashore as well.

http://www.oziexplorer.com/
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