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  #1  
Old 11-25-2009
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Electronic charts, online charts

Anyone have a good source for (hopefully free) online charts or electronic charts?

My recently acquired sailboat is currently moored in a creek with a very narrow channel with sandbars on either side. Although the channel is marked, I like to review my path on a chart before I actually get underway.

I need to bring the boat home to my private slip this weekend. The current mooring belongs to the seller.

Thanks!
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Old 11-25-2009
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Go to NOAA's Office of Coast Survey.
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Old 11-25-2009
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Have a look at NOAA's booklet charts: BookletChart™ (Experimental)
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Old 11-25-2009
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You can use Sea Clear II, should be a free download, and import the NOAA charts you need for free as well.
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Old 11-25-2009
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If you're looking for an online browse experience like Google Maps, the best I've found is ActiveCaptain - The Interactive Cruising Guidebook - Marina Reviews, Fuel Prices, Anchorages

Create an account (free) then go to X-Preview. This is his beta of NOAA charts online. Pretty slick.
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Old 11-25-2009
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Try this or charts overlaid on Google Earth. For Mac users try MacENC. It uses the free NOAA ENC files.
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Old 11-26-2009
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The booklet charts are very helpful. If you just want to look at an image of the chart this site has converted the NOAA raster charts into .png images: NOAA Nautical Charts in .png Format

Marinas.com, World's Marinas Portal, and Marina Directory also overlays nautical charts and nav aids on google maps. If your creek is home to a marina there may be some really helpful aerial photos there as well. I love that site.

Congrats on the new boat.

Gail
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Old 11-26-2009
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NOAA

Use the link above for NOAA charts. You will find an online chart viewer there which you can also print off. Really the best way to do this is get Polar View / Polar Com - terrific freeware for electronic charts and positioning.

Polar Navy

It does both ENC's and RNC's. Download the NOAA electronic chart catalogs from the NOAA link, plug in a GPS and you have a very nice FREE chart plotter on a big screen. Good luck!
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Old 11-27-2009
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Be aware that POLAR COM is still in beta.
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Old 11-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Be aware that POLAR COM is still in beta.
I can't seem to find the word beta on their website. I have Polar View 1.0.29 and Polar Com 1.0.28. Mac and Linux versions available too. For $20 US, Polar IS integrates autopilot. The Linux versions (0.7) may still be beta.

In response to the OP original question - install takes 30 seconds. For a few hours downloading, I have the entire ENC and RNC catalogs immediately at my fingertips whenever and wherever I am. Plug in my eTrex Vista (or any other receiver) and I have a chart plotter that will also also network your other NMEA 018 instruments... all for free.
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