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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics > Laptop as a Chart Plotter
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Thread: Laptop as a Chart Plotter Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-10-2012 03:15 PM
Stu Jackson
Re: Laptop as a Chart Plotter

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokesailor View Post
I have a "A" Series Raymarine Chartplotter in the cockpit with Raymarine Instrumentation and the Raymarine Class B AIS. I would like to also setup a Navigation Computer at the Nav Station with possibly MaxSea Nav software. How do I connect the computer to the NMEA 0183 network? Or am I better off just connecting the laptop to an independent handheld GPS?

You have to decide whether or not you want independent systems which would provide you backup or whether you want an integrated system.

$37 will buy you a BU-353 GPS puck for your laptop software, don't know how you'd integrate the AIS, though.
03-10-2012 09:48 AM
brokesailor
Re: Laptop as a Chart Plotter

I have a "A" Series Raymarine Chartplotter in the cockpit with Raymarine Instrumentation and the Raymarine Class B AIS. I would like to also setup a Navigation Computer at the Nav Station with possibly MaxSea Nav software. How do I connect the computer to the NMEA 0183 network? Or am I better off just connecting the laptop to an independent handheld GPS?
12-11-2011 08:01 AM
white74
Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
I pray for the day that the major plotter manufacturers get off their proprietary kick and make a device that takes NOAA raster or ENC charts...

Some of these netbooks have me intrigued. Some have built in EVDO/Aircards and even GPS. If someone "hardened" it for military use, then we'd be talking. Perhaps a touch screen...who knows.
my old toughbook has all that plus under ubuntu 10.04 it works well even though it is only 500 mhz
added dock with second display for cockpit and transparent touchscreen overlay
07-29-2011 02:37 PM
btrayfors
Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
While errors can happen anywhere, errors in NOAA electronic charts (vector or raster) are relatively rare and, more importantly, if there is an error in NOAA electronic chart - you can expect the same error in current paper chart.

At this point NOAA paper charts are generated from the same electronic data as those you download and use with navigation software. So while there is a benefit of redundancy with paper charts, there is no benefit of "better information" anymore.
Unfortunately, much as we might wish it were so, neither of these two statements is entirely true.

First, it is important to understand that NOAA raster charts (RNCs) are exact copies of the NOAA paper charts. In fact, they are produced by scanning the paper chart. Still, in July 2011, the paper charts are the basis from which raster charts are produced.

Next, there is at present no central electronic database from which either raster (RNCs) or vector charts (ENCs) are produced. Let me say that again, since there is so much misunderstanding on this point: there is no central database from which charts are now automatically produced.

To be absolutely sure of my understanding, I verified this today with two senior NOAA officers deeply involved in hydrographic cartography.

There is, in fact, a major effort underway to develop a central electronic database from which both RNC and ENC charts would be generated, but it is fully two years or more down the road before deployment. At present, RNCs and ENCs are produced by two separate offices within NOAA, though they collaborate closely in an attempt to avoid errors.

Potentially, of course, ENCs may contain many layers of information and these may be captured in a central database from which the charts could be produced. This is the goal, at least, if not the present reality.

Bottom line:

1. RNC (raster charts) are exact copies of the underlying paper charts. They are images of the paper charts...no more, no less.

2. Paper charts are the controlling "database" from which charts are produced at present.

3. At present, there is no underlying electronic database from which charts are automatically produced.

4. ENC (vector charts) are not necessarily identical to either the paper charts or their images (the raster charts). Therefore, they may contain errors of omission and of commission.

One thing I can agree with Brak about: NOAA charts -- both ENC and RNC -- are excellent products which NOAA takes great care in producing.

That these are available to us for downloading at any time, and free of charge, is a wonderful benefit we get from NOAA's hard work.

Bill
07-27-2011 09:42 PM
brak
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Over the years, been using chart plotters since 1997, I have come across many errors and omitted pieces of data from the NOAA cartography. This is why I still carry paper and do my best to mix that and my plotters information with "local knowledge". When cruising my home waters paper only comes out in thick fog but it is still always on-board.
While errors can happen anywhere, errors in NOAA electronic charts (vector or raster) are relatively rare and, more importantly, if there is an error in NOAA electronic chart - you can expect the same error in current paper chart.

At this point NOAA paper charts are generated from the same electronic data as those you download and use with navigation software. So while there is a benefit of redundancy with paper charts, there is no benefit of "better information" anymore.
07-27-2011 08:14 PM
tdw Too true MS. I love my little Garmin handheld. Its been utterly reliable though admittedly I only use it for heading and lat/long. That said we still have a back up and like you I carry paper. Indeed , offshore I'll still plot to paper even though the positioning is done electronically. Quite frankly its part of the enjoyment.

I do wonder though how , in your case, Garmin could get it so wrong. It s nott as if they do their own mapping.
07-27-2011 08:55 AM
Maine Sail
Why I still carry paper...

Over the years, been using chart plotters since 1997, I have come across many errors and omitted pieces of data from the NOAA cartography. This is why I still carry paper and do my best to mix that and my plotters information with "local knowledge". When cruising my home waters paper only comes out in thick fog but it is still always on-board.

We also suffered a lightning strike last year which took out four devices not plugged into ANYTHING. Essentially all electronic gear on-board, including my laptop, and disconnected back up GPS devices, was fried.

This is but one example of a Garmin error....

0.2 nm Scale:


0.3 nm Scale - Hey Where Did The Land Go??:


0.5 nm Scale - Land, Land, Bueller, Bueller.........:


0.8 nm Scale - Oh there you are..........


Check out the 108 foot deep spot on the 0.3 & 0.4 nm scales.... Oh yeah that's a hill not a harbor.....

I find it amusing when people pay such homage to a particular brand like they are infallible or something. None of them are and they ALL make mistakes. I love my Gamin stuff but it is FAR from perfect...
07-27-2011 12:45 AM
aeventyr60 The other problem with the "all in one screens" is that the data boxes are so small it's impossible to read from a distance. Maybe my eyes are just getting worse.......
07-26-2011 05:04 PM
Stu Jackson
Quote:
Originally Posted by daddyhobbit View Post
I am being lured by the siren song of cheap dollars of buy it now on ebay one of the $99.00 GPS mouse and a gazillion charts that turn my otherwise unsuspecting laptop into a chart plotter.
However the old adage of " to good to be true" is ringing in my ears. Does anyone have experience with any of these? Are they worthy of my investment or should I just buy a Garmin with the appropriate chips?
thanks
Jim
Great material here in these replies.

Going back to Jim's original post, here's my experience:

GPS and Navigation Software Options
07-26-2011 09:53 AM
LinekinBayCD
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmoser View Post
Many of these posts emphasize having paper charts as back up. My question is whether these paper charts are produced by the software used on the laptop, or are they from an independent supplier. In other words, are the charts solely for use if the electronics fails or are there issues with the charts produced by the software or is it both?
In the US charts are updated by the government (NOAA). These first tier charts are used by providers/vendors of both electronic charts and repackaged paper charts such as Maptech. The second tier or second generation charts add another chance for errors to be introduced. If you use government charts you won't be getting any of the potential errors introduced during the conversion to an electronic format.
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