Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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Re: NOAA Seeks Comment on Ending ALL 'Traditional' Paper Charts
FWIW, I haven't used a paper chart in 10 years, aside from ASA 105,106, and OUPV/Master training. I have backup charts onboard, but I have so much redundancy in my electronic systems that I haven't ever had to pull them out.
However, I am not happy about this. My primary chart plotter program, OpenCPN running on one of three Windows tablets, all of which can be mounted at my helm, under the dodger, down below, or wherever a suction cup can attach, has a full database of NOAA RNC and ENC charts. Although I don't get out paper charts, I use the RNC charts (which are just electronic versions of the printed charts) frequently when planning routes.
ENC charts are very powerful, because you can clutter up your screen with as much or as little detail as you want. And therein lies the problem. They are dangerous in the hands of someone who doesn't know which details are important, and adopting settings that leave out certain details can be catastrophic. I've learned a lot about how to adjust the level of detail, but I know enough not to fully trust myself to make these judgments. That's when I pull up the RNC layer so I can see the details that a professional cartographer believes are important. Under NOAA's proposal, that value-added option will go away.
They describe a process where the user can select the details he wants and print out a paper chart or a PDF. But this keeps 100% of the judgment in the hands the user, and eliminates the expertise of the professional cartographer. So it's no better than just using the ENC charts on a chartplotter. And also a PDF will not be calibrated for use in chartplotter software.
The appropriate middle ground, as I see it, would be for NOAA to have their professional cartographers curate some ENC files with the appropriate level of detail and generate calibrated .KAP and .BSB files that can be opened with software in the same way that RNC files are currently opened. Then mariners will have the option of tweaking their own ENC displays as they wish, but also referring to charts that have been properly curated by professional cartographers.
Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
USCG Certified Captain, OUPV and 50 Ton Master
ASA Certified 101/103/104/105/106
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2001 Catalina 34MkII Tall Rig Wing Keel Breakin' Away, Universal Diesel M35B, Mantus 35 lb. anchor, sailing out of Rock Hall Landing Marina
Last edited by TakeFive; 11-19-2019 at 12:39 AM.