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Nikos BarBas. Merchant Marine Chief Officer.

Examples of digital nautical charts
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Maptech and SoftChart raster cartography (purchased on CD for software applications and a few plotters). Maptech and SoftChart raster charts show all the information of their printed equivalents. You cannot selectively display different "layers" of information, like switching on/off the characteristics of a channel marker or depth contour. Generally speaking raster charts from Maptech and SoftChart offer the best value for geographic area/dollar spent.

BSB raster chart example

British Admiralty raster charts, purchased on CD-ROM for computer applications. ARCS charts offer impeccable data (many vector charts begin as Admiralty charts) and world coverage. However, when viewing port plans of the United States we think that NOAA offers more detail than ARCS equivalents for the same area. (ARCS has no peer in international cartography.)

British Admiralty ARCS raster chart example

C-Map (purchased primarily on "chips" for dedicated plotters and also on CD-ROM for computer applications). C-Map NT+ cartography is crisp and data-rich. Notice that the entrance buoys do not have their characteristics visible in this view. Most dedicated plotters and computer systems display this sort of data as an option, which keeps chart clutter to a minimum.

C-MAP NT+ vector chart example

Navionics and Garmin (purchased only on "chips" for dedicated plotters). Navionics and Garmin Charts offer a different color scheme. Of course the quality of display will depend primarily on your plotter's capability (color/bw, size, etc.). Navionics and Garmin will only run on dedicated plotters.

Navioincs vector chart example

Transas and Passport (purchased on CD-ROM for software applications). Transas and Passport charts are another example of high quality vector cartography. Notice that the soundings in this example are displayed in meters and that channel markers show only the marker numbers. (The characteristics of any marker can be called at any time just by placing your cursor over the mark.) Nobeltec's flavor will display Passport soundings in any measurement, while the Transas flavor will only allow the metric measurement. VNS will also allow you to switch between different palettes, so that the example below can resemble almost any example above.

Transas vector chart example