Paper or electronic? Tom Cunliffe and Bill Aylward have developed an app which gives you the best of both worlds, using raster charts derived from UKHO data. Tom explains…
Shortly after GPS made its inaugural real-world appearance in the mid-1990s, a pal showed me the first chart plotter I’d ever seen.
After a lifetime of paper-chart navigation it took me a while to fathom the concept of the electronic chart, but although at that stage the plotters on offer were worse than useless, only a fully paid-up luddite would have said there was no future in the idea.
Things moved on rapidly, and soon we had embryonic plotters that worked and were a genuine aid to safe navigation.
The quality of software and speed varied between manufacturers, but they all improved and the best have morphed into ‘Multi-function devices’ (MFDs) that link to further data sources.
The default chart is the so-called ‘vector chart’ which can, of course, now be used via chart plotter apps available for tablets, iPads and mobile phones.
Vector charts look radically different from paper charts and, while we have all grown used to them, they do have some downsides. Unlike paper charts, they are not ‘drawn’ by professional…