A Cruising Guide to Electronic Charts
The paper chart is dead! Long live digital cartography! But be careful.
Just which electronic-chart maker has compiled the best official data for foreign waters is an ongoing debate among bluewater cruisers and a moving target, but my experience is that all the vector formats for the States cover the official core data well. The real issues are the ones discussed above, plus all the optional data and display features, such as 3D, which is moving quickly from novelty to valuable, I think. I’m cruising with, and blogging about, all manner of electronic charts this season; CW’s November issue will carry my recap. I’m sure the charts will serve me well, if I use them carefully, but I’ll miss the pencil scribbles and coffee-cup stains that mark past voyages on all the old paper charts in my basement.
Ben Ellison is CW’s electronics editor.