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Author Topic: Chart Software  (Read 1431 times)
AlasKen
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Eagle River, AK


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« on: February 27, 2008, 05:24:43 PM »

This is a free option that requires some thought.
 
You can download Maptech's Chart Navigator Viewer here http://www.maptech.com/support/doc.cfm?docid=123&plid=24
You can go to NOAA site and download BSB raster charts here. http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/download.htm 
Export the download ZIP into the folder that ChartViewer is looking for which is set up in the charts tab.  You can then use ChartViewer to explore areas and set up routes or waypoints.  I spent some time and using some reference materials identified good "Hidey Hole" spots to hide from weather if necessary in areas I frequent.  I got fishing spots from friends, forums and looked at contours and found areas that looked like good fishing prospects and set up waypoints for them as well.  You can use icons to distinguish waypoints.  You can then use the export function to export your routes and waypoints to a text file.  Here is where the thinking comes in.  You may need to convert this text file to the format used by your chart plotter.  There are some tools to assist in this but I haven't tried any yet.

You can also use this software to create 8 x 10 chart packets for the boat with your waypoints showing to use as backup.  This will create an overview chart with grids ID'd.  There is then a new page for each grid section that is a larger scale.  The scale is dependent upon the scale of the original raster chart.  The final product is a packet that is approximately the same size and scale as the original.  They look very usable for a backup.

It may not be the most sophisticated option but the price is right.

I have downloaded detail maps of south central coastal areas including Cook Inlet, Kodiak, Resurrection Bay Prince William Sound and the Juneau area. 

On the same NOAA site you can download a PDF of the Coastal Pilot Series (9 for mainland Alaska) and find all the coves, bays and islands mentioned in th ebook on the charts.  It is a good way to get a feel for an area while waiting for the snow to lift.

Feel free to email me if you would like further information.   

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Kenneth Dodson
Crystal Dawn
24' Jumbo
steveoh
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2008, 05:35:08 PM »

Ken, this is a fantastic post! I've got a couple old laptops I was thinking about setting up with gps and chart plotting software. Maybe this is the kick I need.

Steveoh
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AlasKen
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Eagle River, AK


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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2008, 05:49:26 PM »

This could be an easy way to share fishing or camping spots for those so inclined.  I plan on posting reviews of camping and weekend cruising areas that I visit this summer.  I will post GPS coordinates and others can plot them.  Thanks for the feedback.
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Kenneth Dodson
Crystal Dawn
24' Jumbo
AlasKen
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Posts: 862


Eagle River, AK


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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2008, 01:24:04 AM »

This link will take you to utility to convert a file from one GPS format to another.  http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/gpsbabel/. You can take a file that you created with the export feature of Chartview by selecting the "Map Tech Exchange" format as your input and the "Lowrance USR" format for the output, if you want to load them into your Lowrance unit.  Tell it where the export file resides on your computer and convert.  It creates a file you can save back to your computer and load onto a SD card for input to Lowrance. 

Another really cool feature is you can also tell it to run Google Earth and it will load the waypoints into Google Earth and you can then explore your waypoints in 3D.  I spent the last 2 hours exploring Kachemak Bay and Prince William Sound.  It helps put things into perspective.  You can also see some photo's of the area.  I haven't tried to upload to Lowrance yet but it created over a hundred waypoints to Google Earth so I am assuming it will work with Lowrance as well.  If you try it let me know how it worked.  This might be a fun way to show a weekend cruise to virtual friends by attaching waypoints to this forum so they could be loaded to Google Earth.  I will try it when this summer if anyone is interested.
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Kenneth Dodson
Crystal Dawn
24' Jumbo
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