About Electronic Charting

Background. The world of electronic charting has seen a severe transformation in the recent past. First, NOAA released vector charts of U.S. waters free of charge to the public. These are called Electronic Navigation Charts (ENCs). Now they have done the same thing with Raster Navigation Charts (RNCs). These actions have changed the revenue and profit picture for many companies who produced such charts on their own, or who produced charting software that ran their proprietary charts.

What kind of charts to use? It used to be that people made a selection of a particular charting program based upon the attributes of that program such as ease of operation, seamless handling of charts, and many other bells and whistles. They then bought the charts to go with the program. Now many people are firstselecting the Government’s free charts, and then selecting a program to run them.

Which Electronic Charting Program to use? We carry two programs: Fugawi for PCs and Mac ENC (for Macs of course). But we recommend starting with the On the Water Chart Guides DVDs, and/or the book from the same Company, “Get Onboard With ECharting”. Both come with a DVD of free trial software of all the major charting programs.

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