Get Onboard with E-Charting – The Complete Reference Guide to Electronic Charting and PC-Based Marine Navigation
By Mark and Diana Doyle
Semi-Local Publications, 2008
Includes CD of trial software
Take a seat at just about any nav station and it’s clear that laptop computers have become as commonplace as dividers and parallel rulers. Not only do they send and deliver our E-mail, Skype our phone calls and entertain us, they also serve as powerful multifunction navigation tools, most capable of integrating other shipboard instruments.
In Get on Board With E-Charting, authors Mark and Diana Doyle have created a guide to this brave new world of navigation. The book explains why computer E-charting is an important technology that we can all embrace with systems tailored to meet our individual needs and budgets. The Doyle’s begin by explaining the concept of using a personal computer for navigation and explore the history of global position finding. From there, they deal with the nuts and bolts of hardware and software and how they work. There is a detailed discussion about the various types of electronic chart formats that are available and their strengths and weaknesses. It follows with a comparison of 14 popular e-charting software packages. The final section, “Features At a Glance,” takes an honest and more in-depth look at each of these products and their applicability in various situations. The book ends with appendices that include a nautical reference library, useful Web links and a glossary of more than 460 navigation, electronic charting and computer terms used in the main chapters.
Is this a reference book that will become obsolete with passage of time? Of course, but it is only as dated as the hardware and software currently occupying the nav table.
That said, for anyone considering an E-charting system, hold off on the hardware/software purchases until you have the Doyle’s book in your hands. Reading it may very well save you from some costly mistakes.