On-demand paper charts

How long has it been since you referred to a paper chart for serious navigation? If you are like most sailors today, it’s probably been awhile. Technology has made it convenient and affordable for just about anyone to equip their boat with a GPS-interfaced chartplotter and the software to take them almost anywhere they want to go.
But there is a dark side to this technology. A recent white paper prepared for Minnesota-based OceanGrafix, an on-demand printer of NOAA charts, points out some of the dangers of relying exclusively on electronic charts for navigation. The white paper challenges us to consider the downsides of navigation technology. System failure, computer reboot problems, corrupted software are all problems that may be encountered when you least expect them — and computers do fail, usually at the worst possible time. Also consider the accuracy and timeliness of chart software updates, and not to mention the difficulties of transferring charting data from one computer to another, licensing restrictions, daylight readability, etc.

As navigation technology advances it will continue to play a bigger and bigger role for all mariners, but any prudent mariner recognizes the importance of paper charts as a back up to their electronic system. They are cheap insurance and will be a welcome sight in the event that second laptop fails.
For more information and a copy of this white paper visit www.ocean

By Ocean Navigator