Topic: Chart catalogs online
posted November 21, 2004 06:19 PM
We will leave the notes below online as a history of our looking around, but so far the best online chart catalog we have found is from marineplanner.com. You can use it to find a chart of interest and to view that chart. Using our region as a test case (since we do have practice problems that require use of a chart catalog):
(1) go to http://map.marineplanner.com
(2) select nautical charts and then west coast
(3) click on Strait of Juan de Fuca, just northwest of Seattle
(4) then click the "harbor" button for that level of zoom and you can see the correct chart numbers for the full region
(5) then click the view chart button below. The scale is shown beside the chart name.
Another approach is use the light list number if looking for a buoy or light (remember all the light lists are online now). Try 16470 which is the Point Wilson Lighted Buoy 6, at 48° 09' 11" N
122° 45' 38" W, Fl R 4s, just offshore from the bright Point Wilson Lighthouse.
It will then tell you the chart it is on and then if you click the highest zoom in called "harbor" it will have the cursor sitting right on the buoy, and then if you "view" chart you will see the buoy you asked about. Most excellent!
The presentation is very convenient and easy to use. Best we have seen so far, by far.... though we still strongly recommend that you get a paper copy of the chart catalog of the region you will be sailing in. They are free from any chart dealer, though you may have to pay for shipping if requesting one.
Note that this marine planner website has several interesting features as well as the chart catalogs.
===== Notes from earlier work on this topic===
At one point in life, there were very nice chart catalogs online from noaa chartmaker link. From these you could very easily and quickly and easily learn what charts were available for any region and all the details about them, size, scale, latest edition, depth units, etc. And on top of that, for almost a year or so, they would also show a low-res gif image of the chart.
This was quite wonderful for learning about charts and even in some cases learning what you needed about a specific waterway. But these are no longer available, and the online digital catalogs are not at all so easy to use, nor so informatative.
We are starting our hunt to find a good source for mariners... i recall seeing one from some private company that was quite good. for now, here is what we have found to date on the "official nautical chart site," or at least from the company that prints the print on demand charts. I am sure there are other sources.
(1) go to http://www.oceangrafix.com/
(2) select Locate charts
(3) then select either a "map" link or a "prt city" link that is closest to the region you
(4) then highlight "recenter" on the list of choices and click the map to move to where you want to look
(5) then high light zoon in x2 and recenter till you can see the region more specifically... you can do this multiple times till you just see the few charts that cover your region of interest.
(6) then change the button right above the map to get chart info and click the chart... it should bring up all the info about the charts in view, but it only brings up name, number and latest edition. We have written to them to ask that they include chart scale and depth units.
you can see and slowly scan across all nautical charts from the maptech online server at this link
and with patience you can indeed zoom or pan across any nautical chart to see what is on it. But the system is not at all set up well for selecting charts... only for looking at specific ones, which you can also compare to topo maps and to arial photos.
A faster way to look over charts is presented at
(1) http://www.captainsnautical.com using a Flash presentation.
(2)Select Charts and Plotting tools on the left,
(3)then Paper charts,
(4) then select the Region No (ie 2 for the west coast) under Noaa Paper and POD (print on demand)
(5)then a subset of the region and it lists the charts
(6) then click the View tab on the far left for a nice Flash presentation that you can zoom, pan, left click and drag. The resolution is poor, but you can get an overview of the chart. No lat-lon read out or other chart details.... but it may help you find what part of the chart you want to view in detail from the maptech server.
From: Starpath, Seattle, WA