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  • Computer program for picking charts

    Does anyone know if there is a program available that tells you what charts you are going to need for a voyage and in exact order. So if you type in London as departure port and new york as arrival all the details about charts needed if given and saves time having to work out what ones you need.

  • #2
    You could try the Admiralty Digital Catalogue, its free to download, very simple though, but easy to use. Plot a rough route and select route to basket and it will list all the charts, you can then go through the list and decide what you actually want/need.

    http://www.ukho.gov.uk/ProductsandSe...ages/Home.aspx
    If you can't laugh, you shouldn't have joined!!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by pignutpilot View Post
      Does anyone know if there is a program available that tells you what charts you are going to need for a voyage and in exact order. So if you type in London as departure port and new york as arrival all the details about charts needed if given and saves time having to work out what ones you need.
      The admiralty digital catalogue can sort of do it.

      Will tell you the charts you need but not sure it can get them in order.

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      • #4
        Another useful utility on the UKHO website is the Notice to Mariners web search. You can type in all the charts for your voyage, then select it to search just T&Ps and it gives you a nice printout for your passage plan folder of all the relevant ones so that can easily scan them during your bridge team voyage briefing before departure.

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        • #5
          Bridge team voyage briefing? Well that's a new concept.... discuss the major critical points with my back to back the Chief Mate and have everything written down as well... but is it normal to have a meeting about a passage plan? I discuss the major points of the plan but not in any sort of formal setting.

          The UKHO web search function is fantastic though for finding T&Ps... one of my biggest bugbears with Ecdis is that most cells produced by Hydrographic Offices outside the UK do not name them as per their 'admiralty' number or local equivalent chart number and not all hydrographic offices produce T&Ps... so it's actually a lot of work to first of all find out if the data cells for the ENCs you're using actually contain updates for T&Ps and then trying to match T&Ps... same for navwarnings which give you chart numbers- now you have to plug in lat and longs.

          Despite being full ECDIS, I still insist on ordering NP131... not everywhere in the world is covered by ENCs- Africa is terrible as is Malacca. Unfortunately many of my colleagues seem to assume that everything is automatically covered and do not bother to check if ENCs exist or not. They also threw out chart 5500- a little bit stupid as there doesn't seem to be an electronic equivalent as far as I know. I ordered a new one... but jeesus.

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          • #6
            forgive my ignorance, but what are T&P's?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by HarmlessWeasel View Post
              forgive my ignorance, but what are T&P's?
              Temporary and preliminary notices to mariners.

              T's tend to be things like buoys off station or works in progress.

              P's are usually more permanent changes where a new edition of the chart will be published when it is complete.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by HarmlessWeasel View Post
                forgive my ignorance, but what are T&P's?
                Temporary and preliminary notices. These are early chart corrections before they are finalised for adding to charts, they are usually large changes so you get them in advance and plot them in pencil awaiting the permanent correction.
                If you can't laugh, you shouldn't have joined!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by laura View Post
                  Bridge team voyage briefing? Well that's a new concept.... discuss the major critical points with my back to back the Chief Mate and have everything written down as well... but is it normal to have a meeting about a passage plan? I discuss the major points of the plan but not in any sort of formal setting.

                  The UKHO web search function is fantastic though for finding T&Ps... one of my biggest bugbears with Ecdis is that most cells produced by Hydrographic Offices outside the UK do not name them as per their 'admiralty' number or local equivalent chart number and not all hydrographic offices produce T&Ps... so it's actually a lot of work to first of all find out if the data cells for the ENCs you're using actually contain updates for T&Ps and then trying to match T&Ps... same for navwarnings which give you chart numbers- now you have to plug in lat and longs.

                  Despite being full ECDIS, I still insist on ordering NP131... not everywhere in the world is covered by ENCs- Africa is terrible as is Malacca. Unfortunately many of my colleagues seem to assume that everything is automatically covered and do not bother to check if ENCs exist or not. They also threw out chart 5500- a little bit stupid as there doesn't seem to be an electronic equivalent as far as I know. I ordered a new one... but jeesus.

                  Firstly, its nice to hear there are deck officers out there who still take passage planning/chart corrections seriously. A little pet hate of mine which seems to upset them terrible when I tell them they are rubbish!!

                  As for voyage briefings, the passage plan is required to be discussed and approved by the Master prior to departure. We have to have a full discussion with all Bridge Officers prior to departure and they sign the passage plan. This can be done in 2 stages based on time and length of passage, firstly the immediate departure section, and secondly the full passage. I imagine it depends on the ships you are on and the company you work for.

                  With your ECDIs do you not get the Admiralty Information Overlay to display your T&P's?
                  If you can't laugh, you shouldn't have joined!!

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                  • #10
                    I am super pedantic regarding charts and chart corrections and it doesn't always make me popular with my back to back or the thirds, but I'm not lowering my standards to suit theirs, I've seen people who don't put their T&Ps into charts make major screw ups when entering a narrow channel full of cardinal buoys for building work (my back to back), that would never happen with me because I am so pedantic, I tell about the captain about these things before we arrive and we don't have any nasty surprises.

                    If I'm honest I would much rather plan all my passages using paper charts even if I put them into an ecdis afterwards but it's just not an option in my company and we don't even carry coastal back ups- they won't spend the money when we have ecdis. I think having full updates and proper passage planning is so important but unfortuantely not all my foreign colleagues share my views. The standard of passage planning with ecdis has reached a new low in my opinion with complete over- reliance in the system and little back up information (radar ranges/ clearing ranges and so forth now substituted with GPS) but what can you do as a junior officer who is the only british mate with no-one else sharing these views.

                    My passage plan is of course checked and signed/approved by the Master- but any discussions are laid back, I highlight the important parts to the watch officers but there is not a formal briefing as such. I've taken over the passage planning on my current ship, as i just cannot sleep safely with the utter nonsense that the Filippino third mates were coming up.

                    Yes we use navtor which uses Admiralty charts and therefore includes T&Ps for the hydrographic areas that have these, however not all data cell producers include T&Ps in ENCs so you literally have to check who is producing the ENC and then cross check the code across the primar website to see if they produce T&Ps and if not apply them manually- but there is a lot of work to do this properly and no real information on this.

                    I did a lot of research into how T&Ps were applied when I moved to a ship with full ecdis but there is no standard across chart producers, it really is open to interpretation (at least with admiralty paper charts there is a standard), so that they decide which T&Ps are applied and how they 'look' on the Ecdis- most look like normal chart features, or you have to interrogate the chart to find them, in some ways this is good but as most navigators will know- not all T&P notices are consistent so when they appear as normal chart symbols but they're not there this can cause some confusion....

                    Admiralty have produced a NP publication on the use of ENCs which is a great reference but points out so many of its many downfalls and discrepancies, some of which really make you think... and this is how we're to navigate?!

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, I'm getting frustrated with ECDIS as well, I have sailed with a few different types and they vary greatly. I rue the day when we get rid of paper charts, if only the ECDIS screen could be 50" and lay flat on the chart table?? We are trialling ECDIS only on a few ships in readiness for the change-over with mixed results, although I believe we will keep a limited paper folio once we have to change over. I'm going to have to do 8 hours online ECDIS type specific training soon as well. I suppose better than another week on a course!

                      Checking on the Admiralty website it appears that T&Ps should cover all ENCs that the Admiralty issue, even if they are not from Admiralty data, unless you are getting additional ENCs that aren't via the Admiralty. I have enough issues trying to get the 2/O to plan the passage properly on the ECDIS for experience, not sure how they will cope with making sure corrections are right and up to date, especially as the ECIDS doesn't have a neat line at the bottom with a list of correction numbers!!

                      How interested is your Captain? He might be able to be persuaded to push the other officers to make an effort!!
                      If you can't laugh, you shouldn't have joined!!

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                      • #12
                        My company recently went completely paperless with full ECDIS and all officers had to do a 5 day course.

                        I think it has good sides and bad sides but like Silvertop says ... a massive 'chart tablet' would be cool.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah until somebody drops something on it and shatters the screen...

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                          • #14
                            Totally agree- a flat 'touch screen' that allows you to plot in a traditional manner would be the ideal- the size of screen combined with a clumsy old fashioned mouse and various computer alternatives in place of the tools you really want (i.e PIs for example, there has been updates but they really are rubbish)really is frustrating, partcularly with the amount of zooming in/ put required at the passage planning stage. I put it to the company that the tv in my cabin was actually bigger than the chart machine I use to plan our routes but they more or less weren't interested at all, humming and hawing at something they 'would look at in the future', i.e 'very nice, we don't really care'.

                            Unfortunately when it comes to ecdis, no-one onboard seems particularly interested, the chief mate is fairly competent in it's use but joining the vessel fairly recently I really was appalled by the lack of knowledge of its use and limitations, despite coming from a vessel still using paper charts officially I found I had a much better knowledge of both and in my experience the filippino thirds know the minimum they have to and aren't really interested anyway. If I asked one of the mates to make a permanent plot or put in a PI I can guarantee that they couldn't do it without finding the manual.

                            My previous Captain shared the opinion that we when we became full ecdis we would hold a folio of paper charts at least for coastal as back up. I discussed this with my new Captain and despite him being very traditional in terms of seamanship (god rue the day you don't sound fog signals in fog or even attempt to discuss colregs on the VHF) he has reached an age when he has more or less decided that ecdis isn't for him (retiring soonish) and can use it to do only the most basic functions, relying on us deck officers to do the rest- and
                            I could be wrong but I think in this case it could be his lack of knowledge that contributes to his 'well I don't see a problem with it' attitude. He is of the opinion that ecdis is the future and we have to like it or lump it, he does not want paper charts onboard and they cost money.I find planning with ecdis terrible and do not fully trust it in the same way I trust my passage plans on paper charts. I think it has been forced through and approved way too early but any complaints from the users are because 'we are too old fashioned to accept new technology'- not at all, just prudent!

                            Unfortunately onboard an offshore boat, I feel very much that the navigation side takes second precedent to the operations side, which is of course where the money comes. However it is very frustrating for someone who came to sea because of a love of navigation and wants things done properly, commercial pressure and charterers who seem to think we can just make up a route last minute don't help matters either. I think the offshore industry get away with a lot more than they should because of technology. It doesn't help when charterers try to 'suggest routes' to save fuel either, an insult to proper passage planning, trying to push you to take navigational risks to save an hour or two.

                            Having fired off a few questions to our previous chart provider and the new one, I was under the impression that the inclusion of t&ps was dependent on the cell producer from the individual hydrographic office i.e NO would be Norway/ ZA South Africa and so on rather than Admiralty who feed out a finished chart as it were but after your comments I'm going to take it back to the chart producer to clarify this when I get back onboard, they seem to be fast on the software side but a bit vague about the real nitty gritties regarding navigational use! Ah well....

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                            • #15
                              Shame our wishes never come true. Ideally if the Admiralty had written the program it would probably be better than each ECDIS manufacturer writing their own, which means training on each different type of ship you end up on, instead of one training to do all!! It would also incorporate all corrections etc so easily. Sorry, I think I am dreaming again!!

                              Once you get to Captain your 'love of navigation and wants things done properly' will be turned against you as being a bossy...... As I am finding out, but it doesn't get me down, I quite happily embarrass them when they don't know something basic, or do things wrong. I've been told I've got too high standards, which I thought was quite a complement. But if they genuinely don't love their job then getting them to go that extra mile takes a lot of effort, but I keep trying.

                              I've sailed with one Captain several times from when I was second trip cadet to when I handed over to him as Captain last year, and watching his interest dwindle was sad to see, I still respect him, but he is just not interested anymore.

                              Our chart suppliers are always getting things wrong, so chasing them up is something I have to do regular. We shouldn't have to, but until we get really good internet that we can download straight from the Admiralty we have to use a supplier.
                              If you can't laugh, you shouldn't have joined!!

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