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Charts FAQ

How can I obtain charts that ShipPlotter can use to display ship positions?


ShipPlotter can use charts from many sources:

  1. Globe chart. ShipPlotter comes with one simple starting chart that covers the whole globe. It is not intended to be the only solution to the task. It is simply a starting point.
  2. Satellite charts. ShipPlotter has a satellite chart button. Provided that you are online, when you click on this button, ShipPlotter will download a satellite image corresponding to the area that is currently on display. When you are displaying a chart, you can drag and zoom the displayed area. You might start with the globe charts and zoom and drag until is shows your area of interest. You can then click on the satellite button and obtain a satellite image of that area. You can repeat this process, zooming and dragging the satellite image and clicking the satellite button again to get an updated image. If you are in high latitudes, you may want to check the orthomorphic option in the satellite chart setup dialog to make the chart a more realistic shape than the vertically compressed version that the globe chart gives of high latitudes.
  3. You can press the G-M button (3rd button in the toolbar) to download Google Map style charts.
  4. Hal's chart generator. You can make a basic chart of any area by visiting http://www.sailwx.info/maps/shipplotter.phtml and specifying the geographical coordinates and image size. You need to follow the instructions to save the charts and the calibration to the directory where ShipPlotter looks for charts.
  5. Free BSB (KAP) charts. If you are in North America, you can download charts in BSB format (that ShipPlotter can read directly) from  http://www.charts.noaa.gov.  The charts you want are Raster Navigational ChartsĀ® (NOAA RNCs).  Save the chart folder(s) in the chart files directory for ShipPlotter.  Each folder contains a .BSB file and one or more .KAP files.  Some charts are very large and may cause problems on machines with limit memory resources.  You can shrink the BSB charts using a utility ShrinkBSB which you will find in the ShipPlotter user group files area. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shipplotter/files).
  6. Other electronic charts. ShipPlotter can read BSB (KAP) files provided that they are not encrypted. 
  7. Paper charts. If you have a scanner, you can scan all or parts of a paper chart and save them as a BMP or JPG file into the chart files directory for ShipPlotter. When you open the chart in ShipPlotter, it will invite you to calibrate the chart following the instructions in the help file. The instructions are lengthy but not difficult provided that you are comfortable handling latitude and longitude on a chart.
  8. Other chart display methods. You can configure ShipPlotter to display ship positions on a Google Earth display, a Memory-Map chart or in MultiMap. Consult the help file for more details.



How do I use charts I download?


Simply copy the <chart>.jpg and <chart>.clb to your Ship Plotter charts directory.  This will often be in the directory:


  C:\Tools\COAA\ShipPlotter\chart files\

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