What to look out for in a chartplotter, what they do and how to make sure you get the most out of yours

What do they do?
Chartplotters give a visual chart display, and when linked to a GPS

will show your position. They can also be used to create waypoints (lat

and long positions), and can be part of an integrated system that will

show other data such as radar, fishfinders, instruments, AIS (Automatic Identification System) and Navtex (weather warnings).


What to look out for
a60Various screen sizes are available nowadays so choose the right size to fit your vessel. Raymarine’s range starts with a 5.7” standalone chartplotter perfect for RIBS, three different sizes available in both multifunction displays and then right up the scale to a premier multifunction network system with 19”monitors, a separate hard drive with embedded cartography, wireless keyboard and a whole array of system options.


In past times mono screens used to be easier to read in direct

sunlight, but more recently the technology behind colour screens has g seriesimproved

in leaps and bounds and they now provide incredible clarity and

accuracy with direct sunlight visibility, night modes, backlighting and

reduced reflections.

Look for a display that can be

customised to your own style of boating. Can you set waypoints and

store your favourite routes, is it easy to use, can you rotate the

chart for head/north up/course up views, can you overlay your radar if

required?

Take a quick look at this demo of the E Series multifunction display.

It will give you an idea of what a chartplotter can provide plus the

extra functions you can gain from buying a multifunction display.

 

Charts:
rastor/vectorThese

come in two formats, raster and vector. Raster charts are electronic

copies of a paper chart but vector charts are made up of layers which

can be turned on and off to make things clearer. If you are not sailing

at night, for example, you can switch off all the light symbols for

clarity. Plus, if you are using the chart plotter combined with a radar

overlay, it is often clearer if the main chart is under the radar image

and then there is another layer on top of that, showing just a black

coast outline with the navigation marks.

 

Integration and Multifunction:
split screenYou

will have heard these words a lot recently with reference to marine

electronics. This is the way forward for navigation – being able to

integrate all your onboard electronics whilst also being able to view

all the information you need, including your chartplotter, on a single

display. For larger boats you can choose a networkable display and

position one at the helm plus one at your chart table.

Having

the ability to individualise your display is crucial to get the most

from your equipment. All of Raymarine’s screens can be split to show

your chartplotter and radar side by side with many extra customisations

available to view; engine data, fishfinder, video and instrument data.

There are easy one button options to change instantly should you want

to quickly enlarge your screen to show just one function.

If you want the inside scoop on hints and quick fixes for Raymarine’s C & E Series displays then download the Podcasts.

3d screenGraphics:

More information is being added to electronic charts all the time –

many now have satellite images that can be overlaid on the chart,

aerial photographs, 3D displays of land contours that can be viewed

from different angles and also 3D views of the sea bed. This

information can be crucial when navigating into ports. Raymarine use

Navionics Gold and Platinum charts in its displays. Platinum not only

supplies all the features mentioned above but you can also pinpoint

local facilities; restaurants, taxi’s or other local amenities.

Obviously

the basic charts don’t have all these bells and whistle’ but extra

features are being added all the time. Do remember to check the areas

covered by each chart cartridge – some may cover your cruising area

more economically than others.

Finally, when you come to make

your purchasing decision look out for ‘bundle’ offers’ where you can

buy your chartplotter in a package to include a GPS and radar as these

are often better value for money.

Click here to locate your local Raymarine dealer who can give you technical advice, prices and product information.

 

Helpful Hint:

raytech plannerSAVE TIME ON THE WATER – DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY OF THE RAYMARINE RAYTECH PLANNER

AND PLOT YOUR CHARTPLOTTER’S WAYPOINTS FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME

THEN SIMPLY TRANSFER TO YOUR ONBOARD ELECTRONICS USING A COMPACT FLASH

CARD.