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#1
Horizonav

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Here is what I am trying to do initially.

I am hoping to find if it is possible to create a nautical chart with Lat/Long borders. In my work at sea we often have a need for small paper charts for certain areas that are handed out to crew and support teams. These would be charts of open ocean areas maybe 150 square miles or so. Once and awhile there may be coastlines in the view as well.

I would like to make these charts to have the same look as published government charts such as British Admiralty or NOAA. They would need the sounding information, a compass rose, colors, navigational aids and notations if applicable. Also it would be very important to have precise Lat/Long borders exactly like Admiralty charts, for example.

In other words I am trying to find a capability to chose any random area of ocean and creat a very professional navigation chart complete with all the detail one finds on regular charts. Then I would need to print them out on a paper size of say 18"X24" or 11"X17" or similar size.

A problem I have with the Lat/Long borders is the change in the Latitude scale on the Mercator projection. On these projections the latitude scale changes as the latitude itself changes, of course. In years past I would actually cut and paste Lat/Long borders and glue them onto an area of a chart and hand draw all the required deatils! God! Then I would take the originals down to my local reprographics place and print reproductions.

Hopefully there is a computer program that I can use to create these charts. Raster charts can be scanned? Vector data is available I assume? Thank you in advance for any suggestions!
Cheers,
Capt. Rob Wallace

#2
frax

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Capt, I think the big problem for you would be to get the data (the soundings etc). The other things is just some technical tweaking - depending on the software of your choice. Now I haven't seen the nautical charts you mention, but I assume it is reasonably straight forward.

The lat-long border, with scale adopted to the latitude (and changes in latitude in the view) shouldn't be a big problem.

One thing that you might want - would that be a compass rose with details on the difference between the geographical north and magnetic north?
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#3
Horizonav

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Capt, I think the big problem for you would be to get the data (the soundings etc). The other things is just some technical tweaking - depending on the software of your choice. Now I haven't seen the nautical charts you mention, but I assume it is reasonably straight forward.

The lat-long border, with scale adopted to the latitude (and changes in latitude in the view) shouldn't be a big problem.

One thing that you might want - would that be a compass rose with details on the difference between the geographical north and magnetic north?


Yes, a compass rose on a nautical chart has an outer True North ring and an inner, Magnetic ring with an arrow pointing to the Magnestic pole. That brings up another point actually, the difference between True and Magnetic changes relative to one's position, of course. That means I would need a different rose on each new chart. Maybe I could settle for just a True ring and just note what the Variation is at that location (E or W).
Thanks!

#4
woneil

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I’m sure you’re well aware of the legal questions involved in use of any home-made chart for actual navigation. That aside, there are several ways to approach this.

I take it that you do not use an electronic chart system? I’ve never been to sea with one, but my impression is that such a system should make what you want fairly straightforward. I believe that PC-based systems such as Fugawi Marine ENC should permit you to download and use standard electronic charts. The price is not too steep and I'm pretty sure I'd invest in one in a hurry if I were to return to sea. It may be that some of the GIS or mapping programs could also deal with standard electronic charts.

Absent that, you can either work from scans of official charts or create pseudo-charts from other databases.

In the United States, the Coast Survey makes all its charts available for viewing on line at
http://www.nauticalc...LineViewer.html
They caution explicitly against relying on screen captures of these charts for navigational purposes, but they may serve your needs.

I’ve made specialized nautical charts from publicly available scans of older charts. The Coast Survey has a large collection of charts, some as recent as 2001, which may be accessed via
http://historicalcha...orical_zoom.asp
It is possible that some of these may serve your purposes, given that bathymetry is rarely updated a great deal.

You should be able to get paper charts scanned at a reprographics service shop. You would get better results, I expect, working from print-on-demand charts. It’s also possible to scan them in sections on a smaller scanner and paste them together using Photoshop or applications such as Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe.

Regardless of how you get the scan, I would input it to Photoshop or other powerful image processing program and edit in much the same ways as one would with scissors and paste working on a paper chart.

Unfortunately, I know of no way to get access to the official chart databases for the purposes of constructing one’s own charts. But there is a high quality worldwide bathymetric database known as SRTM30 PLUS that is published (free) by Scripps. See
http://topex.ucsd.ed...rtm30_plus.html
This is the best such data set that I’m aware of.

SRTM30 PLUS is a gridded data set at 30 arc-sec intervals. I generally use Manifold to project it and form contour lines. The contour maps thus produced agree fairly well with published charts for very challenging cases like the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Malacca. I shouldn’t want to use them for navigation in waters like those because the grid is too coarse to pick up isolated rocks and small shoals, but for deep sea work they might be quite satisfactory.

I’m attaching a reduced-size image of a chart of Indonesian waters I made recently using SRTM30 PLUS. I could send you a larger file if you want print it out for comparison with published charts, to get an idea of how satisfactory these data are for your purposes. This is pretty nearly the ultimate in challenging areas to chart, I should think.

For a compass rose, I would scan one from a printed chart (or take one from one of the Coast Survey historical charts). I would then isolate the magenta rose itself from underlying soundings, etc., in Photoshop – fairly easy and straightforward using color selection. The center deviation arrow can be “cut out” from the image and put in a separate layer. You can then use Photoshop’s Transform commands to rotate the arrow to whatever direction is appropriate and add suitable text before pasting the whole thing as a layer in your chart.

Manifold will allow you to print out lat-long legends that are correct for the projection. You’ll need to transfer its output to Photoshop or Illustrator (or comparable software) for final editing and correction for the nautical chart look.

I speak here of Manifold because it’s what I use (chiefly because it’s not too expensive) but almost any good mapping or GIS application should do as well. The Manifold Web site is
http://www.manifold.net/

Ventis secundis,
Will O’Neil
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#5
Horizonav

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Hello Capt,
Thank you very much for all your great ideas! Looks like I need to buy Photoshop and maybe Manifold to get what I want. Your map of the Indonesian areas is very nice work indeed. I would accept your offer of a full sized map if you could. Thanks!

Yes, I have been using electronic charting for navigation for many years now. I usually prefer the Nobeltec software as it is designed with common sense and is therefore very user friendly and therefore offers safer navigation. I have used Fugawi and Transas but find them sluggish. As a matter of fact I don't use paper charts much anymore, amazingly enough, but always have them on the chart table to plot hourly positions only.

With Nobeltec I can select a general area and print it with a Lat/Long border, or collar as they put it. However there are limitations such as the default zoom levels. Same with NOAA's chart viewer. It would be great if there was a box to simply select the exact Lat/Long parameters I desire and it would give me a chart of that area only. I will have to go and re-look at Transas and Fugawi's printing features but I doubt they do what I need either. Nobeltec's Lat/Long "collar" is created when I request it but the markings are not easily used.

I suppose I can still just scan portions of paper charts and cut and paste in Photoshop or maybe I can get the RNC ot ENC data from NOAA and use that? The compass rose issue with the change in Variation can be delt with later. I am still just hoping to ceate a chart with any Lat/Long parameter I desire and put a Lat/Long border around it. Once I have that I would be happy. Adding text, notatons or compass roses later wouldn't bother me.

Thanks again for your interesing suggestions!
Capt. Rob

#6
cloveman

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Hi,

ESRI’s ArcMap has extensions called PLTS (Production Line Toolset) one of which is a Nautical Solution. It is designed to create electronic and paper charts. It might be overkill for what you are looking to do as it’s used by government agencies to make their official charts. However, it does have tools to make compass roses and rotate them to magnetic north and tools for creating detailed grids and borders.

Clint
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#7
woneil

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ESRI’s ArcMap has extensions called PLTS (Production Line Toolset) one of which is a Nautical Solution. It is designed to create electronic and paper charts. It might be overkill for what you are looking to do as it’s used by government agencies to make their official charts.


Interesting to know. I had wondered about that.

I used to have dealings with the then-Defense Mapping Agency in the 1980s when they used homebrew software for mapping. It was a real headache for them. I imagine it makes a great deal better sense to buy it from a specialist who can spread the development and maintenance over many users and can employ experts to do it.
Will O'Neil
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http://analysis.williamdoneil.com/w.d.oneil@pobox.com

#8
kay

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Hi. It may be a bit late posting... but I thought I should drop a quick line...

MAPublisher 8.0 supports s-57 file import to Adobe Illustrator now. Also.. MAPublisher comes with an Adobe Illustrator template file with s-57 symbols, specifically produced for those s-57 users.

If you have s-57 datasets, it may be something you might want to try it out...

Cheers,
K

#9
VeroLJ

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Ahoy,

Sorry for the late reply, my friend and colleague Kimi at Avenza just pointed out to me this thread. I've been neglecting cartotalk for a long time. Shame on me.

Yes, with MAPublisher 8.0, you can import unencrypted nautical charts (ENC) in S-57 format. It comes with a template that apply most of the symbology automatically. If you are familiar with the S-57 object classes, you can also manually apply the symbols.
The symbol library is inspired by the INT 1 format (official international hydrographic office symbols for paper charts they have a good description of this on the NOAA website). This symbology is intended to assist users with limited knowledge of the S-57 format to interpret the data contents more easily. It is quite complete but some symbols are missing and we cannot say they are compliant with the international Internal Hydrographic format. But they look good!
You can try a 14 days full operational demo version on the website www.avenza.com.
Unfortunately, the borders are not included in the S-57 format, so you still have to create them. In MAPublisher, there is no automatic way to create the official nautical charts border. The official format, called INT2, is rather complicated. You could do manually with a little bit of work.

You can find all the details on the official border on the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) Website: http://www.iho.shom....es/INT2_Ed4.pdf


If you are looking for creating a map exactly like the British Admiralty charts, then the software the most specialized in nautical mapping is CARIS GIS. It is used by a lot of hydrographic office to publish the official nautical paper charts. You get all the tools to use nautical symbols (full library), compass roses (with all options) and all the INT2 borders and it will do it "properly" (the software is approved by the IHO). Once you have you're chart ready, you just need to select the INT2 border style you want and it creates it for you, based on the Mercator projection parameters of your file. If you are not a specialist hydrographer there is a learning curve, but it's not that terrible (www.caris.com).
I haven't tried the ArcGIS PLTS extension, but is also supposed to have the same tools to create proper nautical paper chart. I believe NOAA is starting to use it for their own production. It might be easier to grasp if you know ArcGIS already.

If you're planning on making charts of the USA, you are lucky because NOAA distributes for free and unencrypted files on there website: http://www.nauticalc...d/enc/index.htm. You can also get some data from USACE. They also have some in Shapefile format.

NOTE: if you use S-57 data with any of those software, be aware that it always come in WGS84 geographic coordinate system. You'll have to transform to the local Mercator projection (usually with the central meridian being roughly the center of your chart and the latitude of origin & true scale also in the center).


Other options:
You can also use a free NOAA ArcGIS extension to read S-57 files. You can find it on http://www.csc.noaa....c/arcgis9x.html - it will help with the symbols, but not with the borders.

As one the person was saying, you might be able to use some ENC/RNC navigation software (Nobeltec, Furuno), but they might not provide a good output to create border and usually the symbolization is not compliant with the traditional paper charts.


Good luck!
Vero
Véronique Lutes-Jégat
Avenza Systems Inc.
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#10
Horizonav

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Vero,
Thank you very much for your detailed and very useful information. I am sorry for the lateness of my reply but being a ship Captain I have been away for a couple of months but I am now back and have some time to persue my nautical chart making interests. I will investigate your suggestions and let you knowwhat I find.
Thanks!
Capt. Wallace

#11
VeroLJ

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Vero,
Thank you very much for your detailed and very useful information. I am sorry for the lateness of my reply but being a ship Captain I have been away for a couple of months but I am now back and have some time to persue my nautical chart making interests. I will investigate your suggestions and let you knowwhat I find.
Thanks!
Capt. Wallace

Great!
I did my share of time at sea - each time you go on a crew, it's like entering in a time hole with the rest of the world!

I'll keep an eye on the thread here if you have more questions!
I'm have a IHO category A certification for nautical charting and hydrographic surveying, so I know the topic pretty well. And I'm always happy to talk about it!

Good luck with the project!
Véronique Lutes-Jégat
Avenza Systems Inc.
Applications Specialist

#12
Horizonav

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Well, I've been gone at sea overseas since my last post and I am now once again home (I think) to try and make my charts. Thanks for the last info but by now maybe there are updates? I am still trying to make my own custom nautical charts with the Mercator Lat/Long borders.
I'm ready to Carto Talk! Thanks!
Capt. Wallace

#13
P.Raposo

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Well, I've been gone at sea overseas since my last post and I am now once again home (I think) to try and make my charts. Thanks for the last info but by now maybe there are updates? I am still trying to make my own custom nautical charts with the Mercator Lat/Long borders.
I'm ready to Carto Talk! Thanks!
Capt. Wallace


Hi Capt Horizonav,
Sea charts are neat subject matter, especially from a fellow who really uses them :).
I'm not entirely sure I understand the nature of your problem with Mercator lat/long borders, and I also don't know how much GIS software experience you may have. Just wanted to suggest that most competent GIS packages can handle lots of projections and coordinate systems (Mercator or any other you might use for a nautical chart), and can also produce graticules or cross hairs and map borders with notches and labels for coordinates, lat/long, eastings and northings, or whatever units the coordinate system is. So, that's just to suggest that you're probably not restricted only to ArcMap or Mainfold or GRASS any other particular package - there are probably several usable options. Getting standard symbol sets would be more specialized, but some of the earlier respondents seem to have suggested places to find that, and you're probably aware of what to look for. I usually use Esri's software, and I know various specialized symbol libraries are available for ArcMap; you could always ask Esri themselves about how to get these.
Cheers, and wishing you smooth sailing,
P




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