Electronic Chart Updating – Part 1 What Is It? What Is a Chart Update? Updates to navigational charts comprise a wide range of situations. The update may involve something as common as a buoy or light change. It may be the result of a contour change or shoreline shift brought about by weather. It could be something as complicated as changes to channels, commercial shipping lanes or restricted areas. Updates also include new planning and value-added data such as marina facilities and port services. Essentially, an update is necessary whenever there is any change in your boating area that could have a negative impact on navigation. It may be a single change to a chart or it could require replacing the entire chart. Charts that cover areas known to change constantly require a substantial number of chart corrections while charts that cover relatively stable areas may need fewer updates. Here is an example of changes to a Bahamas chart from one year to the next: Considering the variety of situations that call for a chart update, the result is hundreds — if not thousands — of changes that occur from one year to the next. For boating safety, it is imperative that your navigational charts reflect these changes as soon as possible. Much of this information is available to the public for free on line. These three publications provide updated information weekly for mariners using paper charts: the USCG Local Notice to Mariners (LNM), the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s Notice to Mariners (NM) and – for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway – the Canadian Coast Guard’ Notice to Mariners. However, when faced with the daunting task of correcting paper charts or even updating electronic charts with an accurate interpretation of all these changes, most savvy boaters opt to delegate this task to the pros at Jeppesen Marine. How Does an Electronic Chart Get Updated? Jeppesen Marine uses numerous sources of information to compile its electronic chart data. However, each source must meet strict criteria to qualify as a legitimate resource. As a result, there are only a handful of private sources used to fill those gaps where governmental agencies lack the manpower, financing and local experts to provide accurate data. These private sources include the well-respected Coastside Fishing Club in the San Francisco Bay area, the Explorer Chart publishers in the Bahamas and localized coverage such as the Bizer charts for Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Weekly updates, corrections and changes related to the Americas are funneled to Jeppesen Marine’s center in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Quality Control Department reviews the information, tags it on their master charting system and forwards the data to their chart-production and maintenance centers throughout the world. The master libraries then are returned to Cape Cod where they are compared to the original “hard copies” and scrutinized for accuracy. Jeppesen Marine makes the changes available twice a year. These spring and fall updates are timed specifically to help boaters get ready for the beginning of key boating seasons in the north and south. Electronic Chart Updating – Part 2 Is It Really Necessary? Is updating your navigation charts really necessary? After all, charts that cover relatively stable areas may have relatively few changes from year to year. Wondering whether you need to update your charts is akin to a skydiver asking whether he really needs to check his parachute before the jump. Not doing so could be disastrous. Typically, an updated C-Map MAX or NT+ chart title contains hundreds or thousands of changes and corrections from the previous version. For example, the spring 2009 edition of the C-Map MAX Wide chart NA-M022 (U.S. East Coast/Bahamas) incorporates more than 10,000 Notice of Mariner changes and 95 new chart editions. So, yes, it is necessary to update your charts on a regular basis for several reasons. 1. We discussed the most obvious reason in Part 1 of this series — i.e., the annual “comings and goings” of thousands of navigation aids, buoys, markers, lights, etc. 2. Recent events have elevated the importance of boater awareness of marine exclusionary areas formally referred to as security zones. The USCG web site describes it this way: “The purpose of a security zone is to safeguard from destruction, loss or injury from sabotage or other subversive acts, accidents, or other causes of a similar nature (1) vessels, (2) harbors, (3) ports, and (4) waterfront facilities…” The folks at Homeland Security take the issue of security zones pretty seriously. So once these critical areas are established, they are identified through the standard “Notice to Mariners” process and are added to appropriate electronic charts, as are all other NTMs. 3. Boaters need to keep abreast of the changing situation with Marine Protected Areas along the California coast. Jeppesen Marine’s electronic navigational charts include all 42 offshore areas and 12 inland areas listed by Fish & Game as of June 15, 2008, from Humboldt to San Luis Obispo County. The new recently mandated California MPAs will be released soon. Having accurate information on these no-fishing zones is critical to staying within the law. These chart entries not only keep you out of trouble, they allow you to safely “line-dance” the closure boundaries. 4. Updated charts provide some tasty extras like value-added data and expanded coverage. 5. Keeping your navigational charts updated makes you eligible for special safe-boater discounts like SeaTow’s Sea Insure. There are five good reasons why it makes good sense to update your navigational charts on a regular basis. I could list a dozen, but they all boil down to one primary reason: out-of-date charts put you and your crew in danger. Be safe. Update your charts. Electronic Chart Updating – Part 3 Is There an Easy Way? We’ve established that keeping your navigational charts up to date is essential for boater safety. But with thousands of changes and updates every year, this task can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Jeppesen Marine offers a simple way to keep abreast of all the changes and save some serious coin in the process. Club Jeppesen Marine is the official association for C-Map MAX, NT+ and NT chart-card owners. The club’s mission is two-fold: ensure your boating safety with the most up-to-date electronic charts possible and provide you with a wealth of exclusive money-saving programs. Boaters who use Jeppesen Marine’s C-Map electronic charts have discovered that it is the most convenient, cost-effective, one-stop solution for chart updates, upgrades and rental plans. The Club Jeppesen Marine membership has a lot of benefits for just $89 a year: One FREE update of any size card or PC license that you own automatically shipped to you Special Club Jeppesen Marine prices on additional card updates Trade programs to exchange any class card (a) for entirely new areas or (b) for wider coverage of areas that they frequent Card rentals on a short-term basis Discounts on other products (for example, PC-Planner) Free one-year subscription to Boating Magazine Benefits from Club Jeppesen MarineTM partners: MarinaLife, Sea Tow, Hertz, Boat U.S., etc. Mariner’s Center discounts on cruising and waterway guides, reference course materials and educational videos Jeppesen Marine’s advanced MAX Pro electronic charts take updating to a new level. Currently found on the Northstar 8000I and Simrad GB40, MAX Pro charts are expanding to other navigation systems as well. And MAX Pro users can enjoy the same Quick SyncTM updating prized by Jeppesen Marine’s high- seas customers who pilot larger commercial vessels. Unlocking a MAX Pro chart coverage area includes a free one-year subscription to all chart updates online. This means that at the touch of a button MAX Pro users can download the latest Notice to Mariner corrections automatically on a weekly basis. It is worth noting that Jeppesen Marine’s update service won the 2009 Editor’s Choice Award from Practical Sailor: “Club Jeppesen Marine provides a huge benefit to NT+ and MAX card owners by supplying automatic chart card updates every year at a very reasonable price. The ability to update their new MAX Pro card on a real-time basis via the Internet is hands-down the most advanced update system going today.” Keeping your navigational charts up to date can be a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. The pros at Jeppesen Marine keep on top of the changes for you and make it as easy as a computer download. Now that they have bundled that expertise with the cost-saving benefits of Club Jeppesen Marine, boaters can focus their attention on more pleasurable activities on the water.
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