P.C. based Plotting Systems

4 Feb 2003
<font color="blue">As an old fashiones navigator with pencil and paper charts, I am looking to buy software and charts for use on a P.C.

I want a raster system if I can afford it.

I would be grateful for any information on systems, charts to use, suppliers and costs please.


27 May 2002
we are a agent for MERIDIAN CHARTWARE ....

[/ QUOTE ]
That doesn't even qualify as an infomercial.


New member
14 Sep 2002
May I ask why you want do go with Raster charts rather than a system that can deal with both Vector and raster Charts?

The RYA chart system may be a very good way of starting if your area is covered. Cheap and does what it says on the box. Have a look here http://www.admiraltyleisure.co.uk/newsinfo/rya_chart_plotter.asp

Persaonnlly I have used Seapro for the last 4 years and can't really fault it, you might also look at Maxsea.


New member
21 Feb 2002
UK, S.Coast
Brendan, I thought I had given you an answer last night but it seems to have disappeared into thin air. What I said was:

Recommend MaxSea beacause it can use the biggest range of chart types, Maptech, Mapmedia and ARCS for raster charts and C-Map NT+ for vector.

As has already happened now, many people on this forum are likely to question you wanting to use raster charts and will push vector. I don't agree with them at all, if you have a 14" plus TFT screen size, raster charts are great, just like the paper one's they are scanned from. I use Maptech scans of British Admiralty charts for UK waters and Mapmedia scans of French SHOM charts for France and am very happy with both except the latter are rather expensive, as are ARCS. MaxSea automatically "joins" adjoining charts, the lack of this feature in the past may have been ammunition for the vector brogade. The only reason to use vector electronic charts rather than raster IMHO is if you only have a small plotter screen size.

Maxsea also gives you tidal heights at hundreds of ports and you can buy Mapmedia tidal "atlases" to get tidal currents continuously displayed on the chart display. It will also display weather data from grib files which can be dowloaded from the Internet. MaxSea has its own free weather file system where you define the area and frequency of data you require. This is sent off as an e-mail and you get the grib file as an e-mail attachment by return.

All good chart plotting software is expensive. Expect to pay around £400. Maptech chart packs are relatively cheap at around £100, Mapmeida and ARCS are more expensive, £200 plus to cover a decent area. C-Map NT+ vector charts generally cover a bigger area for your money but are far more likely to have errors due to the amount of manual input required transferring data from original sources.


New member
7 Sep 2004
Like you I have no problem with raster charts (on a PC not a teensy little 5" plotter screen though) and wonder why people decry them. They are exactly the same as the paper charts they are taken from and I can never recall anyone complaining about them.

I am not decrying vector at all, I can cope with either. However, on balance I would always use an official hydrographic office raster chart over a non hydrographic office vector one.

We use an ECS designed for small commercial vessels and not oriented to pleasure users, however, in my various reviews of other systems I would also be swayed to MaxSea.