Page 36: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2000)
Marine Electronics seconds to more than five minutes to download the file — depending on one's modem speed. When file reception is complete, a program on the mariner's computer unpacks the updates for immediate use, or copies charts from the
CD-ROM, applies the patches, and then stores the updated charts on the hard drive.
At first, mariners will update the charts and store them on their hard drive. Then, as software developers modify their navigation packages, dynamic updating should be available.
With dynamic updating, the charts and patches remain separate and the patch is "wiped over" the chart in real-time. This allows mariners to see that the patch is applied and to see what has changed, an important capability for mariners who transit a waterway frequently. Dynamic patching is also the preferred method under the international standards for
ECDIS where mariners are required not
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Affordable Automation for Welding, Cutting and Semi-Automatic Processes to alter the original data files. Either patching method will let the mariner toggle between the old chart and the new chart, or to view the patch by itself.
Maptech provides the update service as part of its CRADA partnership responsibilities. It comes packaged in a new, professional-level product. On each CD-ROM, mariners receive about 55 raster charts, the Coast Pilot, Light
List, Tide Tables, Tidal Current Tables — where they exist — and update ser- vices for one year as a package deal.
Notice that the CD-ROM contains all of the items called for in the Coast Guard's charts and publications carriage regula- tions.
With the availability of the weekly update service, NOAA is permitting its logo to be used on the commercial raster chart product. Accompanying text explains that the raster charts (and updates) were produced under the authority of NOAA, the national hydro- graphic office for the United States. This status makes them suitable for meeting the international standards for ECDIS
In addition, NOAA and the Coast
Guard have been working closely dur- ing the development of the ECDIS stan- dards. That three-step, standards-setting process (International Hydrographic
Organization standards for data, Interna- tional Maritime Organization standards for systems, and International Elec- trotechnical Commission standards for type-approval) is nearing completion.
Then, it is expected that the Coast Guard will amend the chart carriage regula- tions to permit the use of electronic charts and publications.
This U.S. raster chart update service is the first electronically delivered weekly service. Priced substantially below the cost of the few similar services available elsewhere in the world, it is a significant step in providing mariners a profession- al, modern navigation service in U.S. waters. Future plans may include the availability of single-chart updates rather than an entire CD's worth, and the inclusion of weekly updates to the Coast
Pilot, Light List, and tide and current tables, as NOAA is able to provide the data. High accuracy vector data (called electronic navigational charts, ENCs) will also become available, with weekly updating, for the most demanding navi- gation in restricted and congested water- ways. It is expected that these ENCs and updates will be added to the profes- sional navigation product.
The preceding was co-authored by
David B. Enabnit, Office of Coast
Survey, NOAA; and
Mark A. Jadkowski, Maptech, Inc.
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