Jump to content

Printing Nautical Charts


dan_f

Recommended Posts

I have enjoyed reading posts from Adam Bolonsky and others about current and historic nautical charts. As Adam and others have noted, you can download charts for free or you can buy a CD of all of the US charts for $50 in raster format. One of my pet peeves has been my inability to print out these charts (BSB format) with my choice of center and scale with adequate quality using Maptech's Chart Navigator and Offshore Navigator programs. I have found a solution that I really like: a Photoshop plugin to read BSB format charts called BSB Import available at www.apocgraphy.com. It's quite cheap and the results are great. Photoshop Elements and other inexpensive programs can use Photoshop plugins. You do have to know the name of the chart that you want and where it is located on your PC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Dan:

Is this supposed to work with Maptech BSB charts? It doesn't for me, with Elements 3.0. I thought I read somewhere that Maptech charts are copy protected in some way. There is software in the program files folder that seems to be about encryption.

If Maptech charts cannot be read, what would you recommend as a source of BSB charts?

Thanks. --David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David, I am currently using the BSB format charts from the Maptech-DVD that contains all of the US charts. These are the same BSB charts that you can download for free from Maptech or other sources. These charts are not copy protected. Note: you really want to use the .kap files, not the .bsb files. I believe that the .bsb files are a file descriptor only.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes... I do that kind of thing too, mostly for single-sheet charts, typically to show the track of a paddle, as you have done here. Single 8.5 x 11 panes, however, don't usually work very well for navigation. Either they cover too small an area for a day's paddle or they cover the area at too low a resolution.

What I (and Dan, I believe) are talking about is printing larger charts for taking on the kayak. That involves printing the chart in a grid and taping the pieces together. Maptech software -- which has full-res scans of actual NOAA charts as opposed to Garmin Blue Chart's digitally generated images -- prints such grids. But it gives you very little control over what is printed, how it is laid out, and at what resolution. The idea of pulling those charts into Adobe is to get that control, so you can print exactly the part of a chart you want for a trip, at the most appropriate resolution.

--David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Dan:

My first attempt was using the charts that Maptech has installed on my system, along with the software. That has .cap files, not .kap, and appears to be in some non-standard format.

I tried the charts directly from the CD, where they are .kap's. That works... sort of. The trouble there is that, even with the plug-in, Adobe asks for my Maptech registration key. When I don't supply that key, it displays the chart with a checkerboard pattern, with every other box blacked out -- in other words, it's useless. I have registered my Maptech software, but will have to try to figure out if this gives me a key that I can use to pull them in properly,

But there are other problems. If I print a chart (even with the checkerboarding), Adobe (Elements 3.0) simply crops to a single sheet -- it does not print a grid. I have never been able to figure out how to get a multi-sheet grid out of Adobe. The only image software that I've found that does that is Corel Photo-Paint, and that cannot handle big files very well.

Do I have to grid it "by hand" by selecting single-sheet areas and printing one at a time?

--David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David, are you sure that the checkerboarding is not from an unregistered version of the BSB Import software? Until you register the BSB Import and get a registration code from them, you will have a checkerboard on top of your chart. This took one business day for me.

I have not figured out how to print a whole chart packet in a grid with BSB Import, but Maptech's Chart Navigator and Offshore Navigator do this. I only want to print maps of up to 11 by 17 inches (on a wide format ink jet printer) to carry in my kayak. Apocgraphy also has a different program to print an entire chart, but I don't know how it works.

To print in a poster or grid format, you could export a file to a program like Qimage but that would be getting complex.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have printed the Maptech chart packets using their Chart Nav demo software without too much of a problem however I really don't like having to tape everything together.

One suggestion, although it could be an expensive one is to buy a wider format printer (11x17). Once you choose the new printer in the Chart Navigator software the squares on the grid will change to fit your max paper size. Try changing to landscape view to see if the squares better cover the area you want. Then all you have to do is select the squares over the area you want to print and hit print.

I have access to a plotter printer at work and have printed a number of full size charts succesfully (not a packet) and have been able to taylor my page size to get the portion of the chart I want for a particular trip. It's always a trial and error process but I've got it to work for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another possibility is to download one of the free PDF writers, PDF995 and PrimoPDF among them, and make PDF files. You can also buy Acrobat and get their PDF writer.

From there you can get colour prints at Staples. You can e-mail the prints. They can also laminate the charts, though I'd recommend checking the printouts before they are laminated every time as the stores I go to have noticable employee turnover. In your e-mail clearly state that you want the print to take the largest portion of the paper, etc. and don't accept a bad result. Ask about the prices and compare to the cost of a printer, colour ink, etc. I spend a couple hundred dollars a year plotting 22x34 schematics this way to support electronics development, cheaper than buying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> One of my pet peeves has been my inability to print

>out these charts (BSB format) with my choice of center and

>scale with adequate quality using Maptech's Chart Navigator

>and Offshore Navigator programs. I have found a solution

>that I really like: a Photoshop plugin to read BSB format

>charts called BSB Import available at www.apocgraphy.com.

Another alternative, at least for those who use Unix, Linux, or perhaps OSX, is to use GRASS with GDAL. Not a consumer product as such, but it will do some heavy lifting when it comes to maps.

Ed Lawson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>David, are you sure that the checkerboarding is not from an

>unregistered version of the BSB Import software? Until you

>register the BSB Import and get a registration code from

>them, you will have a checkerboard on top of your chart.

Aha.. probably it. I was tired and read that message as needing a code from ~Maptech~. But what you say makes much more sense.

--David.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've (a) printed lots of charts from Maptech; (B) trimmed and taped them -- a full chart takes about 60-90 minutes of work; © taken them on kayaks, in chart bags, of course, where they do just fine (if you tape the map seams thoroughly); (d) laminated them into 2-sided, 11x17 sheets, or sometimes smaller.

The ideas were to: save money; print charts "on demand"; have multiple laminated charts ready to go at a moment's notice; etc.

There are a lot of hassles and drawbacks, not the least of which is the limitations of Maptech's printing (cannot select your area, just s subset of pre-programmed grid panels; cannot change resolution). The laminations work nicely for routes you paddle frequently, and know exactly what area to cover. But when we head up to a big Maine bay, for example, we often take a variety of routes based on last-minute decisions. No one set of laminations works without a lot of chart fliping and shuffling, which is a pain while under way. Instead, folding a paper chart to the day's planned area is best, using a chart case, of course.

So, bottom line -- for the regular places, I have good laminations from maptech printouts and will continue to use them. For others, I'm now getting charts from waterproofcharts.com. Or, if I do want to print-on-demand, I will use the BSB's in Adobe.

Maptech is still great for at-home route planning, checking tides and currents, etc etc.

--David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...