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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
North-up Chart Plotter Orientation
|Author||Topic: North-up Chart Plotter Orientation|
posted 09-28-2008 11:55 PM ET (US)
A couple of times when I've had experienced boaters join me on my boat, they have expressed surprise that I leave my Lowrance LCX-25C chartplotter in North-Up orientation (that is, north always being displayed at the top of the screen). Is it more common to put chart plotters in Course-Up or Track-Up orientation? I've been doing it my way for a couple of years, and have just gotten used to thinking about directions that way. In fact, it would take a certain amount of effort to unlearn my current way of visualizing procedures such as making the final approach to a precise waypoint that I want to anchor on.
posted 09-29-2008 07:09 AM ET (US)
Frank--If I were a guest on your boat I'd fit right in. I use North-Up.
posted 09-29-2008 07:41 AM ET (US)
North-Up here as well. Same as when I'm using paper charts. Keep in mind that without a fluxgate compass, the GPS has no idea of the boat's true heading. It estimates that based on the boat's previous track over ground, which can be skewed by wind and current.
posted 09-29-2008 07:48 AM ET (US)
Frank - I have tried using the different screen orientations and found that if nothing else it takes a little more time for screen to update if not in the North-up mode due to the entire screen having to update every time I make a turn and can cause orientation confusion.
The chart legends are a lot cleaner in the North-up position as well.
posted 09-29-2008 08:38 AM ET (US)
When I'm operating uncle sam's boats I usually have the chart plotter on automatic course up so that the picture on my radar matches the chart plotter. Makes recognizing markers a little easier.
I hardly ever "navigate" anywhere in my 20 foot Whaler.
posted 09-29-2008 09:20 AM ET (US)
I'd guess that most former and current military folks use the course up feature. Orienteers probably do the same. We were taught that in order to land navigate it is most useful to orient the map or chart we are using to match the land features we are observing.
Most of us, I beleve, are near shore or inshore boaters. As such, in the absense of navigational markers, we tend to use land features to determine our approximate locations. This too is most easily done with the chart oriented to match the land features we are using.
For me this conditioning makes it more natural to use my chart plotter in the course up setting.
posted 09-29-2008 11:00 AM ET (US)
Spent 31 years in the Navy and we never used the the course up feature always true north even when doing radar navigation.
posted 09-29-2008 11:26 AM ET (US)
For years, especially when working with radar I preferred North Up. But I must admit that I now prefer Course up as my preferred sreen orientation. Not sure which is right or better, I just prefer seing my waypoint at the top of the screen
posted 09-29-2008 12:50 PM ET (US)
I ran North up for a year or so. When I got comfortable in the accuracy of the GPS chart and started using it to explore new areas I switched to track up. "Let's see, it shows a rock right there with the high point of land behind it so go to the left side." If I was using a chart, I would have it orientated to my compass so why not the GPS chart? I have never gone back. John
posted 09-29-2008 06:04 PM ET (US)
Thanks, that's all some interesting feedback.
Just to clarify, mostly I run near-shore like many of you, and do 98% of my navigation visually. The main exception to that is when I'm anchoring on a specific target such as a shipwreck or pinnacle to do a scuba dive. In these cases we usually want to hit the waypoint as precisely as possible (almost always using the sonar as a second frame of reference). It's become second nature for me with the chartplotter in North-Up mode to note that the waypoint is a bit to, say, the southwest of the boat's position, which I then steer to using the compass.
Every once in a while, I'll use the chartplotter's "Navigate to Waypoint" feature to establish a course to a spot, particularly if it is beyond the horizon and/or far enough offshore that it's not easily found by visual landmarks.
I haven't had occasion to use the radar much (though I should practice more). I have the radar displayed on the same Lowrance head unit, and leave it like the chartplotter in North-Up.
At any rate, thanks -- I don't feel quite so much like an oddball.
posted 09-29-2008 07:34 PM ET (US)
I have been using my new chart plotter in North up mode. This tread has reminded me that I meant to try it another way. Now boating is almost over for the year.
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