MTW DVD’s, dump trucks of data
In our Panbo discussion about how to tune up your electronics and general navigation gear for the coming season, one recurring suggestion was to update your charts and reference publications. Another, less obvious, idea was to get all your manuals in PDF form, which many find easier to search, not to mention stow. Well, check out Managing the Waterway’s 2008 chart and pub DVD set, a phenomenal collection of both NOAA (and Corp of Engineers) charts—every single one available, raster and vector—and the nautical publications made available by various government and state agencies as PDF’s.
Plus several trial charting software programs for PCs and Macs, and the free, but able, PC program SeaClear II. And some of the charting how-to material that MTW owners Mark and Diana Doyle put into their definitive MadMariner series on the subject. Finally there’s a useful FAQ on just how to get the updated charts on the DVD’s to work with the specific charting program you’re using (most covered). Hence my title “dump trucks of data” (DTD’s, get it?). It’s all nicely organized too, and quite a value at $40. Though, if it’s just the pubs you want, right now SetSail’s dual CD Navigator’s Library is on sale for $30. The two collections are quite similar but not the same; for instance, while both have North Atlantic Pilot Charts, only NL has them for the South Pacific and Indian Ocean (I love pilot charts). Other factors: SetSail uses copy protection on their PDF’s—though I’m told it’s much less obtrusive than what I found annoying several years ago—while MTW uses none; SetSail has a nice master link file for jumping through your pubs, while with MTW you just use your file manager. Both MTW and SetSail, by the way, claim that their collections are worth thousands of dollars, but that’s a bit silly as the cost of the printed versions is entirely about printing and distributing them. In fact, I think anyone can find all of these PDF’s somewhere on the Internet. But it might take quite a bit more than $30 or $40 worth of time to collect and download all the ones you might appreciate.