NOAA’s free rasters, happening
* According to the official verbiage, NOAA RNCs (™ yet!) are considered “official” but redistributed copies are not (yet). “At a future date, NOAA intends to establish a program under which distributors may be certified to redistribute NOAA RNCs™ such that they will retain their official status and meet chart carriage regulations.”
* While the underlying charts seem to be the same, and fabulously current (updates applied through 2 weeks ago in many cases), NOAA is using different server software than Maptech’s freeboatingcharts.com. Since each site has unique ways to search for charts, there are now lots of ways to find them. NOAA zips them up for immediate downloading; freeboatingcharts sends you an email when the self-executing zip file is ready.
* Most interesting, I think, is that NOAA is also offering small update files that I presume will make the latest edition of a chart current. This will be great for keeping a portfolio updated, especially for those with narrow-band connections, like on a boat. But I think that the .ptc update file format only works in older Maptech software so far (not, for instance, CNP/CE, yet). Can anyone illuminate me?