Panbo rocks!, and makes a tiny difference
Geez, yesterday’s request brought in some wonderful feedback about charting programs, not to mention some good material for future Panbo entries and even a candidate for my Helm Shot column (if he’s not too shy). This blog is helping me with my day job as a magazine writer, and it’s a delight to make contact with such interesting readers. But what really tickles me is that Panbo may play a small role in improving marine electronics and software. The latest evidence is the way RosePoint modified Coastal Explorer so that ENCs will always display those rocks we’ve been worrying about lately (even though, for reasons unknown, that’s contrary to the ECDIS standard). Gregg from RosePoint exclaimed the issue nicely in comments yesterday, and later a reader pointed me to a thread at Trawlers-and-Trawling which suggests that the customer who motivated RosePoint referenced Panbo. At any rate, hat’s off to RosePoint for responding with amazing speed.
And so let’s complain when we see a problem. Below, for instance, is Fugawi’s ENC display of Camden Harbor. Fugawi already has the rocks right; no matter what display options you pick (full screen shot here), you can not make them disappear. But, damn, why can’t they get the depth soundings right? What is 9subscript8 feet anyway? 9’8” or 9 and 8/10ths feet? And who cares…10 is what the original says and that will do just fine. These messed up soundings take up precious screen room and confuse the eye and brain (and I’ve seen the same problem on other vector chart displays).
PS. I’m aware that all charts will supposedly go metric eventually, and that the underlying soundings in the ENCs may already be in metric, but note how some ENC screens below display feet in nice natural numbers.
Thanks to Panbo for pointing out the “rocks” issue with various navigation software and dedicated chart plotters. MacENC 3.10 was released today, with it the “rocks” are drawn more conventionally giving a less cluttered screen. MacENC does not allow the user to turn of their display while other less important features can be disabled to minimize clutter. MacENC supports depth soundings to be displayed in feet or meters.
Here is a screenshot for 3.10