In my recent series of columns about the use of electronic navigation systems and the nautical charts they utilize, I discussed the importance of keeping digital charts up to date just like paper charts.
In the columns, some thought that the particular electronic charting and navigation software I use, Rose Point ECS, was in some significant way flawed in performing those chart updates.
That is not true, and I want to set the record straight. Users of Rose Point ECS can rest assured that the confidence they have in the software is well placed. I know of no issues at all with the capabilities of its chart-updating utility. This comes from years of experience using the program everyday. I’ve commented favorably on Rose Point in the past, and it has only improved over time. It remains my first choice.
The program will perform whatever chart updates it’s enabled to do by the system administrator or other individual who initially set it up. That means a choice has to be made by someone, and that choice may or may not include both of the chart types (raster and vector) commonly in use that can be loaded into the system. If and when it comes down to picking only one, typically vector would be chosen over raster, usually for one or more of these reasons — internet access, download speed and data costs. A potential problem arises if steps are not taken to ensure that vessel crews that use the system are fully aware of what is and isn’t being updated. If they are not made aware of this, they may be operating under the faulty assumption that a raster chart they decide to use has been updated when it possibly hasn’t.
This is not a Rose Point performance problem. This is a potential information gap on the user’s end that can easily be solved with some elementary education.
It is very important that the master, mate, or pilot fully understands the details and capabilities of the technology they are using.