Friday, August 21, 2009

Good Vector Charts for Mexico

I finally have found some electronic charts of Mexico that are at least of 'good' quality. The MapTech electronic raster charts of Mexico are unusable outside of the major port areas. The C-Map that our Furuno chartplotter use are better than MapTech but not that good. We have use Coastal Explorer for our PC Chartplotter for many years and when we upgraded to their latest version they noticed that they added the capability to use Navionics S-57 vector from ChartWorld in Germany. These charts have special copy protection and are referred to as S-63 format. In the US, NOAA distributes all of the marine charts for free so the ChartWorld charts are only for areas outside the US. After some research and concern that these vector charts would not be any better than the old raster charts I finally purchased the set of charts for western Mexico. The cost is EURO 150, about $213 dollars US. Coastal Explorer has worked with ChartWorld to make the install process easy. I did have a little problem with the install because I had changed the chart directory settings but CE support was very helpful in sorting it out. The difference between the raster and vector charts are amazing, see photo's (Vector on left, old Rasters on the right). I've read that the Mexican Navy has done a new survey of Mexican waters in the last few years and it's that survey that these charts are based on.
I don't know what other software supports the ChartWorld vector charts but if you are going to Mexico these charts are worth getting a copy of Coastal Explorer 2009 for just to be able to use these charts.

Links -
ChartWorld GmbH
Coastal Explorer 2009

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