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How to check your chartplotter’s accuracy

How to check your chartplotter’s accuracy

Commercial shipping has been moving away from paper charts and onto a plotter-based system called ECDIS for more than 20 years, and the Admiralty’s recent decision to stop printing charts by 2030 indicates the passage of travel for the leisure world as well.

Multi-Function Displays or GPS plotters are now the primary navigation tool for leisure travelers. That’s all well and good provided that you have a reliable means of checking that your plotter is as accurate as it appears to be.

Tidal information is a good case in point; we used to scour the Almanac for the day’s tide and height and then calculate what the difference would be at the secondary port we were heading to.

A few quick taps on the MFD will provide you with a height or direction in real-time at any location or time. It’s the same with some smartphone- based apps. How can you be sure that these navigational tools are using the most accurate data? You can check by looking at the harbour wall or marina ramp to see how much actual water is there compared to your screen.

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