Paper or Digital VFR Charts

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Paper or Digital VFR Charts

Post by mark » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:31 pm

Hi all,

I was out flying last weekend and had SkyDemon running on my iPad. I was operating a little lower than usual due to weather and was very impressed with the obstacle warnings that SkyDemon gave me as I flew along. After landing I took a look at the paper chart in the back of the aircraft only to notice that most of the obstacles weren't on the map! The 'current' map was published in 2013 and is completely obsolete and could be considered dangerous for navigation. With the development of GPS navigation on smart phones and tablets, is it time to allow the use of GPS as the primary form of navigation rather than paper charts?

I've started at Poll at http://flyinginireland.com/2017/01/vfr-navigation-poll/ to find out what people are using.

Regards,
Mark
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Re: Paper or Digital VFR Charts

Post by martins » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:34 pm

I can't say I was ever happy with the OSI/IAA 2013 chart, it's too cluttered and unreadable, the color coding for terrain gives poor "depth perception" if you know what I mean.. I use skydemon, as well as VOR/DME whenever there's one available. But I would only leave chart on the back seat if and only if - I have a rough idea where I'm going or I have my "power bank" charger, 12v charger and a phone as a spare handy in case my tablet goes out of service.. I just have trust issues with these devices, especially their battery life when it's most needed..

to answer your question - yes I do think paper charts should be on their way out, but only if the devices we're replacing them have backups

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Re: Paper or Digital VFR Charts

Post by mark » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:39 am

Hi martins,

Yes i agree, I would only do it with a backup. I have SkyDemon on my phone and tablet so no issues there but having to carry around an outdated chart seems a bit pointless to me. I thought the charts from around 2005 were much clearer and easier to read, especially for terrain. There have been quite a few airspace changes that aren't on the latest chart (around Knock and Galway). Even the UK CAA 1:500,000 chart is more up to date and where there are changes in Ireland covered by that chart, they email them out to me every month.

Regards,
Mark

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Re: Paper or Digital VFR Charts

Post by OnTheNumbers » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:24 pm

Help us, that current Irish Chart is horrendous. Should nearly be outsourced to the CAA who produce lovely charts lol

That said, I use the chart and SkyDemon in a traditional way. I plot a route from waypoint to waypoint which I also draw out on the chart with a printed plog from SkyDemon.
I could go direct but wypt to wypt usually only adds a couple of miles and it gives me a paper backup for the navigation process.

I run SD on a 7" tablet, with a bluetooth gps dongle (to load-balance the battery usage). I have a large battery bank with enough capacity to charge the table, dongle, phone (with SD) with power to spare :-)

And I still have my ole Garmin 96 to hand chugging away in the corner :-)

David
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Re: Paper or Digital VFR Charts

Post by mark » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:13 am

Hi David,

100% agree. There is a new chart being put together at the moment, in fact there's a charting workshop taking place tomorrow in the IAA so hopefully there'll be a new chart soon. I've received a draft version of the chart with the proposed airstrips on it (but no airspace and other data) through our NMAI GASCI representative. We have one of our members reviewing the data at the moment.

I can't tell for certain but it looks like the chart will take the format of the current chart :cry: The charts of the early 2000's were great, they looked very similar to the existing CAA charts which do a great job of packing in so much information in a clear and concise way.

Mark

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Re: Paper or Digital VFR Charts

Post by jonkil » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:32 pm

The Irish charts are terrible. Colours are absolutely wrong, no rhyme or reason to the style of mapping.
I'm subscribed for the auto updates of the 500,000 UK north and south charts and they are superb. The colours are correct, the legend is correct, the frequencies are apparent and clear and the FIS frequencies are printed clear and concise. I wonder why we just can't get the UK people to put it together, it is correct and after all they have the expertise to do it.
I am still old school, I like the paper chart, I like knowing on the chart where I am and use it all the time, especially in long legs of a journey as it's very easy to throw ETA's/FIR crossing/VRP's etc to controllers when they ask......
Now in the flex it's a different ball game !!..... the 296 is king, but the flex is slow and really only for flying round Ireland with sections of the map printed on A4 in the kneepad.
Nothing as satisfying as planning a route, doing the calculations, doing the times and using the stopwatch to fly a route and hitting the targets you plan.... while the GPS is running in the background with the screen hidden.

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Re: Paper or Digital VFR Charts

Post by OnTheNumbers » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:58 am

Jon, not only are the colours wrong, the data was wrong in some cases too. But my biggest complaint is the disgraceful design. When you see how much perfectly readable data the OSI can put in their 1:250 000 there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to get a beautiful chart with our comparatively sparse airspace.

Being entirely pragmatic though: with probably less than 2000 PPLs in the country is it cost effective for us to produce our own chart?
Should we work with the CAA to have them print charts with the aero data we provide or should we lead the way and phase out the requirement for a chart altogether.. Is now the time to allow users to use Garmin / Skydemon / RunwayHD. Could we look to having online mapping where you print out only the segments you need?

Now that a GPS nav solution costs less than an hour in a C172 I think it's probably fair to say that most everyone is using GPS for primary nav. I think it's time to fully review the charting model to see if really makes sense.

(at least put the new one on lighter paper, folding the current chart is an absolute nightmare)

David
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