Most people who travel or research rivers know that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers makes many of the inland rivers charts available to download, but not all of them. Others have found CDs of the charts for sale that are exact copies of the Corp charts. Those who have used either method of obtaining river charts have found the following problems with these sources:
1.) File types are inconsistent between USACE districts. Some use PDF, some use JPEG, some use ECS.
2.) Labeling of files is confusing. Some file by mile marker, some by pool, some by chart number and some by section
3.) Most charts are available to download or view only one chart at a time. There is no scrolling so each chart must be loaded to the screen one at a time, making them difficult to print, view and certainly hard to use on a computer while underway in a boat, since one chart ma be for as little as 2 miles of river.
4.) Chart files issued by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are designed for towboat operators and have a great deal of information that is not needed by recreational boaters, using up space and increasing download times. Some chart programs automatically bring up 20 pages of regulations each time a section is downloaded.
5.) Many charts must be reformatted one page at a time in order to fit a screen and print properly.
6.) Chart copies for sale on CD are incomplete. They usually come in a set of two CDs but many inland rivers are missing and some rivers are only partially in the file (one set we found had only half of the Ohio River).
It is time for a better way to obtain river charts!
A great deal of time and effort has gone into a project to overcome all these problems with government charts. Following are the steps taken to create a "user friendly" set of river charts.Each river has a separate folder, clearly labeled. All files for all rivers have been converted to pdf files for consistency. The charts in the files are set up for easy viewing, scrolling and printing.
Rivers are broken down into sections from 50 to 80 miles long, making each file a reasonable size to view yet being able to scroll from one chart to another, rather than loading one chart at a time.
Each river section is identified by mile range and labeled with a town, lock or other recognizable landmark within the section for ease in locating a specific part of the river.
All river charts are in mileage order, starting from mile 0 to the navigable end mile.
When available, Index, distance chart, keys, and small boat info are included for each river.
Charts are formatted for right-side-up reading and are printer ready.
Information not needed for pleasure craft has been removed. This includes pages showing barge terminals, power line crossings, bridge clearances (unless very low clearance) and the many pages of rules and regulations that come with each river chart set (we provide one set on the main page)
Main page also includes locking procedures, USACE info, U.S. Coast Guard regs and instructions
Even though some river charts have not been updated recently by the USACE, we have found the most recent that is available in 2008.
All this is now available on one CD for these rivers
Allegheny River Mississippi River-Upper
Arkansas River Mississippi River-Lower
Athafalaya River Missouri River
Black Warrior River Monongahela River
Cumberland River Ohio River
Green River Ouachita River
Illinois Waterway Red River (Louisiana)
Kanawha River Tennessee River
Kentucky River Tenn-Tom Waterway
I purchased your Inland River Charts CD and want to tell you how helpful it will be to us this summer. It is well done and a great value!
Bloomington (Monroe Lake), IN
Order all 18 rivers (7,137 miles) on one CD today in our bookstore for only $19.95Comes with quality high impact, book-style jewel case