This tutorial covers setting up Unified Charts with your chosen Windows program...
Step 1: Unlock the charts !
Basics: On USB or on virtual DVD, the unlocking process is the same. The RunMe executable needs to run, followed by agreement with the EULA (license agreement), and a splash screen is displayed. This process is normally automatic upon plugging in the USB or mounting the virtual DVD. It needs to be gone through at the start of a session, and charts remain useable till machine is switched off. (Note: Unlocked charts will survive machine hibernation)
In some cases, particularly with Windows 10, the RunMe process is not automatic (although you can soon set it to be automatic). In these cases, open out the USB or mounted virtual DVD to folder view, locate "RunMe"... and click it to start the unlock process.
Once the EULA and splash screen have run, you can start using the charts.
Step 2: Click and go chart installation
Default Windows program- qtVlm (fully featured nav, weather and tidal streams)
After plugging in the Unified Charts USB and going through the “Run Me” and agreeing to the EULA (the unlocking process).... you will be offered the opportunity to install qtVlm on your Windows machine. If not already done, install now.
The installation process can take over 10 minutes. Answer any installation options then do NOT fiddle with it. Your AV programs will probably sniff around checking things. Leave it severely alone till finished. The qtVlm program will start with charts loaded and unlocked.
Note the circled "M" button. Clicking it once will "Lock Level" on current scale and display the level eg:11. You will be using this feature a bit. If level is not locked, automatic scale switching occurs as you drag and zoom in.
For all other supported Windows programs :
NOTE: In all cases make sure you read and agree to the programs authors terms and conditions for using their programs. They make the programs, we just make the charts..
Step 3: Point your program at the charts
Tip: Whichever program you use, it helps enormously to make sure that Unified Charts always are seen by your system as the same drive letter, each time you use them.
SeaClear: Free. Unified charts will run with plain vanilla versions of SeaClear if you know how to use MapCal to set directories. To make things easy for you, we have knocked up an installable version of SeaClear with directories pre-set to cover Unified Charts installations that end up being designated Drive D, E, F, G, H and also Drives V, W, X and Y. This covers most possibilities for the USB and the virtual DVD editions.
Download it HERE
When installed you will have 2 shortcuts on you desktop, one for MapCal and one for SeaClear itself. Unlock the charts as in Step 1. Start MapCal by clicking shortcut. Click Tools >>> Autoload List >>> Scan for New Charts. See below:
You will see MapCal scan and load the charts. When finished close MapCal. You can then start SeaClear and use the charts.
"SeaClear capability is provided for the many customers who have grown used to using our "Charts for SeaClear" packages over the last 5 years. Unified Charts can't be used with your existing packages (encryption systems clash), but only with plain vanilla SeaClears as above"
OpenCPN: Free. Unified Charts work with newer official release Windows versions of this program. Supported versions include 4.4.0, 4.6.1, 5.2.0 and the current 5.2.4. Standard OpenCPN installers are bundled for Versions 4.4.0 and the current 2021 version 5.2.4.(Some prefer v4 for plugin compatibility.)
Unlock the Unified Charts (Step 1). Download OpenCPN directly from them, HERE Install it and then click the "Spanner" icon..tools.. in the buttons at top of screen.
Click "Charts" 1, then "Add Directory" 2, then locate the USB or virtual DVD in Windows tree view and click it 3. Check "Force Full Database Rebuild" 4, then "Apply" 5. OpenCPN will scan and load the charts.
TIP: OpenCPN can have image quality issues. If charts look "gritty"... Click Tools >>> Display >>Select "Advanced" tab, then check "Enable Advanced Grapics (OpenGL mode) and then "Apply" This improves matters in most cases. See the link below for setup details:
Polar Navy: 30 day free trial, then under £40. Polar Navy is well worth testing if you are having image quality issues with OpenCPN. Handles the Unified Charts very well. They also sell their own vector charts for the UK, which can work very well in conjunction with our raster charts in this program.
Unlock the Unified Charts (Step 1). Download Polar View direct from them HERE
File>>>Chart Manager>>> Set directories (similar to OpenCPN)
Charts will be scanned and loaded..ready to use.
Expedition: This is a full blow professional racing program, used by world famous international yacht racing teams. It costs approaching £1000, and is sold by local specialist agents.
Users of Expedition will need no instructions from us about how to set it up.
Conclusion: Purchasers of Unified Charts can try them with these programs and see which they prefer. They can even be used with different programs in different windows at the same time...