G-Charts and Garmin BlueCharts> What is the difference and why would I want one or the other?

(This information furnished by Garmin Cartography Department)
November 2001

The basic data content of G-Charts and Garmin BlueCharts (GBC) is the same.  Both are derived from NOAA or other official governmental data sources. Both provide detailed shoreline,  navigational aids, depth contours, and many other marine features that are found on NOAA charts.  However, BlueChart provides advanced and improved cartography,   that has been needed in  marine applications.

The difference is immediately apparent in the way the data is presented.  BlueCharts are presented on a chart by chart basis, so the user knows exactly what is being shown on the screen is exactly what is on the paper chart -- such as spot soundings.  BlueCharts have a very familiar appearance to the paper chart -- in color, in symbology of the nav-aids, etc.  The biggest difference would probably be the object orientation - which allows attributes to be associated with each feature.  This features allows the user to view detailed information about navigational aids, such as the number, whether it's flashing, has a bell or horn, etc.  You would find information about bridges, such as height.   And most important, you can find out information about the chart that is being presented, such as number, publisher, data of publication, latest Notice to Mariners data, and scale.

Garmin's old G-charts did not have tidal information, nor could you find details about port services.  The new GBC charts do have tidal information and name/address/phone number for Port Services in the US.  GARMIN is continuing their attempt to procure tidal data for the rest of the world.

BlueChart is designed to provide interactive viewing of detailed nautical chart data.  BlueChart provides navigators with innovative object oriented cartography.  Descriptive details for features typically found on nautical charts can easily be viewed with a simple key press.  Cursor movements over the chart provide descriptions for contour depths, chart number, navaid name, and  more.  When displayed on a GARMIN chartplotter, BlueChart offers its user a paper chart-like appearance.  This data will include shaded depth contours, inter-tidal zones, spot soundings, wrecks,
navaids, port plans, restricted areas, cable areas, anchorages and more.  Additionally, BlueChart includes chart numbers, name, scales, revision dates and Notice to Mariner dates.

GARMIN BlueChart offers detailed paper chart-like, vector cartography in large coverage areas, providing more coverage area  at a lower price than G-Chart products.

FEATURES of BlueCharts

  • Vector data with paper chart-like appearance
  • Large coverage areas for ease of selection and lower cost than G-Charts 
  • Object oriented functionality provides complete description for chart feature
  • Chart-by-chart presentation provides best resolution and detail that the chart will allow shaded depth contours and inter- tidal zones with spot soundings.
  • Aids to navigation with view range and coverage including light sectors information
  • Port plans
  • U.S. tide data
  • Descriptions for chart name, number, Notice to Mariners date, publisher and release date
  • Wrecks, restricted areas, cable areas, anchorages, shoals, spoilage and much more
  • Bridges are described indicating construction type, clearance, length, etc.
  • Navigational Aids
  • Will operate on the GPSMAP  176 / 182 / 232 / 2006 / 2010.  The CD ROM version also works with the , GPSMAP 76 / 162 / 168  and limited compatibility with the eTrex Legend, eTrex Vista and GPS V.