Marine Electronics Forum - North up, Head up, or Course up

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View Full Version : North up, Head up, or Course up


Rockyw
09-24-2010, 09:27 PM
I have a Raymarine E120 chart plotter, and normally have it set to Head up and relative motion. A friend of mine says he runs his Simrad plotter in North up, as it redraws the screen more quickly in this mode. I like Head up because what I see when I look out the window, is the same view I am seeing on the plotter. Does North up redraw more quickly on a plotter, and if so why? Is there a good reason to use North up rather than Head up or course up ? I seem to recall that the Furuno Navnet VX2 and the Simrad units I had on previous boats always defaulted back to North up every time they were restarted.


bumster
09-24-2010, 09:35 PM
I prefer head up myself for the same reason. I want to be looking at where I am going and when I look down I want what is in front of me to be at the top of the screen in front of me also

peterbo3
09-25-2010, 12:54 AM
With North up, the chart orientation stays the same so there is no redraw unless you change the range or get close to the edge of the displayed chart & it displays the "next" area.
Head up will constantly change as minor variations in the boat heading will be reflected on the chart.
So, North up will be stable & not really change at all.
I run North up because I am comfortable with this & use my compass in conjunction with a course or track line because the compass is quicker to swing than the plotter compass. I can visualise course changes easily in all modes but I am a geezer & have been navigating on land & sea for 40 plus years. My brain allows this but not everyone is wired in this manner. It is not criticism but simply stating a fact. Just as I am not a computer person but others are.:grin::grin::grin::grin:
Regardless of which method you use, it is good practice to know what is 10 miles or so in front of you if you do not have a paper chart in unfamiliar waters. My Ray C80 has most likely been overtaken in redraw speed by later models or different brands so this info may not be useful.
But all plotters have the disclaimer about "being an aid to navigation" on the opening screen. A prudent skipper would have a compass & a large scale chart or a back up GPS.


bluewater1168
09-25-2010, 01:41 AM
Yep same as what Pete said.

In North Up Mode the chart remains unchanged regardless of what your boat is doing and your brain can do the mental gymnastics to relate the map to what you see out your window.

In the other modes, the chart will need to redraw whenever your vessel changes direction but you do not need to do any of the mental gymnastics.

So basically it comes down to personal preference.

For myself personally, I try to pick a mode that means there is less for me to think about as the more time I spend with my head looking down at the chartplotter the greater the chances of sea sickness.

When fishing and trying to anchor onto a waypoint I use my chartplotter in conjunction with my boat compass . As a result I use North-Up on the chartplotter so that my when my mark is to the right of me on the chart I know to turn east with my boat compass. When I have tried Head-Up mode in this scenario I find myself just spinning around and around in circles as the chart redraws and I do not have a constant frame of reference.

When cruising the Head-Up mode would probably be quite nice so what you see out the window lines up with what you see in at the top of the chartplotter, but I cant be bothered changing modes so I tend to stay in North-Up.

At the end of the day, my advice would be to pick a mode that you are comfortable with and understand because in an emergency you don't want to be second guessing yourself.

ZIGZAG
09-25-2010, 03:01 AM
Run in head up or track up and once I'm there I fish in North up.

bradv
09-25-2010, 03:46 AM
2 screens. Run navigation in north up. Radar in course up. I like consistency no spinning screen

ghargraves
09-25-2010, 06:35 AM
I always run north up - guess it is a habit left over from navigating with a compass.

bluewaterseeker
09-25-2010, 06:56 AM
Run in head up or track up and once I'm there I fish in North up.

I do the exact same thing. When I'm going out or coming back in I use the head up mode because you normally have a course line set to follow so you just keep it straight up. Also, when you're in a narrow waterway it's easier for me. I can glance at it and know whether to steer to the left or the right. It's not nearly as easy in N up.

Now on the other hand, when I'm fishing I like N up because I can relate the GPS and my paper charts and the compass. I use to fish head up because that's how it was set on the way out. I had the hardest time with direction.

Now, when I look at the map the gps screen looks the same. I don't have to turn the map upside down to figure out which way I'm going.

You may not like N up while fishing but give it a try.

Tower Todd
09-25-2010, 07:03 AM
Same as ZigZag

Pez Vela
09-25-2010, 07:10 AM
Don't be afraid to change the orientation during the day depending upon what you're doing. I find that if I'm running split screen chart/radar, I want them synced-up, course up, so I'm looking at the same thing ahead of me on each. If navigating to a waypoint (or my cursor position) with the plotter, I don't want the screen re-drawing and jumping around, like peterbo3 pointed out, so I'll switch the orientation to N-up. Steve has pointed this out previously, and I like to give credit where credit is due.

CMP
09-25-2010, 07:12 AM
Always north up. Old school...

CMP

Buoy Scout
09-25-2010, 08:54 AM
One plotter in heading up zoomed in for details and the other in north up, zoomed out to give the big picture and progress for the trip. Radar overlays on both.

fishinmaniac
09-25-2010, 09:04 AM
Heading up when I'm running, North up to anchor up over a spot for bottom fishing.

HighVoltage
09-25-2010, 10:30 AM
I'm with Pete, Bradv, and others. North up on my chart plotter and heading up on my radar. That's what works for me. There's no right or wrong answer. Whatever you are comfortable with...

Team High Voltage
Bluewater 2850

TSA
09-25-2010, 06:25 PM
north up. i want it to be just like looking at a map/chart.

..............course headings seem to update faster.

ReelWork
09-25-2010, 06:48 PM
I like head up..

chemoniepilot
09-26-2010, 03:48 AM
Some have a 'course pointer' selection and some don't. That could be a factor. I've never used a GPS for marine but have thousands of hours useing one in an airplane. It was better than GREAT! In a turn everything in front of the airplane stayed in front of the airplane. You flew a straight line regardless of wind drift.

sandyda
09-26-2010, 05:46 AM
The Navy taught navigators to always think in North up because it was easier to track the other ships in a formation, and communicate course changes to all the other ships from that perspective. Besides, since it took ten miles of ocean to turn, things didn't happen all that fast. When airborne radar showed up in Navy cockpits it became immediately obvious that things up there changed too fast, and it added an unnecessary load to the pilot's situational awareness to sort out who was where on the screen as compared to where to point his guns. Course up or heading up was it. What you see inside the cockpit is what you see outside.

If you are part of a convoy, zig-zagging to confuse hostile submarines, you really should stick to north up, go slow, and not make a lot of turns.

However, most of our vessels can out turn a fighter. We don't want to lose a lot of time mentally calculating positions, adding east or subtracting west or any of those unnecessary mental gymnastics, any more than we want to prove we can recite poetry while riding a unicycle blind-folded. The gadget makers have given us radar and weather overlays and charts that turn with us (just like that compass thingie) so that we can see at a glance where things are, and see them in the same place when we are looking outside the boat, something we should all do more often!

It fairly boggles the mind that anyone would volunteer for a mental handicap, setting different screens on different orientations. Isn't drinking a case or two enough of a challenge?

I will admit that going to north up while stationary is a good idea if you don't have a separate heading sensor. But if you are using a zone alarm on radar, it is not.

Some old salt told you to use North up, because some old salt told him! That could have been before color TV. He probably thought indoor plumbing would kill everyone in the house with poisonous fumes.

jethro1
09-26-2010, 06:12 AM
Some old salt told you to use North up, because some old salt told him! That could have been before color TV. He probably thought indoor plumbing would kill everyone in the house with poisonous fumes.

A whole lot of words were written and I am still not clear what you are saying. It appears to be, NOT to use north up. Is that it?

I guess that I am a contrarian. I use north up. All maps that I have ever seen published north up (and yes they can be manually rotated however one wishes). They could just as easily be printed east up, south up, or west up.

If my map is north up but my course is south then I know that I am going down the map. Down as in heading south.

Bottom line is, there is no right or wrong. One way is not necessarily better than the other. It is all about personal preferance and what works for the operator.

tprice
09-26-2010, 09:04 AM
I prefer head up myself for the same reason. I want to be looking at where I am going and when I look down I want what is in front of me to be at the top of the screen in front of me also

That is the way I set my units, just seems more natural to me

TTaxi
09-26-2010, 12:29 PM
As personal preference for separate radar & chartplotters I will always use N up for the chartplotter due to its stability without frequent or in some cases constant redraw. Radar always course up. If I had a multifunction system like Navnet, for instance, that overlays radar on the chart, I would stick with synched heading up for both . With the overlays , they have to be set the same.

jerryclaybrook
09-26-2010, 05:10 PM
I agree with opinions previously stated but the course up screen changing can be bothersome depending on the screen refresh time. A friend of mine has a Garmin 545 and the refresh rate is about 2 seconds. I am pretty sure the newer Garmin 546 has a faster processor so this issue is less of an issue. I have a Humminbird 798 which has a fast refresh rate so running heading up is not an issue for me but if I had a Garmin 545 it would be. Most of us now have Garmin Nuvi's or similiar for our cars and they are course up so as the younger people get used to this orientation it will most likely transfer to their boats running course up. Both methods have their plus's and minus's.

Moonlighter475
09-27-2010, 03:40 AM
I use north up. Always have.

Drives me nuts when in a friends boat and he runs "course up" - at the end of a drift at night time fishing, we have to head off to back to the top of the drift line - with the chartplotter swinging around in circles before eventually we can figure out which way to turn.:bashhh::bashhh::bashhh:

Have you ever seen those people navigating in cars via a hard copy street directory, who have to turn the map around all the time so that the top of the page is pointing the same way they are going? They will be the ones with their GPS's set to "course up"!:roll:roll

Cheers

ML

divefreak
09-27-2010, 03:51 AM
I have a Raymarine E120 chart plotter, and normally have it set to Head up and relative motion. A friend of mine says he runs his Simrad plotter in North up, as it redraws the screen more quickly in this mode. I like Head up because what I see when I look out the window, is the same view I am seeing on the plotter. Does North up redraw more quickly on a plotter, and if so why? Is there a good reason to use North up rather than Head up or course up ? I seem to recall that the Furuno Navnet VX2 and the Simrad units I had on previous boats always defaulted back to North up every time they were restarted.


North up... :thumbsup:

ever seen a paper chart turning on the desk? ;? :grin:

Head/course up is fine for me in the car but confuses me on the boat after more than 30 Years in the same region with papercharts....

using chart plotter only for 3 Years now...;cool;

got some kind of "burned in Chart" in my head and the turning map in Heads up mode confuses me.

richinct
09-27-2010, 04:09 AM
I tried North up and didn't like it, I understand about the references to being like paper charts but unless you are zoomed way out I find it confusing.

divefreak
09-27-2010, 05:22 AM
I tried North up and didn't like it, I understand about the references to being like paper charts but unless you are zoomed way out I find it confusing.

the turning display is more confusing for me.

but it all goes down to personal preference...;cool;

TickleStick
09-27-2010, 05:34 AM
North up, always.

I run a boat, car, truck based on direction, not where some line shows me to go. By looking at the chart (or map on the road) I instantly know which direction and roughly what heading I need to take, and I correct accordingly.

burningdaylight
09-27-2010, 08:00 AM
North up, always always always.....it drives me nuts to be on a boat with the chart always rotating around the screen with no fixed point. It's the BOAT moving on the CHART not the CHART moving on the BOAT.

Call me old school....but I'm only 39.

sandyda
09-27-2010, 08:17 AM
Traditions always outlast their usefulness, sometimes long enough to create hazards. Do you shave with a straight razor? Use the outhouse? Drink lots of milk for strong bones and healthy smiles? Vote for your Gran Pappies political party? Pay all you bills with a check in your mailbox the night before the mailman comes?
I'll be on Medicare soon, but I didn't quit thinking twenty years ago.:sleeping:

Its a new world, there are good new things in it, and the passage of time improves very few things any more. Wine, cheese, and Barney Miller reruns come to mind.

Some of you sound like you still navigate with a sextant; let's see a show of hands on THAT!:grin:

p.s. I use a 545, and the refresh rate doesn't bother me. I do switch to north up at anchor now.

Edd
09-27-2010, 08:50 AM
I'm a 'heads up' guy myself, but the bottom line is: TRUST YOUR MACHINE.
I performed a test this past Saturday with my graph. Sort of a 'hood' test where I put a poncho over my head and HDS-10. I then slowly navigated BACK to a previously marked waypoint at the marina by following my trail. Turned off arrival alarms and was short 2 feet of the dock when I stopped. Note.....no buoys where harmed during this experiment, redraw was not a factor, and I always had an observer observing. Good enough for foggy days/nights or getting back over fishing spot for me.

Edd

PP1
09-27-2010, 09:03 AM
With the course up the redraw uses much more computing power and definately refreshes slower. I would think todays chartplotters this would not be an issue, but haven't gotten a new one in quite a few years.

When I'm navigating the backcounty through all the twist and turns around the sand / oyster bars I tend to use course up.

When I'm heading to my spot 30 miles from land I typically use course up because the screen is longer than it is wide. When I get close and am trying to find the bottom I'll switch to north up, course up refreshes way to slow if you have to start turning to find something.

Rival1
09-27-2010, 09:48 AM
Course up. I do use north up going slow when zoomed in in the fog. So the screen doesn't keep rotating.

abfish
09-27-2010, 10:03 AM
As some others have said, course up is good when navigating a narrow channel.

But when fishing around a wreck or other structure, I much prefer north up. Trying to fish structure, or establish a drift line for anchoring while in "course up" is like chasing your tail.

Course up for narrow/unfamiliar channels, north up for fishing structure out of sight of land.

mwgoldman
09-27-2010, 11:26 AM
im suprised at all the head ups out there. I never use it. It makes me sick, spinning around. I know which way im going, if I dont I take a peek at the compass. I just want to know whats around me.

I dont think Im ignoring technology sandyda, it just makes more sense to me to have north up. Having the display change on me just makes it more difficult to figure out whats happening around me. You saying it makes things easier doesnt work out for me. But OK, Maybe Ill try it sometime.

Joe
09-27-2010, 12:12 PM
Course up. I want to reference the land on my chart the same direction I am going.

Edd
09-27-2010, 12:28 PM
I had to edit my original response as I was wrong....I use the 'Heads Up' setting...not the course up. I understand, from Lowrance's discription of course up, why it could make you sick, "Course Up — Displays the Chart
page at the same orientation as your initial bearing to a destination."
"Heads Up — Displays the Chart page in the direction the boat is facing."

Remembering that most of my boating is following pre-determined fishing routes very slow.

Edd

offshore3144
09-27-2010, 12:39 PM
North Up unless the radar is on.

capybob
09-27-2010, 07:30 PM
I run head up on My 4210's and the screen does not spin while my Simrad AP is on as it is giving the heading input signal to the Garmin. If you try this at dock, as an example, you will see with just the plotter on and the boat not moving forward you notice the boat icon spinning etc and not staying pointed in the correct direction. When you turn the AP on the heading sensor input is applied to the plotter and the boat icon orients correctly and remains stable. Like wise if you were moving forward the GPS would sense that and orient the icon correctly. You also get the advantage of having Mag heading displayed on the radar screen mode, with AP on. Great while drifting just leave AP in stby

richinct
09-28-2010, 05:42 AM
If you are heading on a somewhat straight course the screen should not be rotating that much once it has settled in, it should be only making minor shifts. The only time I find the rotating/redraw annoying is when I am trying to zero in on a small piece of structure.

cnthings
09-28-2010, 07:46 AM
North up plotter, course up for radar

beachnut53
09-28-2010, 08:08 AM
I think if you are fishing or navigating at sea, North up works much better in conjunction with your compass. This is especially true if you are attempting to anchor on a specific ledge since the compasss reads faster than the chartplotter can load.

If you are flying a jet fighter or racing a boat in a narrow channel then surely head up it the ticket; you need to see what is coming your way without delay.

southatlantic
09-28-2010, 08:21 AM
Wow, I am surprised at the amount of "diversity" in the replies. I use heads up myself, both for the plotter and the radar, for the reasons that sandyda described ( keep it simple for my overcrowded, overtasked brain:roll ). I used to use course up for the plotter when plotters were slower at redrawing, but with the Furuno NavNet series (my previous Vx2 and certainly now the 3D) that is no longer an issue. I am intrigued by the suggestion of changing to "North up" when one reaches the fishing grounds, though, and will try that next time I am jigging over a reef.

Birdman
09-28-2010, 11:50 AM
LEFT up!


Also intriged by the North Up when at the fishinbg grounds,,,, never thought of that. Sounds like a good idea to keep you bearings on the "spot" while drifting or trolling around in cirlces....

Edd
09-28-2010, 12:42 PM
Question peoples......once you arrive at your fishing spot (be it a waypoint, wreck or something else) why make any change in chart orientation? I mean, you're laying down a current trail while trolling or drifting, so I'm not understanding why any change is required or beneficial. You see the trail to retrace..no? ;?

Edd

Birdman
09-28-2010, 02:08 PM
Yes you do, BUT, if your zoomed in pretty far in, you sometimes loose your bearing on which way your drifting compared to where the hump or spot is your trying to drift across. I can see putting it in north up at that point might make it a bit easier to monitor the drift....

Edd
09-28-2010, 02:21 PM
:thumbsup: Gotcha Birdie. That would be well zoomed I'd say, but I can see the advantage for the way your fishing. Sometimes it is difficult for me to understand things when all we change is the type of fishing.
Thanks,
Edd

capybob
09-29-2010, 05:15 AM
MARPA targets will appear correctly in head up or course up.

capybob
09-29-2010, 05:19 AM
If you leave auto pilot in standby mode then the boat icon will always orient correctly in head up mode Providing the headingbinputbis connected)

C Skip R
10-01-2010, 07:03 PM
If you are heading on a somewhat straight course the screen should not be rotating that much once it has settled in, it should be only making minor shifts. The only time I find the rotating/redraw annoying is when I am trying to zero in on a small piece of structure.

:thumbsup: right on.

240 LTS
10-01-2010, 08:28 PM
Great thread!

I use North up all the time. If I am heading to 3:00 o'clock, I'm going east, 9:00 o'clock= west, etc.
I can figure what way to turn when going south and retracing a trail.

When drifting I know exactly when the wind or current pushes me in a different direction and what direction I am drifting.

I have been with others and could not stand the screen changing all the time and trying to figure his direction.


When traveling with a paper map in the truck, I do not turn the map up side down when going down I-95 to Fla.

Rockyw
10-02-2010, 07:20 PM
Thanks for all the input here guys, i think I will stick to head up when travelling to a way point as I normally have the autopilot on and radar overlayed on the screen as well, but will try North up when trying to anchor over spots and drifting to see if it makes a difference for me.

Edd
10-12-2010, 08:24 AM
This past Saturday I fished Lake Don Pedro, a large body of water for which I also have pre-laid fishing routes. Instead of using 'Head-Up' I switched to 'North-Up' and zoomed in well beyond what I would normally fish.

I'm a NORTH UP guy from now on :)

Edd

sandyda
01-31-2011, 09:08 AM
I find it very interesting that this discussion separates those who come here with an open mind for information from those who come here to express an opinion or defend a tradition. It places me in a category I object to!

stringer bell
02-09-2011, 12:27 PM
North up

Jayhova
02-09-2011, 02:23 PM
Heads up when cruising, North up when targetting in on a waypoint.

gerg
02-09-2011, 06:57 PM
North up on the plotter. You can tell in an instant if you are going the right (or wrong) direction. I use north up in my car also (drives my wife nuts an added bonus). Radar like others is heading up.

The one exception is on my iphone, I set it to heading up. The screen is tall and narrow, and it just works better in that format.

RM
02-10-2011, 08:52 AM
My brain thinks in North Up.



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