FAA releases easier-to-read digital charts

New FAA sectional

Sectional charts look crisper with the new FAA chart downloads.

What do pilots love most about aviation apps? While the latest high tech features are great, it’s the ability to have up-to-date charts that has always been essential. But until this week, those moving maps in your favorite app were literally scanned versions of paper charts. That meant resolution wasn’t great and colors could often be faded or inconsistent.

That’s now changed, and pilots should start noticing a small but important difference on future flights. The new digital-Visual Chart (d-VC) product is created directly from the FAA’s digital charting files. We’ve seen a number of cases where text is easier to read and airspace is more understandable.

ForeFlight also claims that geo-referencing is a bit more accurate with the new data. In another surprise, overall chart download sizes have been reduced about 7%. That’s enough to make a difference when downloading a lot of states.

The new style charts are available for Sectional and Terminal Area Charts, and are in the latest chart databases.

2 replies
  1. Martin
    Martin says:

    The new digital-Visual Chart (d-VC) on the new download is absolutely great. I cannot believe the difference. When you wear progressive glasses like I do the clarity makes I feel is going to make my flights safer.

    Thank you!!!

  2. avi
    avi says:

    This is a nice improvement, but ultimately, the goal should be to get to FULLY “digital” charts, that are vector renderings, not rasterized “fixed position” charts. This will enable text to be rendered in the proper readable orientation, regardless of the orientation of the underlying “terrain image”, which will vastly improve the usability of “track up” features.

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