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Greetings Mission Planners,

While it has nothing to do with "digital" Mission Planning, the number of CONUS high altitude IFR charts is going up from 6 to 11.  For details see the new U.S. High Charts index.  You can download some enroute charts in pdf format here from NGA's DAFIF website.  Many people have expressed an interest in CADRG enroute charts but no request has ever been submitted to NGA - theory being you can use the information in DAFIF to construct the same type chart "on the fly".

Satellite Imagery Vendor Digital Globe was a big winner when they received the first NextView Contract from NGA, but it appears that one contract will be the limit.  NGA is preparing to compete for a second NextView vendor and Digital Globe won't be invited to play.  

"We want to continue our support for a strong and viable commercial remote sensing industry," said NGA spokesman Dave Burpee. "We also want to develop competition by having a second vendor" other than DigitalGlobe."

For more details see,1299,DRMN_4_2830125,00.html.

If anyone has formulas to convert coordinates between formats in an Excel spreadsheet please let me know...

MP Tip: Canadian JOG's

Several recent limitations have been found with NGA's data that you need to be aware of.  These limitations have existed for some time w/o any serious incidents, but that doesn't mean you can rest easy.  Failure to understand the limitations of your data, your aircraft and yourself can lead to excessive paperwork for you (if you're lucky) or for others.

Canadian JOG's - Canadian JOG charts are distributed separately from the NAVPLAN set.  For reasons discussed below, Canadian JOG's aren't considered part of the NAVPLAN.  Unfortunately the borders of the Canadian JOG charts don't align with the CADRG frame file borders.  This is no different from the way charts line up in the rest of the world, but Canadian JOG's are the only "NAVPLAN like" charts that aren't in the NAVPLAN.  The end result is two JOG frame files covering the same area - one from a NAVPLAN CD and one from a Canadian JOG CD.  Each frame file includes JOG data produced by one nation and a black void across the rest of the frame.  There is no way to fix this on your machine.  No matter what you do FalconView (or any other mapping program) will display void areas on your (no longer) seamless digital map.

Even more interesting (and disturbing) some of these voids cover large areas of the United States.  Buffalo New York is the largest metropolitan area I found that was effected, but a line of data voids extends across the Northern Tier of the CONUS.  It seems many "Canadian JOG's" cover parts of the good ole' USA.  

Canadian JOG CHUM - The Canadian JOG charts were kicked out of the NAVPLAN set because NGA doesn't include them in the CHUM.  This means JOG charts covering parts of the CONUS aren't being CHUMMed.  Those of you flying at Whidbey Island NAS, Niagara Falls ARB and  Wheeler Sack AAF (Fort Drum) need to know the obstructions on your JOG charts (paper and digital) aren't being updated.  Of course if you're going to Canada the same rules apply.  If you go to Cold Lake for Maple Flag you'll discover there's no TPC so you'll need to use that 1:1,000,000 scale ONC chart.  If you're flying an MTR in the Northern Tier (SR-823, SR-825, VR-724, VR-725, IR-348, IR-800, IR-804 etc.) part of the JOG coverage along your route of flight may not be CHUMed.

What can you do to protect yourself?  Exercise caution if you're planning a mission on a JOG near or in Canada, you've got EChum turned on and there are no CHUM symbols anywhere on the screen.  An Ordinary, Reasonable, Prudent person (ORP Man) would recognize this as a situation fairly reeking of danger.  If you see the CHUM symbols stopping along a line to your south and no CHUM symbols past that line then you can reasonably assume the JOG chart you're planning on isn't being updated.  Exercising reasonable caution, you plan your mission on a chart with current obstructions and refer to the JOG to clarify details that can't be determined from the other charts.  

If anyone knows how the Canadian Forces update their digital charts please let me know so I can put the word on the street.

The bottom line is JOG charts covering a significant portion of the US (including major DoD Airfields and low level training routes) aren't being updated.  Exercise appropriate caution!