Difference Between Raster and Vector Charts

The basic difference between the raster chart and vector chart is the way they are rendered.

  •  Scanned Image: Raster Chart is the “photographic image” or scanned image of Paper Chart.
  • From Paper to Pixels: Vector Chart, also called ENC Chart is the Pixeled Image of paper chart
  • Being a scanned copy, these charts are one image and cannot be broken in parts 
  • ENC Charts has its own look on ECDIS Display and due to layering of information there is less cluttering.
  • As looks exactly like paper chart, Vector Charts get cluttered on ECDIS Display.
  • In Vector Charts each point is defined electronically.

Raster Charts takes a lot of memory on data storage. In MBs

Vector Charts takes less memory compared to Raster Charts. In KBs

Edit Information

User can add information, do plotting and all the work that he can do.

  • Interrogation for more information is not possible
  • Interrogation for more information is possible

In Raster Chart, the chart is available in one layer.

In ENCs, the charts are multi-layered. Total 11 layers are available for users to play with.

Image Credits: http://www.charts.gc.ca/
Image Credits: http://www.charts.gc.ca/
Integration with other equipment

Integration with other equipment like RADAR and ARPA Overlay, GPS Positioning on both Raster and Vector Chart is possible.


With approval from IMO, Raster Charts can only be used as back-up charts.

Vector Charts are being used on ECDIS

Display Customization
Difference Between Raster and Vector Charts 1
  • Being scanned copy of paper charts, Raster Charts cannot be customized. 
  • Presentation will always be North Up.
  • User sees all the data, elimination of any information is not possible.
  • Display is customizable.
  • Any presentation is possible.
  • User can hide unwanted information from display.