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Old 04-16-2013, 03:28 PM   #1
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East Coast Navigation Chart recomendations

Hi all,

Currently my boat has Navionics Platinum charts from 2006, CF906P, which is the Southeast and Bahamas. I'll be using a Raymarine E80 chartplotter and radar, also from 2006. I am adding the capability to use my laptop computer, as well as a yet to be purchased Android based Tablet.

My first thought was to update the Navionics charts. But today in talking with them, I realized that I would have to pay full price. So now I am having second thoughts as to what my plan should be and I thought this would be a good place to ask.

I also use Active Captain and am comfortable using the NOAA raster charts.

My cruising plan for the next 14 months will be coming up the east coast (starting 29 April), with some off shore shortcuts depending upon weather and conditions. NYC and Long Island sound for June, Maine and Nova Scotia for the summer. NY again in the fall. Middle Atlantic states for early fall, making my way to Bahamas by Thanksgiving thru January. Returning to NY during the Spring to prepare for the adventure.

Lastly, $$ is an issue, meaning I'll spend what must be spent, but not unless I need to.

So what are your thoughts?

1. Stick to plan A, just go with new navionics charts?
2. Go to a different brand (as long as compatible with Raymarine E80)
3. do nothing. Use the older charts in the chartplotter and use updated raster or vector based.
4. solutions I have not thought of (probably many)

Thanks in advance for your advice.

RIchard
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:10 PM   #2
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I keep one of these on the flybridge at all times when underway: Maptech ChartKit With Companion CD

It's the primary nav tool with the chartplotter just showing current location. The chart books give me a much broader picture of what is around us without zooming and dragging cursors around.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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I do have Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook Norfolk to Miami, 6th Edition (Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook: Norfolk, Virginia to Miami, Florida)

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Old 04-16-2013, 05:25 PM   #4
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I keep one of these on the flybridge at all times when underway: Maptech ChartKit With Companion CD.
I have that but use it mostly for selecting anchorages and seeing in general where I am. I have a networked Garmin system and use Garmin charts.

Updated electronic charts aren't much good if the paper charts they are copied from haven't been updated. Check to see the dates of the paper charts you are considering buying electronic versions of.
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
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I do have Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook Norfolk to Miami, 6th Edition (Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook: Norfolk, Virginia to Miami, Florida)

Richard
The ICW-only chartbooks are about useless. Look at these Maptech books. Worst Marine carries them too.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:54 PM   #6
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Updated electronic charts aren't much good if the paper charts they are copied from haven't been updated.
I'm not really sure what that means. In the US there are pages of chart updates every week in the LNM. Electronic charts (both vector and raster) are updated continuously and made available on line for free. Raster charts are just electronic versions of the paper charts.

If you had a chartplotter that could use these products you could always have the absolute most current chart.

I think it's crazy that the the chartplotter manufacturers expect you to pay hundreds of dollars a year to get updates that your tax dollars already paid for and you can download for free, and even then most are only updated twice a year.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:12 PM   #7
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I'm not really sure what that means. .
It means that there are not a couple thousand people out on the water taking readings every day and updating the charts. For example, much of the data for the river my marina is on dates back to the last century. There's little point in buying "new" charts with old data.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:17 PM   #8
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.................... I think it's crazy that the the chartplotter manufacturers expect you to pay hundreds of dollars a year to get updates that your tax dollars already paid for and you can download for free, and even then most are only updated twice a year.
When someone comes out with an electronic chart plotter system that can be integrated with depth sounders, radar, auto pilots, etc. and uses free charts that are as good as the commercial versions available today, they will rise to the top of the market rather quickly. There seems to be something standing in the way though.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:29 PM   #9
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When someone comes out with an electronic chart plotter system that can be integrated with depth sounders, radar, auto pilots, etc. and uses free charts that are as good as the commercial versions available today, they will rise to the top of the market rather quickly
I've been saying that for years, but it hasn't happened yet.

The free charts are exactly as good as the commercial versions. At best, the commercial versions (in the US) are just free RNC and ENC charts repackaged into a proprietary media format.

Some vendors throw in other "bonus" information like wrecks, fishing spots and marina information.

But there are free and inexpensive apps for smart phones and laptops that can do all that already. I don't know anybody who thinks those little fish icons on the chart are where the fish are really being caught. And I'd rather have the (free) ActiveCaptain reviews than a list of marinas who paid to be included.

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There seems to be something standing in the way though.
Yeah, us dummies who keep giving them money for something that they got for free.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:08 PM   #10
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I do it all with a small C-map based plotter to drive the boat. Polar View on my Netbook for my primary nav. It uses free vector and raster charts and has activecaptain on it. I also have nuticharts on my phone which has AC on it. I check the USCG charts for updates everyday so I'm always up to the second with current charts as nd activecaptain data. It's the cat's pajamas :-)
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:44 PM   #11
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Thanks. I had downloaded Polar View and Comm and like the way it interfaces with Active Captain. I have not yet hooked up my boat gps with this computer yet. Will try to do so next week.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:47 AM   #12
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The free charts are exactly as good as the commercial versions. At best, the commercial versions (in the US) are just free RNC and ENC charts repackaged into a proprietary media format.

Some vendors throw in other "bonus" information like wrecks, fishing spots and marina information.
That's adding value to the original charts. Kind of like a farmer planting seeds and then selling the resulting corn for more than the original cost of the seeds.

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I don't know anybody who thinks those little fish icons on the chart are where the fish are really being caught. .
How do "little fish icons" fit into this thread?
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:54 AM   #13
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How do "little fish icons" fit into this thread?
Some chart makers and charts put out by fish, game, and wildlife departments have those icons to represent what kind of fish reside in local waterways. Again, pretty useless for mariners.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:14 AM   #14
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Some chart makers and charts put out by fish, game, and wildlife departments have those icons to represent what kind of fish reside in local waterways. Again, pretty useless for mariners.
Fine, but the thread is about navigation charts and chart plotters.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:33 AM   #15
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Fine, but the thread is about navigation charts and chart plotters.
My point exactly. What you are calling "added value", I see no value in.

Fish icons, wreck icons and listings of marinas that paid a fee to the chip maker are of no value to me.

I don't see the analogy to planting corn and selling the harvest.

It's more like going to a food pantry where they're giving away fresh corn for free, letting it go stale for a while, then canning it and selling it at a premium with your brand on the label.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:42 AM   #16
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Polar View on my Netbook for my primary nav. It uses free vector and raster charts and has activecaptain on it.
I use PolarView with ActiveCaptain data as well. It's a fantastic combination. It would be great if someone would write an ActiveCaptain plugin for OpenCPN, which is another great product.

I'm seriously considering a marinized laptop or computer with a remote touch screen to replace my chartplotter. It would solve a lot of problems. GPS input is easy via a USB "puck" antenna. Built-in Ethernet to accept NMEA data. Ability to constantly update software (and charts, in keeping with the subject of this thread.) I suspect it would be cheaper than a high-end plotter. And I could use it from both stations. We're even getting to the point where it could replace the radar display. Maybe.

One issue would be getting a daylight-viewable screen for the flybridge. Another would be the speed at which these things go obsolete. In five years there might not even BE a laptop or desktop computer market.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:09 AM   #17
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Panasonic Toughbook?
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:38 AM   #18
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Panasonic Toughbook?
I've actually used a few models of ToughBook. They are pretty rugged, and there are lots of options to choose from. The ones I've seen probably wouldn't do well in sunlight, like on a flybridge. Then again, I was thinking of a dedicated touch screen monitor, and leaving the "computer" part down below. There are waterproof computer-in-a-box type solutions too. None of this is cheap. Then again, neither are chartplotters and MFDs.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:00 PM   #19
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My point exactly. What you are calling "added value", I see no value in................
To each his own. The added value is in making the chart work with the plotter. If you see no value in that, fine. It doesn't bother me.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:01 PM   #20
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I............. In five years there might not even BE a laptop or desktop computer market.
There will be marine MFDs and a market for them.
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