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Old 08-20-2015, 09:19 PM   #21
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I'm between (functioning) boats and just entered the laptop navigation world with the under $50 purchase of PolarNavy. I'm very impressed with what it can do compared to the Garmin 3000 series chartplotter that went with my old boat. I've already downloaded free all the charts I'll ever use in the US and there is a built in manager that will help me keep them up to date.

My newfound enthusiasm for very up to date charts got a huge boost tonight with a phone call from some friends (fairly experienced ICW and Bahamas hands) who were just on a high end charter yacht in Maine with even more experienced and licensed operators. The boat went full tilt boogie into a rock with major damage. A look at the chartplotter showed no rock. They turned on the laptop with the latest NOAA charts and, there it was.

A chart plotter with a screen the size I'm looking at now would cost me enough to buy a good outboard motor and I would probably be locked into copy protected charts. I used to wonder why the six million dollar research vessel I designed is primarily navigated with laptops. Not any more.

Actually, I should have known this earlier because I wrote an article about it Page 26):

http://issuu.com/pointseast/docs/mid...115423/2662123

However, I needed to buy a boat with a pilothouse to make laptop navigation practical.
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post

Actually, I should have known this earlier because I wrote an article about it Page 26):

http://issuu.com/pointseast/docs/mid...115423/2662123
Very nice article, thanks for the link.

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However, I needed to buy a boat with a pilothouse to make laptop navigation practical.
That can increase the system cost all right .
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:47 PM   #23
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I think you need to decide whether you want a full features nav system, or just some thing to display a few charts and show where you are. If you want something simple, it's hard to beat the ipad apps. They are simple, cheap, show you where you are, and probably include Active Captain guide book info. But they won't give you routes, drive your auto pilot, display AIS targets including virtual nav aids and weather stations, tide levels, current predictors, weather forecasts, display of radar targets, support for 0183 and NMEA 2000, etc., etc.. Wifi is great, except for when it stops working. I haven't met a wifi base station yet that doesn't need to be rebooted periodically because it stops working. I don't want that as part of my navigation system.

If, on the other hand, you want a full featured navigation system, it's hard to beat Coastal Explorer. I think $300 or $400 (whatever it costs) is dirt cheap for what you get. CE compares with Nobletek, Max Sea, etc all of which cost double that or much more.

So I think it mostly depends on what you want and what kind of cruising you do.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:10 AM   #24
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The best free one that I have found for iPhone and iPad is iNavX.
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:13 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post
A look at the chartplotter showed no rock. They turned on the laptop with the latest NOAA charts and, there it was.

Actually, I should have known this earlier because I wrote an article about it Page 26):

ISSUU - Points East Magazine, midwinter issue by Points East
A great piece and a good reminder about complacency and our trust in gadgets. Thank you.

Surprising the hits were so infrequent.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:36 AM   #26
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Wifi is great, except for when it stops working. I haven't met a wifi base station yet that doesn't need to be rebooted periodically because it stops working. I don't want that as part of my navigation system.

If, on the other hand, you want a full featured navigation system, it's hard to beat Coastal Explorer. I think $300 or $400 (whatever it costs) is dirt cheap for what you get. CE compares with Nobletek, Max Sea, etc all of which cost double that or much more.
Had Wifi reboot issues until we bought Apple Airport Extremes. In two years, we have not had to reboot the Airport. They have rebooted a couple of times during power outages.

My experience is a laptop is far more likely to lock up and require a reboot than a Wifi router.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:41 AM   #27
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OK folks. For those that use iPad. I am assuming you have an iPad with cellular data for positioning???
Yes, works great.
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:22 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
I think you need to decide whether you want a full features nav system, or just some thing to display a few charts and show where you are. If you want something simple, it's hard to beat the ipad apps. They are sime, cheap, show you where you are, and probably include Active Captain guide book info. But they won't give you routes, drive your auto pilot, display AIS targets including virtual nav aids and weather stations, tide levels, current predictors, weather forecasts, display of radar targets, support for 0183 and NMEA 2000, etc., etc.. Wifi is great, except for when it stops working. I haven't met a wifi base station yet that doesn't need to be rebooted periodically because it stops working. I don't want that as part of my navigation system.

If, on the other hand, you want a full featured navigation system, it's hard to beat Coastal Explorer. I think $300 or $400 (whatever it costs) is dirt cheap for what you get. CE compares with Nobletek, Max Sea, etc all of which cost double that or much more.

So I think it mostly depends on what you want and what kind of cruising you do.
OPENCPN will do most of those things...tricky to setup maybe....but pretty full featured for free.
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Old 08-22-2015, 10:13 AM   #29
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For those with iPads: the Apple design uses a special chipset for cellular that includes the GPS functionality. The wifi only iPads do not have that chipset, thus do not support GPS. An iPad with the cellular and GPS chipset will support GPS functionality even if the cellular functionality is not used (no SIM card, cancelled cellular contract, etc.).

I use Navionics and love it. It does not support ActiveCaptain, which is a shame.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:08 AM   #30
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For those with iPads: the Apple design uses a special chipset for cellular that includes the GPS functionality. The wifi only iPads do not have that chipset, thus do not support GPS. An iPad with the cellular and GPS chipset will support GPS functionality even if the cellular functionality is not used (no SIM card, cancelled cellular contract, etc.).

I use Navionics and love it. It does not support ActiveCaptain, which is a shame.

This has to explain it.

John Baker I asked my son and he told me similar to above, that though my iPad does not have a SIM card(my choice) it is cellular capable and the GPS is fully functioning. I've been in Dana Point and San Diego this weekend and Navionics has worked fine without data.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:32 AM   #31
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We've been using Fugawi for years as a backup to our Garmin and quite like it.
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:00 PM   #32
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Coastal Explorer, especially if you're traveling in B.C. You can download raster and vector charts for B.C. for $99 each. Coastal Explorer is about $300 from Defender.

Excellent customer service, stable software, fully featured.

I run CE on a cheap Windows 8 laptop, I think I paid $300-400. It gets GPS and AIS over WiFi from a black box Vesper Marine AIS transceiver. The computer is used exclusively for navigation and I only connect it to the internet a few times a year to download chart updates. I did have to spend some time getting rid of all the bloatware that came on the PC.
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:35 PM   #33
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Coastal Explorer, especially if you're traveling in B.C. You can download raster and vector charts for B.C. for $99 each. Coastal Explorer is about $300 from Defender.

Excellent customer service, stable software, fully featured.

I run CE on a cheap Windows 8 laptop, I think I paid $300-400. It gets GPS and AIS over WiFi from a black box Vesper Marine AIS transceiver. The computer is used exclusively for navigation and I only connect it to the internet a few times a year to download chart updates. I did have to spend some time getting rid of all the bloatware that came on the PC.
I run the same exact setup for mobile around the boat use. Love my XB8000 too.
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Old 08-22-2015, 04:39 PM   #34
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I run CE on the boat PC, networked to Furuno NavNet2, receiving GPS, depth, temp from Furuno components and AIS from a separate unit connected directly to the PC. With a Macbook at home, I use CE running on Parallels for planning. I also save the routes, marks, etc., on dropbox from both machines so I don't have to transfer the file on a flash drive from home to the boat.
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Old 08-22-2015, 05:05 PM   #35
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I have NOBELTEC on a designated PC. The folks at NOBELTEC are great to work with.
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Old 08-23-2015, 01:14 AM   #36
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Coastal Explorer, especially if you're traveling in B.C.
Thanks for pointing out CE.
Here is a series of video tutorials.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:16 AM   #37
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I have garmin,s blue chart vision on my mini iPad and on my iPhone 6. It's a great program and truly compliments the main garmin chart plotter. I can plan ahead for anchorages with built in active captain or look for interesting side trips and not mess with the main system.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:19 AM   #38
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I have garmin,s blue chart vision on my mini iPad and on my iPhone 6. It's a great program and truly compliments the main garmin chart plotter. I can plan ahead for anchorages with built in active captain or look for interesting side trips and not mess with the main system.
I have the same but not the Vision I think I will upgrade to the Vision after watching some videos on youtube
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Old 08-23-2015, 12:05 PM   #39
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For my laptop, Polar View worked great with GPS puck if you only need US charts. It fully integrated Active Captain and was simple to use.

I now have Coastal Explorer, which is more full featured, but also more complicated, everything else being equal.

I do like CE and I got if for the non US charts as it runs Jepp's C-maps.

I also now have it on my laptop and it too has not problem with the Amazon $25 GPS puck.

Navionics is on my tablet and smart phone.
Just in the last two days, we have had a few occasions that it is nice to have a second opinion.
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:45 PM   #40
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I use Garmin BlueChart Mobile (to the best of my knowledge there is no Vision version of the mobile application) on my GPS enabled iPad. I use it to plan routes that I then upload via WiFi to my Garmin MFD. Active captain data is overlaid on the charts. I also use it as a follow along chart plotter to see and review Active Captain hazard information.

I also use Nobletec TimeZero on my iPad. Pretty full featured "chart plotter".

While I use the iPad apps as planning tools and backups, I would be happy to use either app for casual coastal cruising.

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