Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-07-2014, 11:04 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
seasalt007's Avatar
 
City: Punta Gorda, FL
Country: U.S.
Vessel Name: Aweigh
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 481
Best Free PC Nav System

What is the latest and best free PC based navigation program?

Although my bridge is not as protected as a pilot house I still would like to have a laptop running somewhere on the boat and to use as a route planner.

Previously I have used paid programs such as The Captain and Maptec but my versions are out of date.

I am assuming that charts can be downloaded free from the gov't.

I have a USB hockey puck GPS.
__________________
Advertisement

seasalt007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 11:13 AM   #2
Guru
 
ben2go's Avatar
 
City: Upstate,SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: The Caroliner
Vessel Model: Plans to build 30' Spira Sitka
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,080
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...tions/messages
__________________

__________________
BEN'S BOAT BLOG

ben2go is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 11:18 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
City: Baltimore
Country: us
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 305
I know some love it but i have tried Opencpn and it is unstable on all 3 of my laptops. are there any others?
eseyoung is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 11:31 AM   #4
Guru
 
ben2go's Avatar
 
City: Upstate,SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: The Caroliner
Vessel Model: Plans to build 30' Spira Sitka
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,080
Try Laptop GPS World .Here is the way I did mine. USB GPS BU-353 and Earth Bridge - Setup Instructions - Laptop GPS World and use this to make offline maps EarthBridge Without Internet? - Laptop GPS World
__________________
BEN'S BOAT BLOG

ben2go is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 12:00 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
seasalt007's Avatar
 
City: Punta Gorda, FL
Country: U.S.
Vessel Name: Aweigh
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 481
Sometime ago I downloaded Sea Clear found it to be tedious. I never could get it to open the chart that I downloaded for it. Then I joined it's Yahoo group and saw that I was not the only one that had questions on how to make it work. The forum is very busy helping people who want to dedicate enough time to understand it. That's too much for me.
seasalt007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 12:10 PM   #6
Guru
 
Ski in NC's Avatar
 
City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,887
I used maptech for a few years, found it buggy and prone to lock up. Finally bought Coastal Explorer based on input from this site. Works very well and has not locked up. Worth the money.
Ski in NC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 12:14 PM   #7
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,903
OpenCPN...previous versions unstable with my old puck..the newer version and new USB puck are super...
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,797
For free, OpenCPN. A lot of people prefer to step up $50 to Polar Navy's PolarView NS, which I have played around with and really like. They have a 30 day free trial demo:

Polar Navy - Marine Navigation Software

As a side piece of of trivia, we got to know the originator of OpenCPN while rafted up with his huge aluminum catamaran Nyad (nickname "BigDumbBoat") on the same mooring for a couple of days at Vero Beach. Pretty cool.
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 01:36 PM   #9
Guru
 
djmarchand's Avatar
 
City: East Greenwich, RI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Model: Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,879
OpenCpn has a long standing bug in that it won't work long with the ubiquitous BU-353 GPS without dropping out. But there is a pretty easy workaround. Install XPort and use one of its virtual com ports.

With that one problem, OpenCpn is by far the best free, full featured nav product available for Windows PCs. It supports both free raster and vector NOAA charts.

As a paid product, Coastal Explorer is tops.

David
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 02:20 PM   #10
Guru
 
windmill29130's Avatar
 
City: Little River SC
Vessel Name: JAZ
Vessel Model: Ta Chaio/CT35
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 716
Quote:
Originally Posted by seasalt007 View Post
What is the latest and best free PC based navigation program?

Although my bridge is not as protected as a pilot house I still would like to have a laptop running somewhere on the boat and to use as a route planner.

Previously I have used paid programs such as The Captain and Maptec but my versions are out of date.

I am assuming that charts can be downloaded free from the gov't.

I have a USB hockey puck GPS.
I have used Sea Clear 2 for years and love it.
__________________
Tracy & Susie Hellman 1985 Ta Chiao CT 35
Twin Lehman Super 90's Westerbeke 4.4kw
Lightkeepers Marina -Little River, SC
windmill29130 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 03:21 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
mattkab's Avatar
 
City: Tacoma
Country: USA
Vessel Name: C:\[ESC]
Vessel Model: 2002 Bayliner 4788
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 238
Send a message via Skype™ to mattkab
Many people have already mentioned OpenCPN... I find it to be fantastic.

I've been running it on a Raspberry Pi for a few months, and it works fine -- but I have some additional plans (autopilot, AIS) and the Rpi is simply too low-powered for that. As a straight chartplotter, though, I think it's fine.

This past weekend I got it up and running in a long afternoon on a CubieTruck (another small single-board computer but more powerful). I'll write up those steps too.

I have been using a BU-353 GPS puck with it, and have never had a problem with it dropping. In fact I had it running for about 6 hours on Sunday while we did some woodwork, and it was still holding a fix when I shut down. Not saying there isn't a bug, just saying I haven't seen it.

As a software engineer, I also like that I can write plugins for it and expand the capabilities -- I haven't completely finished them, but I wrote two plugins for it already, and will probably write more.
__________________
Thanks,
Matt B.
http://mvcesc.wordpress.com/
mattkab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 03:33 PM   #12
Guru
 
djmarchand's Avatar
 
City: East Greenwich, RI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Model: Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,879
Matt:

The GPS dropout problem started with Windows 7. It was related somehow to the BU-353 driver. It might have been fixed by now but as of a few years ago wasn't.

I pretty much gave up on OpenCpn then when I got a Nexus 7 and used MxMariner as my backup. MxMariner is nowhere near as full featured as OpenCpn, but it does support the offline ActiveCaptain database, so it works for me.

David
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 03:43 PM   #13
Guru
 
N4712's Avatar
 
City: South FL
Country: U.S.A
Vessel Name: Oliver
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 47 Hull# 12
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,613
I've been debating about getting OpenCPN and hooking my Navico Broadband radar into it. Anybody try that?
__________________
Thanks, Oliver
M/V Oliver
Nordhavn 47 Hull #12
N4712 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 03:53 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
mattkab's Avatar
 
City: Tacoma
Country: USA
Vessel Name: C:\[ESC]
Vessel Model: 2002 Bayliner 4788
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 238
Send a message via Skype™ to mattkab
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Matt:

The GPS dropout problem started with Windows 7. It was related somehow to the BU-353 driver. It might have been fixed by now but as of a few years ago wasn't.
Ah, that makes sense. I will say that OpenCPN today vs. OpenCPN of even 2 years ago is worlds different, especially with regards to stability. I've not seen it directly responsible for a crash in years -- except when I crash it by writing bad plugin code.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
I pretty much gave up on OpenCpn then when I got a Nexus 7 and used MxMariner as my backup. MxMariner is nowhere near as full featured as OpenCpn, but it does support the offline ActiveCaptain database, so it works for me.
Yeah, if you find something you like, stay with it. No reason to change for the sake of change.
__________________
Thanks,
Matt B.
http://mvcesc.wordpress.com/
mattkab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 05:29 PM   #15
TF Site Team
 
FlyWright's Avatar
 
City: California Delta and SF Bay
Country: Sacramento, CA, USA (boat in Vallejo)
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10,179
Mattkab, what kind of plug ins have you developed?

Is there any way to display Marinetraffic or Boatbeacon AIS data on the OpenCPN plot?
__________________
Al

Custom Google Trawler Forum Search
FlyWright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 05:58 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
mattkab's Avatar
 
City: Tacoma
Country: USA
Vessel Name: C:\[ESC]
Vessel Model: 2002 Bayliner 4788
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 238
Send a message via Skype™ to mattkab
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Mattkab, what kind of plug ins have you developed?
The first plugin is, for my purposes, complete. It's designed to remind me to do a safety sweep (lookout) while the boat is underway and being steered by the autopilot. Essentially it looks for an active route, and brings up an alert every X minutes (defined in settings):


The second is not quite finished. It pulls down the active radar imagery from NOAA and overlays it on the map. It works, but not in OpenGL mode, and it doesn't automatically download the imagery yet.


Source to both is on github.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Is there any way to display Marinetraffic or Boatbeacon AIS data on the OpenCPN plot?
Marinetraffic has an API that could possibly be used. You'd have to contact them to determine cost.

But, the direction I'm going towards is to get live AIS signals over VHF and display it on OpenCPN. Many other people have already blazed this trail, I'm just standing on their shoulders. Early tests have been successful, but I have not yet confirmed it.

This is all for fun for me, and so the progress is slow. Interrupted quite often by work, life, and what not.
__________________
Thanks,
Matt B.
http://mvcesc.wordpress.com/
mattkab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 09:12 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
City: Baltimore, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Starshine
Vessel Model: 1989 Bayliner 3288
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 157
I used Sea Clear 2 for years with out a problem. I recently spent the $50 and got Polar Navy which is a great product.
johnrupp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2014, 09:19 PM   #18
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,903
Used this GPS with my recent OpenCPN without a hitch now for the last 2 years now...Dell laptop and windows 7... it seemed to be the serial port GPS that drove me crazy...the USB one has been near perfect.

Globalsat BU-353-S4 Weather-proof USB GPS Receiver
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2014, 12:45 AM   #19
QB
Senior Member
 
QB's Avatar
 
City: San Diego and Gabriola
Country: USA and Canada
Vessel Name: Skookum Maru
Vessel Model: Ed Monk design #1924
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 215
GPS and AIS NMEA sentences from a Standard Horizon GX2200 multiplexed through a Shipmodul Miniplex Lite to USB input on a Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga running a recent beta release of OpenCPN works well. A very useful tool.
QB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2014, 03:17 AM   #20
Guru
 
Daddyo's Avatar


 
City: Cruising East Coast US
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Grace
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,441
I have used Polar Navy the last few years for the length of the east coast and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It just works!
__________________

__________________
Mark Bowerman
Brokerage owner and cruiser
Esse Quam Videri
http://graceyachting.com/
Daddyo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012