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Old 02-06-2014, 03:34 PM   #1
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Coastal Explorer and Polar View

I know many of you use either Coastal Explorer or Polar View in addition to your dedicated chartplotter program.

i would like to hear your opinions on Coastal Explorer versus Polar View.

My issue at that point is that I am very comfortable with PV and with the new version out in the last few months, they seem to have added a ton of senselessness and usability.

I did download the 10 day trial version of Coastal Explorer and then didn't try to use it for two weeks

OK. So my question is, whether it will be worth my while to pay for the full CE and learn how to use it?? The two main criteria:

1. Ease of Use
2. Availability of world wide charts

IF they both have the same usability, for me meaning being about to fully integrate all data sources, then the cost of charts becomes the primary issue and in fact, as I write this, i realize that is what has prompted me to look at CE in the first place, it doesn't seem that the charts available from PV come in affordable packages.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:46 PM   #2
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Richard,

That's a tough one. Having been a user of CE for about 8 years and never having used Polar View, I can't answer the question fairly. I did look at the Polar View software briefly and their support pages and didn't think they offered quite the same level of help to the customer base as CE. There was another thread on the forum (Laptop vs Garmin I think) that went into various PC based software programs. CE isn't perfect, but I find it much better at navigation, planning, etc than a dedicated chart plotter on infinitely easier to use especially with a trackball or mouse.

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Old 02-06-2014, 07:40 PM   #3
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As a multi-year PolarView user but not CE, I can't compare and contrast. I'm not sure about your concern regarding chart packages. I didn't realize PV sells packages as I always download from the NOAA site. My guess is your worldwide requirement dictates this.

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Old 02-06-2014, 08:02 PM   #4
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So, i just have to get you two together, Dave and Tom, and I'll have my answer.

Barnegat Light and Anchorage, they sound pretty close together.

But both of you have expressed my sense of each package.

I'm pretty sure, i can get far more economical packages using Jepp than Polar View who uses Chartworld for their world wide maps and each one costs E150. and they split the Baltic up into 12 pieces. GMAFB
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:34 PM   #5
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Richard,

I think international charts are a going to be a price issue on either version. CE can use the C-Map charts which are available for much of the world. When I was planning my trip from Anacortes to SE Alaska last summer, I went round and round on what charts to buy. At that time Lowrance didn 't allow chart sharing between MFDs so if I went the Navionics route I would need two sets of charts, one each for the upper and lower helm. With CE, I could run the same package on up to 3 computers so the C-Map route was the best way to go for me. I don't think either software package has an advantage on international charts. Here is an interesting post from Ben Ellison at Panbo on CE charts: Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: C-Maps in Coastal Explorer, never enough charts!

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Old 02-07-2014, 02:08 AM   #6
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Thanks.
Yes, I should add that I shall have the Navionics on my smart phone and on my Raymarine e80 chart plotter, which I will continue to use. I like having two choices of charts.

But I realized that what's implied in my question is whether I should have two or three different sources. And that's my real quandary.
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Old 02-07-2014, 10:38 AM   #7
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I have and use both extensively. I know both developers. Both are wonderful products and for US use, it's a great idea to have both for backup of each other. They can both share the same directory of NOAA charts too so it doesn't use a lot of disk space to have US charts that work on both systems.

So either product is fine. But the moment you mentioned worldwide chart needs...that's the point where CE's C-Map support far overshadows the capabilities of international charts through ChartWorld for PolarView. Again, if you're spending time in the US, both products are good to have but CE is the one you need.
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:02 PM   #8
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I have and use both extensively. I know both developers. Both are wonderful products and for US use, it's a great idea to have both for backup of each other. They can both share the same directory of NOAA charts too so it doesn't use a lot of disk space to have US charts that work on both systems.

So either product is fine. But the moment you mentioned worldwide chart needs...that's the point where CE's C-Map support far overshadows the capabilities of international charts through ChartWorld for PolarView. Again, if you're spending time in the US, both products are good to have but CE is the one you need.
Exactly the conclusion I have reached thanks to everyone's input.

I like having minimum of two options. I got into the trouble I wrote on my post today because i was only using one source.

I'll use both and configue both to recieve as many inputs as possible.

And i am going to contact island PC folks, they seem to be exactly what I need hardware wise.
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Old 02-07-2014, 08:40 PM   #9
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One additional advantage to CE is that it has excellent support for NMEA 2000. If you have it on your boat, then a single wire and interface into your computer gets you all the data from across your boat, plus auto pilot control.
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Old 02-07-2014, 09:11 PM   #10
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CE support of NMEA 2000 is very good for everything but engine instruments. In that they are limited to RPM and total fuel used. I use my Lowrance MFDs for engine instrument monitoring along with and LMF400 gauge all tied to a NMEA 2000 network.

One of the interesting things about CE is splitting the chart windows. You can have C-Map in one window, vector charts in a window, raster in yet another and aerial photos in a fourth all on different scales. The only thing missing is real time overhead imagery but I'm not cleared for that.
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:24 AM   #11
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What are the PV changes? We run PV and are thrilled with it but I have not seen any upgrades to the software.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:17 AM   #12
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I would like to throw a new name into the discussion, Fugawi Marine 5.

You use Raymarine with Navionics charts, so why not use FM5, which can handle Navionics.

If there is a special reason to spend $$$$ for C-Map, than go with CE. If not, the pragmatic approach is FM5. Buy one Navionics-SD and use it in both systems (MFD, FM5), simultaneously of course!
Fugawi Marine 5 - Home

FM5 has at least the features as CE and you can connect FM5 direct (WiFi, cable) to a Raymarine MFD for waypoint and route transfer.

I have different navigation software, land and sea, but on Dodo I use only FM5 and OpenCPN.
OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage

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Old 02-08-2014, 06:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
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What are the PV changes? We run PV and are thrilled with it but I have not seen any upgrades to the software.
For one thing the new version fully integrates the COM service so you no longer need to start it separately and connect to it. To upgrade just do the download as if you are trying it for free and it will see your license and maps on the install.

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Old 02-08-2014, 07:33 AM   #14
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I would like to throw a new name into the discussion, Fugawi Marine 5.
Fugawi compares to PolarView although Fugawi costs much more. I don't think there is any comparison with Fugawi and the capabilities of Coastal Explorer.

The OP mentioned worldwide charts too and given their east coast location, the Bahamas are probably desirable. C-Map for the Bahamas are Explorer Charts which are well-known to be significantly better quality than any other charts, especially Navionics. There was a catamaran lost in the Bahamas last year solely because of Navionics charts showing the incorrect information where the Explorer Charts clearly showed that an inlet was not passable (and sadly, there was an ActiveCaptain hazard there at the time too because too many others had tried the passage before).

OpenCPN was also mentioned. In my opinion, PolarView blows it away especially in terms of reliability, quilting, and overall stability. OCPN is an OK backup but things would have to be really bad for me to fire that up to drive by it. It's major advantage is that it's free. This is just like SeaClear which is also free. PolarView is free for 30 days and then is $49 for 5 copies (PC/Windows and Mac). It's pretty easy to try them all and see how they all work.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:46 AM   #15
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Fugawi compares to PolarView although Fugawi costs much more. I don't think there is any comparison with Fugawi and the capabilities of Coastal Explorer.
Jeffrey, you are a strong advocate for Coastal Explorer, PolarView and C-Map.

Could it be that you are guided by your business interests? It certainly looks like this, because all support ActiveCaptain. Is it not so?

Maybe my English is not good enough and you could not understand me, here the summary:
# I did not say that any of the products is not good. Not a bad word from my side!
# My suggestion was, if Richard wants to have an additional map source, like C-Map, than he should use CE.
And the story of the catamaran Next Life is a poor argument. Remember the U.S. Navy warship ran onto a reef at the Philippines January 2013. The reef was misplaced on the chart of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. That's what happens.

I am experienced user of various navigation, chart and GIS software and I have some terabyte charts on my server. There is no navigation software that fits for all and there is no product that is everyone's darling.

Is it possible, that your preference for C-Map is based on the cooperation of Active Captain and Jeppesen, which is certainly a purely altruistic cooperation for the sake of the boaters.


So your
arguments to promote these without doubt good products are not serious and certainly not objective.

What remains is the feeling that only companies and products supporting Active Corporation are ok. For me, this is the message!

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Old 02-09-2014, 08:11 AM   #16
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Is it possible, that your preference for C-Map is based on the cooperation of Active Captain and Jeppesen, which is certainly a purely altruistic cooperation for the sake of the boaters.
I like C-Map because they have the best map data. They always have. There are numerous examples especially in the Bahamas which is most surely on the "map" of the OP here. Again, only C-Map and Garmin have Explorer chart data for the Bahamas.

I turn down about a product a month now that wants to work with us. And a couple of products have been dropped because they weren't good enough and support was an issue. So in one way, the products that work with us are going to be the better products because I won't work with every one of them. To be honest, Fugawi is on the line. I don't think I'd accept them today unless support also flowed to the software they whitelist for Raymarine and Simrad. There would be an advantage to that but not in their general product in my opinion. Again, compare them to Coastal Explorer for yourself.

My suggestion was to try the free products and trials. I'm the one who mentioned SeaClear which, trust me, has no chance of getting ActiveCaptain support. But I thought it's free and some people like it so it's worth trying.

There's free support for ActiveCaptain on nearly every platform so it doesn't matter what's at the helm to get access to all our data. The suggestions I give about charting software are based on my personal experience just like everyone else's here.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:13 AM   #17
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And the story of the catamaran Next Life is a poor argument. Remember the U.S. Navy warship ran onto a reef at the Philippines January 2013.
I'm sorry I missed this statement in my last reply because, no, the two situations are much different and show very well the difference between Explorer charts and Navionics charts for this case. Your example might be appropriate if the passage was charted the same in all charts. The US Navy was using the best chart data available. But in this cat sinking case, it was the Navionics charts that not only had the chart wrong, but they marked the passage with a dotted magenta line signifying the suggested route.

So as to not bring any opinions into the discussion, attached are three pictures - a screen shot of the Navionics charts at the time of the sinking, a screen shot showing the Explorer data (I used Garmin because it was quicker for me - C-Map has the same chart), and the resulting catamaran in that passage. The passage in question is between Guana Cay and Fowl Cay.

And even better, here's the blog entry from the owners of the catamaran explaining what happened in their own words:
http://onboardnextlife.blogspot.com/...-happened.html

To Navionics credit, this particular passage has been corrected in their most recent update. But this type of difference between Explorer charts and Navionics is well known and discussed in many places for Bahamas areas (I've heard of other problem areas as well).

Tell me this, is that still a poor argument?
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:18 AM   #18
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One additional advantage to CE is that it has excellent support for NMEA 2000. If you have it on your boat, then a single wire and interface into your computer gets you all the data from across your boat, plus auto pilot control.
Thanks Peter and Brady,

Exactly what I need to know, especially since I have to use my Mark One eyeballs to read the engine instruments in any case.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:36 AM   #19
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I like C-Map because they have the best map data. They always have. There are numerous examples especially in the Bahamas which is most surely on the "map" of the OP here. Again, only C-Map and Garmin have Explorer chart data for the Bahamas.

.
And that is this almost happened to me, at least in the sense that I was using basically one chart, one on my MFD and one on smart phone, and while both are Navionics, they are somewhat different, BUT NOT Really.

So, the implied shortcut I tried to take, I was so cautious because while I hoped it was there, I assumed it probably wasn't.

Had I already been using CE, this would not have happened. Also if you read my blog, the real consequence became the storm which I had to go thru because I had wasted so much time in the short cut that wasn't.

In any case, I really appreciate all the advice and input. It makes my life much easier and having made this decision, I'll continue to use Navionics for MDF, continue to use and integrate Polar View at least for the rest of the spring, since I am comfortable with it and will gradually learn CE as it will be my primary in Europe (being able to put different windows on the display and affordability of of World wide charts), with MDF as secondary.

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Old 02-18-2014, 04:49 AM   #20
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Richard, all I can add is I like CE. It is very intuitive to use, lay down routes etc. Really nice with the AIS display. I have the CHS (raster) for BC waters and NOAA raster charts for US waters as well as some vector charts for US waters. I'm uncertain if the vector charts come from a third party provider.

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