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Old 01-18-2017, 12:46 PM   #1
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How do you use your iPad/Android for navigation?

Here has been a bunch of discussion about the importance of iPads, androids, etc as part of ones navigation electronics suite. I'm interested to hear how people use them on a day to day basis.

Do you use it to mirror your chart plotter/MFD screen? And if so, where and how? Do you carry it around the boat and monitor progress remotely rather than being at the helm? Do you take it up to your fly bridge and use it as a second nav station instead of a second MFD?

Do you use it just as a backup chart plotter in case of failure of your primary device?

Do you use it to explore and plan routes while at home or in the comfort of your salon, and then transfer than info to your main navigation system for actual piloting, or just use your main system without transferring any data?

Do you use it as your primary navigation system rather than using a chart plotter or MFD?

Or anything else?
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:08 PM   #2
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I run memory map on 3 different android devices and they serve as my primary and the boat's hardwired plotters as backups. I run a number of different vessels including my bowrider, my father's trawler and various boats at a sailing school, it is great to use the same interface no matter what boat I am on so I am not relearning a different device. The 10" display on my largest tablet is larger than the hardwired displays on all of the boats I frequently run. It is really nice to plan the trip from anywhere (on charts that are always current due to the low price of updates ($15)). There are definitely drawbacks, some can be overcome while others I just live with. The display in full sunlight is not as good as most MFD's, they are not as robust to environmental abuse, gps chip is probably less sophisticated and it takes either a lot of tech savy or significant cost to get them fully integrated with your boat's network. I'm a big fan and I expect it will be the way of the future as they dramatically lower the cost of hardware and provide flexibility of programing and networking.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Here has been a bunch of discussion about the importance of iPads, androids, etc as part of ones navigation electronics suite. I'm interested to hear how people use them on a day to day basis.
Great question.

I have an Android phone and a non-cellular iPad. When on the boat, I use my phone as a wifi hotspot for the iPad.

I use the iPad with Nav apps at home or on the boat for some basic planning. I don't set way points on the iPad at this time.

Under way, I have a Bad Elf gps that I plug into the iPad as a backup to my Raymarine plotters.

I have some tide, current, and weather apps on my Anddroid phone that I use a lot. It is quick to check tides near my current location that way.

So far, I find using my Raymarine plotters to be more convenient than using the iPad for primary navigation. If I didn't have a decent electronics suite, then I may think differently.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:21 PM   #4
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My iPad is my main display into the internet. I'm probably in front of it for 4-5 hours a day. It's clearly a navigation and planning tool too.

I think iPad's provide the next generation of navigation device combining everything we traditionally think chartplotters are about with the ease-of-use and connectivity of internet devices.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:50 PM   #5
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I suppose I should answer my own question too.

I use mine the same way I do when not on the boat. Email, TF, a little browsing. But none of that has anything to do with navigation.

I do have Navioncs on my iPad, and use it on occasion to look at charts, mostly when flying. I've used it a number of times to figure out what I'm flying over which is fun. But it's never really for any form of navigation.

I also have an older iPad that I keep on the boat and use as a bed-side screen replicator. I have a graphical anchor watch and weather screen on my nav computer that I keep up when we are anchored. Using VNC I screen share that to the iPad, and have the iPad set up to never turn off. If it turns off, it requires fussing to get the screen sharing back up again. So I just keep it plugged in and have a book cover jacket to block the light. But it's great for doing a real quick check of our anchor status and the weather conditions while sleeping.

I also use the same iPad and screen sharing to monitor tank levels while fueling, and sometimes while performing other maintenance tasks.

They are great tools, but for me, not a fit for any sort of primary navigation. Daylight visibility, and water resistance are probably the main reasons. Also reliability of wifi at various extremes of my boat is another, but as Jeffrey S pointed out in another thread, that's a solvable problem with one or more repeaters, or perhaps even just better placement of my base station. But I also only use wifi for portable devices (laptops, phones, ipads). Everything else is wired gigabit ethernet with hard coded address. So my nav gear will all work even of my router dies, and devices will never be waiting around for a DHCP server. All the core equipment depends on is a small gige switch that could be swapped out in about 5 minutes.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:09 PM   #6
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Looking out the window and a depth sounder was my primary navigation method. Navionics on an iPhone 5 and an iPad mini where my primary "electronic" navigation aids. No auto pilot.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey S View Post
My iPad is my main display into the internet. I'm probably in front of it for 4-5 hours a day. It's clearly a navigation and planning tool too.

I think iPad's provide the next generation of navigation device combining everything we traditionally think chartplotters are about with the ease-of-use and connectivity of internet devices.
I know someone with a Hinckley Picnic Boat that has 2 Ipads at the helm and not much else...even his primary engine displays are on one or both.

Essentially a glass cockpit.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:22 PM   #8
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I use my IPad or IPhone when operating from the flybridge. It mirrors the Raymarine MFD which is located at the lower helm. It allows me to do nearly all of the MFD's functions on the iPad. The only function that comes to mind that you can't do is engage or disengage the auto pilot.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:46 PM   #9
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I usually have 2 iPads running in independently but in parallel with my chartplotter. WiFi connection is not necessary as all the content is device resident. Navionics has excellent charts and is the easiest of all systems to update. Their charts are consistently more up to date than any other system. Since we primarily operate from the pilot house and only use the bridge in nice weather, we have no concerns about water resistance. The auto route function is very handy for mid day what/if planning. I don't use it for my primary routing but as an auxiliaryplanning tool it is fantastic.
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:41 PM   #10
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My boat had no nav devices when I bought her. I started with GPSNavX on my Mac, with a puck gps. After a few months, I installed iNavX on an iPad 2, with its internal gps. I was worried about depending on 'droppable' devices, so I put in a stand-alone Lowrance 7" fixed unit, with dedicated antenna.

I leave BC on July 1st, for a trip to the Caribbean, via the canal, and plan to carry to Europe in a year or two. I've decided to increase the resilience of my Apple network.... the Mac will be the primary, getting its fix and AIS feed from a new Vesper 8000 transponder, with dedicated antenna. One iPad will run iNavx, with fix and AIS from the Vesper, and a second iPad will be always-on, but using its own internal GPS (and AIS from the Vesper). All will have Gribs available, and tide/current data from AyeTides.
I have radar, but that is stand alone, and the AP is from CPT, so that's stand-alone too.

Having relied on Apple for six years in the PNW, I've never experienced any app issues: I have had several panic moments when the puck crapped out, or the iPad got overloaded. I reckon I'll have more than enough redundancy built in to my new array.

I'll let you know!
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Here has been a bunch of discussion about the importance of iPads, androids, etc as part of ones navigation electronics suite. I'm interested to hear how people use them on a day to day basis.

Do you use it to mirror your chart plotter/MFD screen? And if so, where and how? Do you carry it around the boat and monitor progress remotely rather than being at the helm? Do you take it up to your fly bridge and use it as a second nav station instead of a second MFD?

Do you use it just as a backup chart plotter in case of failure of your primary device?

Do you use it to explore and plan routes while at home or in the comfort of your salon, and then transfer than info to your main navigation system for actual piloting, or just use your main system without transferring any data?

Do you use it as your primary navigation system rather than using a chart plotter or MFD?

Or anything else?
I use my android tablet for almost all the usage you mentionned. First to plan my route ahead in the evening in my bed. Also along my chart plotter as the display is nicer. Also for redundancy. And finally for ease of use. Can move with it, easy to update maps etc. And finally, it is cheap compared to a chartplotter.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:29 PM   #12
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I have an Ipad and an Iphone, both with Garmin Bluechart and Active captain on them, didn't know about Navionics at the time, and use them primarily to zoom out or in on an area when travelling to get a different view as compared to the Chartplotter. No autopilot so we can look ahead for markers, buoys etc. I also have another chartplotter on the flybridge so it is really not a backup for these units. As others have stated it is also our primary way of keeping in touch and surfing the net so long as we have either a wifi or data signal.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:26 PM   #13
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We use two Android tablets, only as backups to the chartplotter. Usually running the app with whichever chart type (raster or vector) that's not being displayed on the chartplotter at the time, as a complement.

We might occasionally do some light planning on one of the tablets if it happens to be nearby when we have an idea about a potential cruise... but more likely, planning happens on a laptop with MaxSea.

We seldom bother with waypoints, so we have no huge need for creating waypoints on a tablet and transferring... and our chartplotter is old enough so we'd need to add a cable or an external wireless capability to fool with that anyway... more trouble than it'd be worth, to us.

I can transfer waypoints from MaxSea on the laptop if I want to, via SD card; did it once, just to see how it worked. No great epiphany afterwards...

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Old 01-18-2017, 05:30 PM   #14
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I use an iPad running iNavX and a PC running Coastal Explorer as chartplotters. Both get GPS and AIS data over WiFi from a Vesper Marine XB-8000. The Simrad MFD is used purely for radar.

If I'm taking the dinghy far, I use an iPad running Navionics as a chartplotter. A RAM mount secured to the dinghy seat holds the iPad in a waterproof case.

I use autorouting on Navionics (either iPhone or iPad) to get real-time distance and time to various "what if" destinations. Plotting the next day's route is done on Coastal Explorer...much bigger screen and I can toggle between various types of chart.

I never found any use for the Simrad WiFi module, but I do have the hardware and apps to mirror and/or control the MFD from iOS devices.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:39 PM   #15
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I bought my 1990 GB 32 late last year. I came with 2 Garmin 2010 plotters. Charts are no longer available, not even on Ebay, so these plotters are basically good as boat anchors.
So....I have gone to Navionics on an iPad as my main chart plotter. Has 90% of the Garmin functionality as is MUCH more user-friendly. Only problem...the depth sounder ONLY shows as a window in the Garmin; at the lower helm there is no stand-alone depth readout. BUT...I just bought for about $150 a SonarPhone wireless unit. The transducer is supposed to be a transom mount, but they say it will work just fine inside the boat, shooting thru the fiberglass hull. The wireless unit mounts in the engine room and they have interfaced with Navionics. I will install it soon and hopefully I will have depth as a window in the Navionics chart at either helm. If all this works, I will remove both Garmin and put them on Ebay. I'm told people buy them, even if totally obsolete, to use as "donor units" for parts to repair other Garmins. Here's hoping...
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:51 PM   #16
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We're tablet fanatics. We're never without one. We use them for everything. Just a few things. Now some of these things we also do on our phones as they're really miniature tablets when you think about it.

Additional navigational tools.
Access to AC and to these forums
Control A/V Equipment at home and on boat plus DVR's.
Alarms for any boat issues
Check security cameras home and boat
Maintain records of all parts on board and all maintenance. Access all manuals. Record engine checks. Log trips.
Check on business activities
Check and write emails
Skype with people at home and especially our niece
GPS navigation on land.

In our business, every person from the assistant manager position up has a tablet. People spend minimum time at a desk.

I'm sure the list above is just partial and there's much more I'm not thinking of right now.
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:24 PM   #17
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Our iPad is certainly a valuable backup to the chartplotter, though we do not have GPS capability. The major benefit is that we are paperless with the iPad.

1. Navionics - primary tide/current tables, primary navigational planning, secondary for navigation underway

2. Internet via phone hotspot/booster - marine and local weather, email, home security status, etc.

3. Publications - Wagonners, Volvo Penta docs, etc.
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:21 PM   #18
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Raymarine suite with upper and lower displays as primary. Navionics on Samsung tab as back up. Charts are within arms reach. Sure beats the old flasher for depth and only old charts at the helm.
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:05 PM   #19
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I have an iPad mounted off the side of the helm, and use Navionics. Love Nav for route planning, fuel burn estimation, etc.

Simrad has an app to mirror the Mdf through Bluetooth. It's ok, but loses connection fairly often.

I also use it for other routine things mentioned. Best 500 bucks I have spent.

It will be interesting to see where the pads end up as far as navigation and other aspects. I was on a boat at a boat show that had four iPads mounted on the helm, and all supposedly integrated..
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Old 01-18-2017, 08:44 PM   #20
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We used the IPAD 2 with Navionics last year on our cruise, so much so, that we just purchased a new IPAD Pro big tablet and will download Navionics on it. For us, the Navionics has the best of everything. We have older Raymarine chartplotters onboard and use them as our secondary navigation.

The Ipads are our go to devices for email, weather forecast, reservations, parts search and so on. The admiral uses her MacBook for everything and next month it goes in for upgrades like memory, new digital hard drive, and new battery.

We used it last year tied into a 19 inch tv monitor, until we determined that the monitor was causing magnetic interference with the compass and auto pilot. After searching extensively for a monitor that wouldn't cause interference, we purchased the large IPAD. Then I made a cradle out of starboard and mounted that where the monitor was. Covered up the holes and provided a mount for the IPADs. So far everything works as it should. We plan a couple short shake down runs before heading to Alaska in April, just to make sure we have no new issues.

Hope that helps.
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