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Old 02-20-2010, 07:33 AM   #1
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Laptop/GPS integration

Is anyone using their laptop as a plotter,* and what software program are you using.* I am looking to set up a system this season, and wondered if anyone had any favorite program that seems to work well.* I'm not looking for anything fancy, just down-loadable government charts, and simple navigation stuff.

Any input would be welcome.
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:56 AM   #2
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

Dan, You can download a free program called Seaclear and get the charts from NOAA. With a usb GPS puck attached you are up and running for less than $50.00. Chuck
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:14 AM   #3
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

Thanks Chuck, I am on my way.

Dan
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:15 PM   #4
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

I picked up a cheap laptop from Office Depot and put Mapquest on it. Mapquest had a complete set of charts for the entire US for $25 and a GPS receiver for around $115. Been keeping all the data on an external harddrive for safe keeping.


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Old 02-20-2010, 06:43 PM   #5
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

Mapquest? I think you probably mean Maptech.

My choice is Coastal Explorer by Rose Point Navigation. Seems to be the new leader in PC based charting systems. We have used it for the last four years and have never had any problems either with their software or with the way it runs on Windows.

Coastal Explorer uses raster and vector charts from NOAA (furnished with the software upon purchase and easily downloaded off the internet for updates).*

The retail price is $399 but you can usually find it for $299 at boat shows. They have excellent customer service and actually answer their phones with real people. They are based near Seattle and the founder/CEO is an active boater.

Check out http://rosepointnav.com/.*
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:27 PM   #6
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

Quote:
sloboat wrote:

Thus far, I've been unable to get a*Garmin 18-CE from one of their*street map systems to interface with Seaclear.* Pretty sure it's operator error, but in this particular case it's not as simple as plugging it in.**I'd recommend a visit to the Seaclear*website to investigate*computer software/antenna compatability*before purchasing a USB antenna.**

-- Edited by sloboat on Saturday 20th of February 2010 11:07:09 AM


I suspect your problem is not "operator error".* My recollection is that Garmin's products all run "proprietary code".....and they will not readily or easily integrate with any other device other than their own.*
*
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:23 PM   #7
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

JAT,

Garmin units generally default to a "Garmin" output protocal BUT most of them can be set, through the setup menu, to output the NMEA 0183 protocal. NMEA 0183 is what virtually all other electronics use to communicate with each other. Most PCs will require either a serial or USB input of NMEA data to link the external GPS with the computer and therefore the navigation software.

I use a Garmin GPSMap 76 with my laptop when making deliveries on client boats. On my own boat the main GPS is a Garmin GPS17HVS and the 76 serves as a backup.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:33 AM   #8
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

JAT, That is correct however you are simply using the GPS function and can not use or view any of the Garmin charts on the computer. Chuck
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:08 PM   #9
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

Sloboat;
I had a problem getting my Garmin GPS input recognized by my charting program. Then found there was a patch from the Capn site, just for Garmin. Maybe there is a patch for Garmin at your charting prog site.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:29 PM   #10
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

I'm using Nobeltec, which has worked well for me. I just talked with our local marine electronics technician, who is once again cautiously ready to recommend Nobeltec. He saiid over the last year, their firm was recommending Coastal Explorer over Nobletec because customer service at Nobeltec had almost collapsed.

His take on matters (from talking with insiders at the tech level) is that when things started going sideways with the boeing Dreamliner, anything that wasn't related got no funding or support. Now that Boeing has sold Nobeltec, he believes things are back on track.

I see that as good news as a long time user, since I didn't want to invest in new software and start over.

Charting on laptops works great for me. Looking forward, it's beginning to make economic sense to use a notebook, as that is much less expense than just a display. Granted, there are some drawbacks, like needing an inverter to keep a notebook running, but if you have an inverter already, the it becomes intriguing.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

I have Nobeltec on my laptop using a Sitex gps unit. Trouble free after 3 seasons. The computer does nothing but chart plotting. This spring I am having a class B AIS unit set up that will display and overlay*on Nobeltec charts.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:33 PM   #12
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

Put me down as another vote for Coastal Explorer. Free NOAA charts, and I purchased the Canadian series to cover our favorite cruising grounds. Simple to use, excellent support, standard Windows interface. I use a backup Furuno GPS for position data.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:43 PM   #13
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

BS2, No I have not been in touch with Maptech. Sorry


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Old 02-22-2010, 08:57 PM   #14
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RE: Laptop/GPS integration

I've been using Rosepoint for the last three years aboard both the Arctic Traveller, and the Scorpius.* It has worked remarkably well on both my desktops used for every day navigation, and also on my laptop used for back up. Tech support has been very good for the few little issues that have come up, and integrating an AIS reciever was truly plug and play.*

The lap top uses a GPS puck from Delorme, and works great, although I had to go to the Delorme site, and download what I think they called an "emulation driver"? Once installed, it worked fine. I like the desktop units for several reasons. First they are very inexpensive since they don't need a lot of memory or computing power.* Secondly, they are never connected to the internet, and never have any additional software, photos, games or music installed on them.* The run as fast as when new, and will never have virus problems.* The laptop is only used for back-up, and since it's often connected to the internet, I feel it's less reliable, but viable as a backup. ..............Arctic Traveller
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