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Old 10-18-2009, 01:22 PM   #1
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Navigational Software Questions

We, like many cruisers, we are finding ourselves using navigational programs more and more on our cruises. We currently run about 8 different programs, navigation, tides and a few others. We have often thought there is a real need to find a combined program that would give us maximum information in one program. So I thought I would throw the questions out to members of the board.
1. In addition to your charts, what other information would you like to be able to access on the same screen?
2. While actively cruising outside your main home area, what information is most important to you?
3. How would you prefer to be able to access this information, computer via software, computer via internet, mobile device, all of the above.
4. What current systems now best provide that information?
I hope this isn't too much information, but for the folks out there considering development of new applications for the cruising community, this information could be invaluable, and for those of us looking for the ultimate in electronic aids it will provide us with more useful applications and less bells and whistles we might never use. Thanks to all. Chuck
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:56 PM   #2
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

Holy batcrap batman, is there anywhere you haven't posted this same question? Everytime I open a forum there is the same question.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:22 PM   #3
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

So then how about a reply? Chuck
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

I believe there was a reply on the CHB board about a particular program and your reply was that you'd already looked at it and knew about it. So, why would others give their reply to a subject that has been talked about at length on several boards and then get an answer that you already knew?

Seems like if you really wanted answers you'd do the research and then ask a specific question about the program you thought you wanted.

Just my opinion, yours may vary and I may be wrong.

Ken
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:00 PM   #5
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

Ken, I have researched many programs and I am not looking for a specific program to buy or use for myself. I am researching information by posting the questions, and if they are on different boards that is because not everyone that frequents this board also visits every other board. Quite the contrary there are many folks on those other boards that don't visit here. The purpose is to generate discussion, I believe that is what these boards are for, other than what kind of anchor should I use. If you will point me to wherever the specific questions I have ask have been discussed at length I will be happy to reread those posts. There may be others that have not found all of those discussions and would benefit from the comments of others as well as others that might want to share their thoughts on my questions. Those that find the discussion unnecessary are also free to ignore it, as are those that already know everything there is to know. How would asking questions on discussion boards frequented by boaters NOT be part of someones research? The response I have received from almost every other board other than this one has been positive and informative. In addition to open board responses I have received many direct email responses so the subject must be of interest to someone. Anyone can probably go to any question posed on this board and find it has been ask before so should the discussions be stopped and the board limited to a search button? Chuck
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:26 PM   #6
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Navigational Software Questions

Quote:
Capn Chuck wrote:

1. In addition to your charts, what other information would you like to be able to access on the same screen?
2. While actively cruising outside your main home area, what information is most important to you?
*We don't use computer or laptop-based navigation systems for several reasons but your first two questions seem applicable to anyone regardless of what sort of navigation system they prefer to use.

1.*Features in addition to the raw*charts themselves----

- Information/descriptions about navaids, hazards, and prominent land features (towers, stacks, etc).*
- Up-to-date port information (contact info, fuel, food, laundry, etc.).*
- Names and contact information for boatyards and repair shops (diesel, electrical, etc.)*
- A feature in automotive GPS systems I like are contact*numbers and addresses*of the police, hospital, etc. facilities closest to your current position.
- ETA to next waypoint AND ETA to final destination on the display together.* Some systems probably have this, but some give ETA to the next waypoint but you have to go into a menu item to get ETA or total time to the destination.
-* The "noodle" to use an aviation term.* This is the projected course and distance line in front of the "my boat" symbol on the chart.* It shows where you will be in an interval you determine, either a time or a distance. at the speed*you are going at the*course you are on.* The stand-alone nav systems I've used have this--- I assume the software-based systems do, too, but*if they don't I*find it a valuable feature.
- If I used the navigation system for fishing, seeing an accurate,*"real view"*depiction of the bottom contours would be great.
- Photos of marinas and anchorages.
- Dock diagrams of marinas.
- A call-up chart listing all the VHF frequencies and their uses*(calling, VTS, commercial, etc.)
-* A call up chart listing/illustrating horn signals, nav light patterns, and day signal*shapes and their meanings.
-* A call up chart listing/illustrating the various navaid markings, colors, shapes, etc.
- Lighted navaid symbols on the chart that flash with the correct color and frequency of the actual navaid.* Our Furuno NavNet VX2 has this and it's come in handy on occasion.
-* Current strength and direction tied into the current time.* If*not everywhere on the chart, at least in those places where current direction and strength are important, like passes, narrows,*and channels.* Our Furuno (C-Map) has this feature.
- Tide charts.* Most decent nav systems seem to have this but it's a very useful item.

2.* Most important information outside of home area

-Boat's position relative to surroundings, navaids, hazards, depths,*etc.* Everything else is just "nice to have."


-- Edited by Marin on Friday 23rd of October 2009 05:37:48 PM
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:02 PM   #7
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

That is quite a list. One interesting thing I have observed is that like you many folks have a laundry list of wants for their navigational programs. On the other hand they have commented that the programs offer too much information. Is it possible that the programs out there provide a lot of info but not necessarily what the average cruiser wants, or is it just hard to get to? Chuck
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:29 PM   #8
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

I suspect people get frustrated with having too much information because it's either too hard to call up or it's plastered over the basic information that is all the user wants to see most of the time.

A display of horn signals and nav light displays may be needed only a few times a year. We have them on one of those laminated cards you can buy, but the few times we've wanted to look something up we first have to go hunting for the card. So it would be nice to punch it up on the nav screen, see what we need to know, and then punch it away until we need it again six months later.

What I don't like is when a display automatically puts up more information than I want. But given today's computing power, be it in a stand-alone nav system which is what I prefer or a desktop/laptop nav application, I like the idea of having as much information as one could need available for display if and when the user wants it.

Another thing that I feel is essential in a nav system, stand-alone or application-based, is the user interface needs to be really intuitive. There is a tendency in a lot of applications to bury stuff in menus and submenus. This, I believe, is a legacy from the Microsoft Kids who I have heard called the laziest code-writers on the planet because they let their applications get increasingly bogged down with old code as they "improve" them. Complex interfaces are also the result of "because we can" syndrome, which is not confined the Microsoft Kids. You end up with tons of functions and features, many of which a user has no use for whatsoever. But the're there because they can be.

So even though my wish list may be long, the only way I would actually tolerate it in a nav system is if items like Port Info or light and horn signal descriptions were a) not visible unless I wanted them to be and b) easy to find and call up when I wante them.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:48 PM   #9
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

Furuno NavNet 3D is the answer!!!!

And I don't know if anyone has a Netbook, but you can find them for less than 300 bucks brand new and are capable of running any software nav program. They usually run WIndows XP and are stripped of all the crap(hence their price) and run VERY VERY stably(is that a word). ANyway, I have bought one of these marvels and have not emploed it as a nav tool but it would be great for one....not to mention it has a brighter screen than any laptop I have seen.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:05 AM   #10
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

I suppose that would pose another question. For those that prefer and use a computer now for their nav programs, would a small stand alone computer, pre loaded, just for that purpose be a better solution? Chuck
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:15 AM   #11
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

Chuck,

I would think a stand alone computer dedicated to your nav program will be the best solution. The computer should not be connected to the Internet. This way you would have a pretty stable configuration (no automatic Windows or driver or nav program or . updates). This is the way I have set it up on my boat.
*
One reason to stay away from those new Netbooks is that they have the tiniest of screens. In my experience; the bigger the better (to a limit of course). In my own boat cruising the fjords and islands of the Norwegian coast at 8k, I find the 15 inch screen of my Dell laptop to be just adequate. I started of years ago with an 11 - 12 inch screen. I hope I never have to revert to that small size again. One problem I have found with laptop panels is that thy never can be dimmed down sufficiently when running at night.
Besides my own boat, I also operate a fast going Search And Rescue vessel (45 feet/cruising speed 30k). For navigation the boat has a NavNet VX2 Black Box system and a dedicated nav computer. In front of the helmsman on starboard and in front the guy on port there are 15 inch LCD panels. In center there is a 19 inch panel. All are dimmable all the way down to pure black. All panels have source selector switch. Normally we run with the radar on starboard, chart in centre and radar or FLIR or backing camera on port screen.
The best pictures I have of this setup are from a fire fighting operation in a marina a couple of years ago. (The side starboard/port panels barely visible)
http://www.nssr.no/Andre+sider/Visni...kkel?key=40820
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:45 PM   #12
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

I totally agree with Rossow - Dedicated laptop computer, with a monitor,*not hooked up to the internet. That is what I have running my Nobeltec. In addition I* have a 2 station Raymarine radar/chartplotter with*dedicated screens. So far all systems have not given a spec of trouble.
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Old 10-24-2009, 04:01 PM   #13
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

Quote:
Capn Chuck wrote:

Ken, I have researched many programs and I am not looking for a specific program to buy or use for myself. I am researching information by posting the questions, and if they are on different boards that is because not everyone that frequents this board also visits every other board. Quite the contrary there are many folks on those other boards that don't visit here. The purpose is to generate discussion, I believe that is what these boards are for, other than what kind of anchor should I use. If you will point me to wherever the specific questions I have ask have been discussed at length I will be happy to reread those posts. There may be others that have not found all of those discussions and would benefit from the comments of others as well as others that might want to share their thoughts on my questions. Those that find the discussion unnecessary are also free to ignore it, as are those that already know everything there is to know. How would asking questions on discussion boards frequented by boaters NOT be part of someones research? The response I have received from almost every other board other than this one has been positive and informative. In addition to open board responses I have received many direct email responses so the subject must be of interest to someone. Anyone can probably go to any question posed on this board and find it has been ask before so should the discussions be stopped and the board limited to a search button? Chuck
Nope Chuck, you're right and I'm wrong. All your private replies have been very valuable and informative to us here on the forum.

Please be first in line to answer my questions about how many microns my fuel filters should have, what size anchor I need and how many horsepower I need. I'm sure the answers have changed and I wouldn't want to have a shortage of things to discuss on here.

YTTIC
Ken

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Old 10-24-2009, 04:14 PM   #14
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

Quote:
sunchaser wrote:

I totally agree with Rossow - Dedicated laptop computer, with a monitor,*not hooked up to the internet. That is what I have running my Nobeltec. In addition I* have a 2 station Raymarine radar/chartplotter with*dedicated screens. So far all systems have not given a spec of trouble.
I understand the issue of not wanting to connect to the internet, but given that, how would updates be received? Chuck
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #15
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RE: Navigational Software Questions

I have several computers to download to and then transfer data via a CD - but I don't do it that way, so far anyway.*My friendly marine electronics guy downloads new charts to a CD for me using my Nobeltec key # so all is legal. All the monthly "upgrades" I don't mess around with anyway.
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