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Old 15-10-2010, 20:47   #1
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A Look at Visual Navigation Suite 10.7

I have been a Nobeltec user for nearly 15 years, although lately using Coastal Explorer more. On (Boat Show) sale this week at Defender, so I bit the bullet and bought an upgrade for my Windows 7x64 computer. W7 compatibility is about the only useful new feature in the upgrade, although I had mixed feelings about the dongle. You can now just buy the upgrade and use it as the full system, with no previous version, with no registration, but need to move the dongle between computers to do it. Main issue I have had with it so far is my cat decided it was a toy, and I had to chase it all over the house. Looks like the new owners cleaned the slate, although everything shows they are still partners with Jeppesen.
The USG vector charts are still unusable, as are the old Nobeltec Passport charts unless you pay for an upgrade
The significant bugs from v9 do not appear to be fixed. Marks are not organized alphabetically, so finding them when creating or editing a route is quite a chore. The GPS transfer wizard is still broken, and does not usually work for inbound transfers. And still no user support webite. But at the Defender upgrade price for the full version it is a bargain. And I got good email support when asking questions before I bought it.
On the plus side, installation was flawless, and there was no more making calls to get a new site key. Things seem to work very crisply and rapidly, and the GUI is as before, quite good. I also found out you can transfer data both ways with Coastal Explorer using the ONF format. Definitely a full featured navigation package, now at a reasonable price (unintentionally?), but the dedication of the company to repairing/improving the product appears to be questionable.
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Old 18-10-2010, 07:06   #2
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A couple of the things that are difficult to work with

are attached. Alphabetization of the Mark List and Route Mark list were broken in the transition to 10.7 for Windows 7x64, so good luck in finding the mark you are interested in when you have lots of them. This actually worked in 9.2 under Vista and got broken in the upgrade.
But the second picture shows something that never worked, still doesn't. When you want to insert a waypoint (AKA track mark) into an existing route, the choices are not alphabetized and the waypoint of interest is even harder to find.
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Old 24-10-2010, 08:02   #3
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Have you written to Bill Washburn at Nobeltec? He's the product manager and he's quite responsive.
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Old 24-10-2010, 08:57   #4
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Actually I sent the sorting issue to Nobeltec Support and they passed it on and said it would be a while before it was fixed-it has been over 5 years now, so WTF. "As you can see, our techs have dealt with this issue before. Unfortunately, there is no immediate solution to the problem. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns regarding your Nobeltec software.".
And of course, for the vector chart elimination, "The reason why we use C-map charts is because we see the value in them, especially for the Quicksync feature that provides weekly updates for a year. We hope to address your concerns in future releases of our software." The only value I see is $$$ in Nobeltec's pocket, since the ENCs are provided and updated for free forever even more frequently (and conveniently with Coastal Explorer) and are accurate enough to be approved for Primary Navigation for commercial shipping.
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Old 24-10-2010, 09:08   #5
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I work with all of the different companies who create these products because many of them have ActiveCaptain support or are planning it. Nobeltec is currently adding it and has committed to it in public. There have been some substantial changes to Nobeltec in the last year or so. They were sold by Jeppesen/C-Map to the parent company of MaxSea. Bill Washburn is the product manager and he is very, very responsive.

Bill told me that Nobeltec has a good budget and is hiring developers. The product is being enhanced and improved although they have some makeup time based on an apparent few years of neglect to the product.

If you want to stay with Nobeltec and have issues and problems especially with v10.7, I would strongly urge you to write to Bill Washburn <bill.washburn@nobeltec.com>. You're welcome to use my name as an introduction if needed. There is a new version that will be coming out soon - make sure the issues you have are addressed in that version.

If you want to switch products, I would look at Coastal Explorer and MaxSea Time Zero. Both are high-end products that many former Nobeltec users have turned to.
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Old 24-10-2010, 10:06   #6
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Thanks for the info; I'll put some comments together and send them to Bill. Many of them are already here in the thread Nobeltec v10.5 Icon Problem . I am also a CE user, BTW, thanks to Nobeltec, but still prefer the way VNS does some things (mostly routing related, but some need fixing). The one show stopper is still the vector charts, but VNS 10.7 for w7 was on sale so I decided to give them one more shot under the new owners. As far as why i got CE: I was in La Paz, MX preparing to sail back to San Diego when my computer died. So I planned to pick up a replacement laptop on my next trip back to SD. Unfortunately the new computers had all switched to Vista, and SURPRISE VNS had decided to spend their money on gee-whiz instead of insuring a smooth transition for all of their customers. Vista for VNS was out on the horizon somewhere. So I switched to CE, but eventually upgraded VNS and tried to get them to fix some of the issues. Then came W7. Same story; no real issues with CE, VNS wouldn't run at all. But now have upgraded and am waiting to see if things improve-I posted a number of comments here but never heard that any were incorporated. I think with CE charging $99/yr for extended support there still may be a basis for a competition-If VNS pulls their heads out of their ---es and puts back the ENCs.
Regards;
Ed
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:30   #7
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Although problems with ENC and ECDIS systems were encountered recently I still believe that ENC is the better option. Using RNC limits certain system functionalities ENC use offers simply based on the fact that they are vectors.
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