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Old 27-10-2008, 17:12   #1
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Best Navigation Software

My apologies if this has been addressed elsehwere; if so, I can't find it.

What's the best navigation software for a Windows-based laptop? My criteria:

1. Under $500
2. Runs on Vista
3. User friendly
4. Accomodates a variety of chart formats
5. Not too buggy
6. Decent graphics
7. Works with a dedicated PC GPS attachment
8. Exchanges data with most popular chart plotters
9. Exchanges charts and data with other navigation software, preferably using open standards
10. From a stable company that will support the product

Does such a product exist?
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Old 27-10-2008, 17:30   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Does such a product exist?

No!!!
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Old 27-10-2008, 17:53   #3
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There are no open standards. A variety of chart formats are proprietary. User friendly depends on the user.

I've been happy with Fugawi. It's about $200 supports Maptech BSB, Navonics, and ENC formats. Works well and you can upload routes to NMEA and Garmin and a few other Chart plotters. There is a free demo install. They increased the price to include a the proprietary Navonics chip reader, so the extra price is perhaps worth it. They also support a Pocket PC and Palm export format that you can use to upload to a small handheld device and that works pretty well.

No software exchanges maps with chart plotters except the proprietary products like Garmin. Fugawi does export to Palm and Pocket PC but nothing else.

As far as being stable there is NO ONE that can be considered stable, but there are a few that have been around. Being stable would be considered a bad thing since Raymarine would likely try to buy them out and bury the product. On the higher end Nobletec is a good one but a bit on the expensive side.
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Old 27-10-2008, 17:57   #4
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I use Nobeltec and really like it. Its owned by Jeppesen. If your a pilot you know who they are. Nobeltec has been very stable and reliable in my 10 years plus using it.
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Old 27-10-2008, 20:29   #5
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Many of the available programs have trial or planning versions that you can use with some limits for free - this makes it nice to give them a test whirl and see which one you like the best. Download both vector and raster charts (if available) for some area you are familiar with for testing.
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Old 27-10-2008, 22:13   #6
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Rosepoint Navigation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
My apologies if this has been addressed elsehwere; if so, I can't find it.

What's the best navigation software for a Windows-based laptop? My criteria:

1. Under $500
2. Runs on Vista
3. User friendly
4. Accomodates a variety of chart formats
5. Not too buggy
6. Decent graphics
7. Works with a dedicated PC GPS attachment
8. Exchanges data with most popular chart plotters
9. Exchanges charts and data with other navigation software, preferably using open standards
10. From a stable company that will support the product

Does such a product exist?
Rosepoint has the only one that runs on VISTA that I have seen (and used!).

Rose Point Navigation Systems
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Old 28-10-2008, 00:23   #7
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A vote for Maxsea.
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Old 28-10-2008, 01:14   #8
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I've been toying around with TIKI Navigator and of course the good ole Seaclear. There are a lot of demo programs out there one can try. I've played around with most of them over the last 3 years and so far my favorite one is TIKI Navigator.

TIKI Navigator - Marine navigation and GPS tracking on Maptech digital charts

They also have a demo program.
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Old 28-10-2008, 03:41   #9
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A search on SourceForge, Open-Source Software gives the following results.

SourceForge.net: Software Search

Unfortunately I do not have time to check them all. If you find some that are interesting please reply with suggestions.
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Old 28-10-2008, 05:55   #10
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Any views on Sail Cruiser - a Navsim product which claims to be the only one that calculates each tack - distance and time using the wind , current inputs ? Cost CAD $399
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Old 28-10-2008, 07:00   #11
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Depends what you plan to do with it. Maxsea and Raytech are routing programs that use Gribs and polarsto give you longdistance routing. I've used both but like Maxsea more. For shorter triping, The Captain is a good choice. This program contains tide charts, maintenance schedules, etc.
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Old 28-10-2008, 07:38   #12
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Best Options?

What a mess! Trying them one by one seems the only way. Each of them has at least one positive feature.

Regretfully, only a few of these products are supported in VISTA. Maxsea, for example says it will run on a "VISTA capable" machine but does not claim Vista compatibility that I can find on the site. Has anyone used it on VISTA?

Nobeltec is cool, but $1200 less a $100 competitor upgrade.

The current version of Coastal Explorer (Rosepoint) does not support GRIB (promised in 2.0 next month).

All of these packages are superior to Raytech RNS that meets almost none of the criteria (although a new version has been promised since February).


We should develop some criteria and have an owner of each package evaluate their software's strengths and weaknesses to the criteria. That way we could build a review of each package and get a better general idea as a function of price point. Anyone interested?
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Old 28-10-2008, 08:13   #13
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Maxsea came out with an upgrade (I think v.12.x) that was written specifically for Vista. I'm running XP pro so I cannot tell you if works or not.
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Old 28-10-2008, 11:02   #14
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Thumbs up I Vote Rose Point!

I have been using Rose Point Coastal Explorer for the past 2 years. I had used Nobeltec for 5 years previous.

A working version can be downloaded free from their website Rose Point Navigation Systems

I am a beta tester on their next version and I like what I see.

Cheers
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Old 28-10-2008, 11:12   #15
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I can usually get any decently coded Windows program to run on Vista. Vista is just XP with more eye candy, although you can go down to defeat if an older program doesn't support the newer graphics functions.

I'm surprised that Practical Sailor or a similar publication has not done a comparative review of navigation software, particularly since there seems to be little consensus as to what the best products are.
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