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Old 28-05-2013, 17:17   #16
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

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I have a feeling I'm going to be referencing this thread a lot you guys rock.
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Old 28-05-2013, 17:26   #17
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

I use a Garmin chart plotter w/ 2 garmin handheld GPS and I also use my old dependable sextant....Of course always have paper charts & harbor charts for unknown places w/ dangerous bars......... I do have a cheap nav program on my laptop, but not very impressed with it... Michael...
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Old 28-05-2013, 17:33   #18
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

i use a decent pilot book, local maritime charts for harbours and the official marine charts, coupled with a handheld gps, a pair of binoculars i got when my dad died nearly 40 years ago, the boats compass, a laptop which i only use to access weather info. because i'm very conservative about power and i dont really trust electronics (gps is a garmin etrex which seems to be pretty robust, if i was worried about it i'd buy another one as backup) , have a sextant, barely workable almanac compilation but i dont really use them 'cos the only decent timepiece is the gps...learn all the (wherever you are) local light signatures off your chart is one of the best things you can do...can practically navigate by them alone at night.
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Old 28-05-2013, 19:38   #19
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

The trade off is convenience, durability and accuracy.

Electronic charts coupled with GPS are extremely convenient. You look at the screen, and, well, there you are. That's your position, relative to everything around you.

Plotters are a lot more durable (and so are laptops) than just five years ago. I still wouldn't want my laptop (A Mac Powerbook) to go through a 360 degree roll, but it's not one of the things I would worry about at that point.

So the big trade off to me is accuracy and convenience.

Electronics simply aren't up to date. Paper, you need to keep them up to date, but if you do, they're far more accurate than an electronic chart from five years ago. (I tell you this after an instructor let another student and I sail around hunting for a light for forty-five minutes before he asked us to check the date on the chart. The light had been removed more than four years ago.)

There are charts, and there are charts.

NOAA has a Print On Demand program that will give you a chart that was current within the last couple weeks, and then you only have two weeks of Local Notice To Mariners to add before it's current. (They come out every week on Wednesday, here in District 13.)

Compared to that, Maptech puts out chart booklets, one of which still shows the light we were hunting for, because they were last updated in the summer of 2005. You need to run through over 600 LNMs to bring those up to date. Their up-to-date book, which they sent me when I whined, is up to date through 2010. So I only have a couple hundred LNMs to look through. (There are other problems with the Maptech books, not the least of which is a non-standard legend.)

Not everyone cares about up to date charts, but speaking from the experience of that class, it matters. I've also had the reverse problem: at night, I was looking through binoculars and saw four lights where the chart showed two. The other two had been deployed since the chart was updated.

The downside of up-to-date paper charts is that NOAA 1:25,000 charts feel like they're four feet high by seven feet wide. They're huge. They're bigger than the nav station you think you're going to do your chart work on. They're bigger than the cockpit table. On a small, fast boat, they're bigger than the damn cockpit. They're enormous. And the place you want to look at will either be on edge of the hidden side, or square in the middle, where you have to unfold the whole damn thing. I can see using them on an Iowa class battleship, where you have an entire, dedicated compartment for them, as well as two seamen and a boy to help you handle them, but they're a screaming pain in the ass on a cruising sailboat.

I'll give Maptech this: their chartbooks, particularly the chart kits, are exactly the right size, as well as a reasonable scale. But they ain't even close to up to date.

For convenience, nothing beats a good plotter. I use an iPad, because I move from boat to boat, and it has to go with me, but it's hard to read in direct sunlight. The one I've seen that I really like is a Garmin, with the big screen, mounted on a hard mount next to the binnacle. Touch screen, ridgid, waterproof, bright, and extremely convenient, glance at it and know where we are. Last updated in 2007. If you want to hunt for where lights used to be, it's definitely the tool to use.

I like some of the handhelds I've seen, but some of them are way, way too small for me.

I will admit that if I hear a splash and the headcount comes up one short, I'm not going to screw around with paper before I get on the VHF-- I'm going to get the fastest electronic fix I can, and read it straight off the screen to the Coast Guard if at all possible.

So my conclusion doesn't advocate any of them-- it advocates all of them. I prefer multiple GPS systems for position, and a minor hobby of mine is comparing one to another, using my iPad as a baseline. On my favorite boat (I'm in a charter fleet) I have the GPS and plotter at the nav station on a computer, iNavX on my iPad, Navionics on my iPad and Navimatic on my iPhone. Three separate GPS systems, ranging from iPhone to a dedicated marine set, a raster electronic system and two vector systems.

For paper, I have the Maptech kit, and I'm slugging my way through the old LNMs to get it up to date. When I finish, not only will people look at me with their mouths hanging open, but it will be the most valuable chart in the world, given the hours I'll have in it. If I finish it before I die, there'll be no way I'll be able to afford to replace it. It has long since passed the limits of necessity and reason, and has become my reason for living. Tilt We Must.

And I have monster, 9x12 foot NOAA 1:25,000 Print On Demand charts.

As long as the electronics agree with my NOAA charts, I'll use them.

But I check.

If I had to pick one system, and rely only on it, it would be the Print On Demand charts.

Best of luck!
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:49   #20
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

The only thing worth having in the cockpit is a real chartplotter... there are plenty out there and they are cheaper than they ever have been..even used ones represent good value.

laptops and nav software and tablets are fine enough..but they belong down below at the nav station...but since you will likely decide that you need a chartplotter anyway that gives you a backup.

always have paper charts, and don't loose the ability to perform dead reckoning.

I have three independent GPS.. 2 chartplotters (helm/nav station), USB puck/ipad/navionics and a handheld garmin/laptop plotter plus paper charts...
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Old 11-06-2013, 17:29   #21
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

I've paper, but any comments regarding comparing Standard Horizon CP390i to
Sitex EC-7 ?
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Old 11-06-2013, 18:44   #22
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

Both...you want a backup. You also want a second battery powered GPS as a backup.
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Old 12-06-2013, 16:47   #23
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

Have been reading the forums for a while now but had to register after reading your post Jammer. Spot on.

also

Quote:
I can see using them on an Iowa class battleship, where you have an entire, dedicated compartment for them, as well as two seamen and a boy to help you handle them, but they're a screaming pain in the ass on a cruising sailboat.
Still not enough room.
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Old 12-06-2013, 21:04   #24
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

Good post Jammer. I was wondering if someone would lay it all out for us that haven't figured it out yet, although I still don't think I know yet.
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Old 12-06-2013, 21:25   #25
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

Thank you all for the kind words.

I've given up on updating the Maptech chart kit-- it's just too far out of date, and it takes too much of my time to plow through all those LMNs.

What I really want is a Maptech size chart kit that is current (by the Coast Guard's definition, not Maptech's) through the date I buy it.

But since that isn't going to happen, I've gone back to keeping my Monster 8x12 Foot King Size NOAA charts up to date, and comparing my electronics to it before each trip. Then if I have to, I add notes to my electronics, and put the charts down below at the nav station and watch the electronics underway.

As a side note, all of a sudden all this "obsolete" manual drafting equipment I accumulated during my career, that had been consigned to permanent standby status by CAD, is suddenly the perfect set of tools for updating charts. Glancing at eBay, I see manual drafting equipment that I would have paid thousands of dollars for just fifteen years ago available for dozens of dollars. [sob...]

Up to date matters on charts. Keeping charts up is a pain, and I have yet to see an electronic system that keeps things truly up to date, or even one that is easy for you or I to keep up to date, within the price range of an amateur, recreational sailor. (They have subscription services for commercial vessels, but I doubt Mrs. Jammer would let me live long if I whipped out a credit card and subscribed to one.)
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Old 13-06-2013, 20:49   #26
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

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Honey, you call yourself "Water Babe" and show up among this band of miscreants, rogues and ne'er do wells, you'll get lots of answers.
Ha! I shall find myself in good company then!
And for the replies, I owe a debt of gratitude.
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Old 14-06-2013, 07:37   #27
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

We have a dedicated chart plotter with it's own WAAS-corrected GPS feed at the helm, updated at least annually with new charts (my choice of NOAA, C-Map, or Navionics), and the software is also updated occasionally.

That plotter happens to be a Furuno NAVNet 3D, so we also use MaxSea (essentially the same software engine) on a laptop as one backup. Then we also keep paper charts as another backup. We also have a separate differential-corrected GPS to provide plot data for each of those.

Not a sales pitch for Furuno (although I like it); there are several good chartplotters out there.

-Chris
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Old 15-06-2013, 16:34   #28
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

OMG! Furuno costs $3,000+.... sounds great but I really didnt plan on that kind of money for my nav software, dont get me wrong it looks like awesome stuff
There must be a cheaper way...
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Old 15-06-2013, 16:40   #29
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

Polarview with Active Captain data integrated for coastal and ICW running on a small laptop with a solid state disk.

Polar Navy - Marine Navigation Software

Furuno with C-map charts for out of NOAA chart range.

John
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Old 15-06-2013, 17:33   #30
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Re: Best Navigational Software or Paper Charts Only?

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
I have yet to find any kind of electronic charts that A) is truly updated for the LNMs, or B) is easy to update myself.

Therefore, I don't rely on electronic charts unless they agree with the paper charts that I've updated myself.
This of course depends upon where you are. In the US you can download updated charts weekly for free. They are supposed to have all to the LNMs included up oto the previous week so all you have to do is check this weeks LNM's. In the States I use a netbook running Coastal Explorer with a Garmin USB GPS18. I have a 23 inch flat screen if I want to see the big picture. The software lets you make notations on the charts if want. I have a chart plotter in the cockpit but with old chart chips. They don't usually move the land much so I can see where I am, but all planning and routes are done on the netbook, then I transfer the waypoints to the chartplotter to drive the autopilot. If I had an nmea 0183 adapter for the netbook I could drive the autopilot directly. I also keep old maptec chartbooks around but only for big picture planing. "Electronic" charts on chips are never up to date as the best they can do is about 60 days out of date when they make them. This is also true of commercially urchased Electronic charts. The same is true for conventional paper charts. Print on Demand charts are the same as the downloadable electronic charts from NOAA but you pay a lot of money to do that every week. It may be reasonable if you are staying local and can do it once in a while and make hand updates, but when cruising and using several different charts in a day and only for that day it becomes a major pain trying to keep up to date. Outside of the first world it's probably not pssible to get up to date charts even fom the governments. There's no such thing as LNMs or their equivalent in most places.

We have a copy of the software on a second laptop just in case and keep a copy of the chart zip file on a thumb drive. I've been doing this since 2005 and updated the computer once. In a thunderstorm one laptop goes into the oven. So far no failures. In fact in very thick fog off of GA a few years back all of my RayMarine equipment quit working and the only working device on the boat was my netbook and the garmin GPS down in the cabin. Most people probably don't know that their "marine" equipment is not rated to work in condensing moisture conditions.

I also keep a copy of open CPN on the thmb drive just in case. I have not used all of the available navigation software so I can't begin to tell you which is best.


Good luck,
Bill
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