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Old 05-07-2010, 07:41   #1
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Can a Car SatNav Be Used on a Boat ?

And I'm not talking about using road maps!

It just occurred to me that there must be a way to get charts and a nav program like OpenCPN into a satnav which could then be used as a backup chartplotter.

Unfortunately, I'm not a computer whiz - all I know is that my satnav uses Windows mobile (I think).

Any ideas?
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:53   #2
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As soon as you are 2 feet from shore the satnav recognizes that and stops working.

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:08   #3
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As soon as you are 2 feet from shore the satnav recognizes that and stops working.
I think you missed the point of the question - I am talking about using the hardware with different software
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:12   #4
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I have used four different land based GPS units offshore. I simply hook them up to my computer which has C-map software installed. My last hook up was small Garmin unit. I use the same GPS for land and sea based navigation. All the charting software is one my lap top. It is simply a matter of using a serial port or usb on my system. Not a big deal. Getting the adapters (finding them) is the hardest part.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:26   #5
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I use a garmin connected to the laptop as well. I was just thinking that as satnav is basically a chartplotter used on land and that it should be possible to load it with charts and a nav program to have a small, stand alone backup system - I just don't know where to start to implement it.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:57   #6
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Using the automotive GPS simply to get co-ordinates, then feeding that data to a laptop with charting software, should be relatively straightforward. I think this is what Dave is doing. There are some car and phone GPS units that are software-locked in some way, or simply don't have the physical interface, and so can't provide useful data to the user (only to the embedded firmware).

I doubt you'll have much luck trying to create and install new firmware for an automotive GPS. It's theoretically possible, but probably not practical (the time and effort spent reverse-engineering the car GPS, then reprogramming it, would be far more than the cost of a unit designed for marine use). Since you wouldn't have any prior knowledge of the thing's hard-wiring or source code, you'd pretty much have to start from scratch and would likely brick dozens (or hundreds) of the things while experimenting.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:02   #7
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My Garmin 276 and 478 do both land and marine. All I have to do is tell it which to use. I've not left it in automotive and gone offshore with it, though.

I suppose if your GPS had NMEA data port protocol, you could use it as a GPS source with navigation software. And I'd think a generic GPS like a trekker or some off-road GPS would do, but those kinds of GPSs don't generally have the detailed maps you might want.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:02   #8
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Yes, there are both street cartridges and chart cartridges that will work in some GPS receivers.
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Old 05-07-2010, 13:34   #9
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I think you missed the point of the question - I am talking about using the hardware with different software

I was yanking your chain,,,,I knew what you meant,,,
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Old 05-07-2010, 20:00   #10
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Also one (perhaps more) of Garmin Nuvis accepts sea CHARTS. The new 78 units will also draw against any background you upload on a card.

BUT I have never heard of what you want - the option of using your own SOFTWARE.

You can have this on a smartphone though. (called OziExplorer or something like that).

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