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Old 28-02-2016, 09:44   #16
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Thank-you everyone for your thoughtful comments. I am interested to know what specific features you like about the various software programs you are recommending.
Thank you.
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Old 28-02-2016, 10:36   #17
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

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Originally Posted by Onemoreproject View Post
Thank-you everyone for your thoughtful comments. I am interested to know what specific features you like about the various software programs you are recommending.
Thank you.
Opencpn has very good AIS display, the grib weather chart overlay useful. Route planning quick and easy. Instrument display for nmea0183 data flexible. IMHO.
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Old 28-02-2016, 10:39   #18
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

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Originally Posted by Onemoreproject View Post
For years I have gotten along just fine by inputting a few waypoints into a GPS chart plotter and going for it. First I had a Raymarine 276C (still have it) and now I have upgraded to a Raymarine E7D MFD with Naviaonics Platinum charts.

We have extensive cruising plans for 10 or more years of cruising to Mexico, Marquesas, NZ and beyond. I understand that Navionics is not compatible with some software, but I am not married to the idea of staying with Navionics. I only have the West Coast, Mexico and Hawaii version.

There are so many different types of software I really don't know where to begin. I have heard of Maxsea, Fugawi, Active Captain etc., but don't know what features are desirable or applicable for what we are doing. I also have heard that free charts can be downloaded as well that would save lots of money if they worked with the computer software and chart plotter!
I am interested in software recommendations as well as a book or course that would give a good overview.

Thanks in advance fore your input and advice.
Have a look at Software On Board (SOB). It uses CMAP and runs on a standard Windows Laptop with puck GPS. It has been my Primary Navigation and now backup to a Garmin Plotter/Radar in the cockpit.
Have used it for 10 years.
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Old 28-02-2016, 11:23   #19
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

We used Nobletec but that was 10 years ago for crossing.

I drove commercial ferry in Auckland and used Navionics on phone of all things, worked great for NZ.
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Old 28-02-2016, 11:45   #20
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Having installed and used several Computer Navigation software packages over the years beginning back in the DOS days using Maptech Offshore Navigator, then SeaClear 2, Polar Navy, and now OpenCPN I'll just say - they all work.

But if I was starting out new again and had to pick one to start with it would be OpenCPN. It's free and why not try it first and see how you like it and if it meets your needs. In addition to what others have said it also uses both Raster and Vector charts and seamlessly quilts them together to give the best detail available without having to keep opening additional charts for different views (although they can be switched if desired). Many of which you can get for free.

I love my current setup which is Garmin GPSMap740S and a small form factor PC using an Argonaut G615 XLR display as a secondary system. All located on my bridge. What makes this setup work so well for me is that the Garmin and the OpenCPN can utilize the same exact course, waypoint, routes data without having to input them into the devices twice.

Garmin's Homeport App installed on my home computer is where I do most of my planning, then export the data to a file and Import it into OpenCPN and viola - both devices have identical info. After cruising the Bahamas for over 40 years now I find the detail of the charts on the Garmin devices to be top knotch. and when I can simultaneously see it in a RASTER version on the PC I don't feel I am missing much.

Much cleaner than the "old" way of trying to set the stuff up twice for each device. And if I do make some changes on the water refining routes, adding MOB points, or other waypoints with the 740S, I just copy it back to a data card and update the home computer and then back to the onboard OpenCPN machine and once again every machine is identical.

Other devices in my setup are Raymarine Autopilot, Sitex CVS 106 backup bottom recorder, Simrad RA52 radar.
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Old 28-02-2016, 12:04   #21
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Just to maybe add a Question What type of Computer PC or MACs love to see whats out for the Macs

Coconut
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Old 28-02-2016, 13:06   #22
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Have a read of

Review of Free OpenCPN Navigational Software - Sailing

Bill
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Old 28-02-2016, 13:11   #23
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Onemore

Look into taking a navigation or electronic navigation course from a local US Power Squadron. Outside of the class instruction you will meet users of a varienty of devices and get their assessment.
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Old 28-02-2016, 14:00   #24
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Quick charts and memory map work well in the South Pacific
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Old 28-02-2016, 14:10   #25
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Quote:
Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Opencpn has very good AIS display, the grib weather chart overlay useful. Route planning quick and easy. Instrument display for nmea0183 data flexible. IMHO.
OpenCPN has the best AIS display, by far, that I've ever seen. It's my go-to AIS tool in difficult situations. It shows graphically what the crossing will look like. I've heard Vesper displays also do something like this, but my expensive plotters don't. It also has infinitely flexible parameters for displaying target information and alarms.

And the rest of the program is similarly powerful and flexible. OpenCPN is simply marvelous. I can't imagine any reason to look any further.
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Old 28-02-2016, 16:12   #26
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Over many years I've used Maxsea, Cmap and others, but opencpn takes some beating. You can get pluggins for grib, ais, astro etc, even will do a log for you, and whats more it's free, and there's a good community out there if you need help. As someone said earlier it copes happily with both raster and vector charts, so give it a go. There are also regular free updates, sort of a no brainer
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Old 28-02-2016, 17:45   #27
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

OpenCPN has changed dramatically over the past 4 years. It is our primary nav software. We also have a Garmin system but I don't see anything there that OpenCPN doesn’t give us. It's also constantly improving and the suite of plugins has exploded in the last couple of years. You've got nothing to lose by starting out with O and just see where it goes.

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Old 28-02-2016, 20:44   #28
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Chartplotter is always going to be more expensive and have some restrictions of who's charts it will read. Tablet of laptop gives greater flexibility. There are some very expensive programs available and I guess if you really like what they do they may be worth it. Personally I would recommend looking at Open CPN, not only is it freeware it is also very good. I use SOB (software on board) originally developed in Oz mainly because it works really well on a touch screen or with a mouse, doesn't use things like drop down menus which can be difficult when things are rolling around. My preferred charts are Cmap, good value especially for large areas (mega wide does the whole of the west coast of Europe on one disk!). A lot of people, including me have strong preferences for charts mainly based on familiarity. Don't think there is actually that much difference.
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Old 29-02-2016, 05:55   #29
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I'm "kinda" interested in the new Raspberry Pi P3, it seems to me that one could put together a really good navigation system that is very cost effective (cheap)

Bill

Supercharged Raspberry Pi 3 adds Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more speed, but still costs $35
with OpenCPN

and
the dAISy Low-cost AIS receiver

AIS doesn't have to be expensive. With dAISy all you need to start tracking ships are a VHF antenna, a PC, Mac or Linux computer, and a clear view of the sea.
This marine AIS receiver works great with OpenCPN, Ship Plotter and any other software that accepts serial data input. dAISy is also well suited for reporting local ship traffic to services like MarineTraffic.
With its small size and very low power consumption, dAISy is the perfect AIS receiver for DIY projects built around Raspberry Pi and other single-board computers.
Specification

  • Single channel receiver
  • Receiving on channel A (161.975 MHz) and B (162.025 MHz)
  • Quickly alternates between both channels through frequency hopping (<10ms)
  • Real world sensitivity down to -100 dBm, better in very low noise environments
  • Very low power consumption, less than 100mW in receive mode (<20mA at 5V)
  • Message output in industry standard NMEA format (AIVDM)
  • 38400 baud serial over USB
  • No drivers required for Windows 10, Mac OS X and Linux (driver available for older versions of Windows).
  • Supported by Boat Beacon on Android devices with USB OTG.
  • Optional TTL serial output (3.3V, requires soldering)
  • Small size: 63 x 44 x 23 mm
  • Very robust aluminum enclosure
  • BNC connector for 50 Ohm VHF antenna (antenna not included)
  • Mini-USB connector for data and power (3ft USB cable included)
  • Made in USA
and a



Glonass GPS dongle

Plus a car headrest monitor





[QUOTE=roland stockham;2059186]Chartplotter is always going to be more expensive and have some restrictions of who's charts it will read. Tablet of laptop gives greater flexibility.
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Old 29-02-2016, 06:31   #30
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

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I'm "kinda" interested in the new Raspberry Pi P3, it seems to me that one could put together a really good navigation system that is very cost effective (cheap)
With the recent release of a hardware video driver the Pi2 is fine as an onboard computer capable of running opencpn fast enough to be plenty usable, openplotter makes setting up easy and is a very versatile piece of software.
So the Pi3 should be even better, possibly at the cost of a little more power draw when it's running flat out.
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