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Old 29-02-2016, 08:42   #31
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I've been using Open cpn on deliveries world-wide almost since it started, upgrading to stable versions as they are released and have watched it grow into a nav tool which has far more features than I need - I love it!!

I'm currently having a play with SAS Planet which looks like it has potential though, being the non Russian speaking computer Dodo that I am, I'm having a bit of a hard time!!

Tony
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Old 29-02-2016, 21:25   #32
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I've crossed the Pacific using OpenCPN, and it's clear and easy to use. The reason I like PolarNavy better is that you can overlay Active Captain POI information. If you havent had active captain information overlaid on your charts, then think of it as having a local knowledge skipper making notes on your charts showing shallows, rip currents, tide, danger, wrecks, marina and other information. Its incredibly helpful information to have on your chart, and PN is the only PC based program supporting Active Captin that is near free ($50 and you can copy it up to
5 times).
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Old 01-03-2016, 02:01   #33
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I started years ago with CMap the tried a number of others before settling on OpenCPN.


I started this computer business a number of decades ago with a kit computer using an old TV as monitor and a cassette tape for data and program storage. Since then I have had a couple of dozen of the things and have spent a small fortune on software which tend to get outdated and useless after a few years (usually just after I have gotten a real handle on using it) I now buy only cheap computers and use freeware as much as possible.


Every now and then I get the urge to go out and buy a fancy, large screen nav system, then I come to my senses and do the maths. I can buy four or five computers for what I would spend on the fancy piece of equipment, do not have to learn all the quirks of it's software, have someone who will actually listen if I make a suggestion regarding an improvement, and have lots of other users who appear more than happy to advise me when I run into problems.


OpenCPN is great already and can only get better. I have done about 7,000nm using it to do passage planning which I then transferred into a stand alone GPS and then about 2,500nm using a computer with GPS dongle and USB to RS422 converter to control the autopilot and am gaining more confidence in this system all the time.


The Active Captain SeaSon describes in their post sounds like a good capability to have although I have been doing something similar with the waypoint properties in OCPN.
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Old 01-03-2016, 05:44   #34
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I have been using Tiki Navagation for 6 years in a laptop. It reads Navioics charts, displays AIS and feeds data to my autopilot.

I find it simple to use. Other then that I just like it.
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Old 03-03-2016, 05:43   #35
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

First you could try OpenCPN in the Cruisers forum. Its a very capable opensource free navigation software that has many capabilities. Cruisers roaming the world use it. Http://opencpn.org. I was very surprised and pleased to find it. I had been lusting for Maxsea for years but could never bring myself to purchase it because I wanted to use free noaa charts. All that has changed now, but perhaps using opencpn will inform you.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:08   #36
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I have used many versions of MaxSea for our pleasure and for my work and I can say it is very good software.

I have also used Deckman and I would not recommend this one to a newbie (too performance oriented). I have also used Tsunami that left me indifferent (likely because of too little exposure).

I have tested/used Adrena and I like it too (never used full Adrena package though).

I have played with OpenCPN and I like it (both PC and Android). This is where I would start before buying either MaxSea or Adrena.

I also like NV Charts App for Android - used this one last time in the West Indies (allows one to use NV charts from Trinidad to E Coast US and Bahamas) and it was good.

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Old 04-03-2016, 00:52   #37
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post

I have played with OpenCPN and I like it (both PC and Android). This is where I would start before buying either MaxSea or Adrena.

b.
This is a very good point, it would allow you to become familiar with nav programs with very little outlay and this would help you a lot in deciding what you want in a nav program.
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:11   #38
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

It's great/necessary to start by playing around with various packages, it seems to me they mostly all work well.
BUT
when you finally decide which one to use just remember that they are only as good as the charts they use.
I've run across several charts where my actual position (GPS and visual) has been as much as 150 yards off the charted position, not on NOAA charts as far as I can recall.
I kinda like the idea of being able to superimpose Google Earth on a chart as a check, nothing more than a check, though it might be nice to see some landmarks coming in to a strange port.
Bill
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:23   #39
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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
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.
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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.

ActiveCaptain is a guide book, and you'd see their info either directly through their website (without real nautical charts) or integrated into one of the other real nav systems (MaxSea, for example).

I've only needed to consider US charts, so can't give first-hand into about charts for other areas.

I can say I've used MaxSea TimeZero for years, primarily because it's (almost) exactly the same as using our Furuno NN3D chartplotter which runs on the same software engine. And also because of ease of transferring data back and forth. Very good program. It just works, no arguing with it required. Both offer a choice of charts from NOAA (free), Jeppesen (C-Map charts, for a fee), and Navionics (Gold, I think; don't know much about those).

I understand there's an iPad version of MaxSea, too... and I'd investigate that too if we were iThing people. Instead we use MX Mariner (NOAA raster charts) and Plan2Nav (C-Map vector charts) on Android tablets and phones. Good 3rd/4th/5th levels of redundancy.

-Chris
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Old 17-03-2016, 16:30   #40
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I'm not wild about anything but standalone right now (that will probably change at some point), so am not looking to network anything.

I agree charts can be an issue (I also appreciate that just about any chart system is going to have unavoidable inaccuracies - that's even true of paper charts).

So my core Navigation system will be a below decks laptop running OpenCPN (which can be the basis for networking at some point if I decide to go that route, but I would like a hands on with all this stuff separately for a good while prior). I have all the NOAA charts for the US, and all the UK Admiralty charts I need (not a bad deal at 58 for the ChartStick covering NW Africa Coast, into the Med, and up to and around the UK), ready to go with OpenCPN.

There does seem to be a big hole in my charts called the Caribbean though. Is anywhere doing good Caribbean charts that will work with OpenCPN?

I do want a chart plotter at the wheel as well (along with radar), so I'm thinking of something like a 7" Dragonfly Pro, and I am tempted to go the C-Map route with it, if the Mega Wide Charts can get me home (I can add what I presume to be the far more detailed, more localised charts after, as and when I head over the horizon again later in the year, if the partnership with OpenCPN on the laptop isn't quite working out for me). If I do this with Navionics, I think I have to buy 5 or 6 packs of charts.

There's a C-Map Mega Wide South America chart that covers the Caribbean (MW22), but would the one for the Gulf and Central America (W76) be better, and one for West Europe and West Med (MW3), and I'm thinking those two (plus the one the Plotter comes with, which will get me down to the start of the Eastern Caribbean) hand in glove with OpenCPN, should be able to get me home ok.

Of course I could well be badly wrong on that. But if in doubt, I'll heave to/anchor and look long and hard at the charts on the laptop and how it compares with radar, and/or wait for daylight.

Anybody used these C-Map Mega Wide charts successfully?
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Old 17-03-2016, 18:33   #41
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

OpenCPN, you don't need anything else. You already have an MFD so you can just plug in one of these

K3 Wintel Keyboard Windows 10 MINI PC with 76 Keys & Touch Pannel

And have a waterproof daylight viewable screen, and have your other navdata available for cross reference.

OpenCPN runs on Mac, Linux, Windows, and Android, so you only have to learn one and it has cross platform portability.

LOOK NO FURTHER....
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Old 01-03-2017, 00:16   #42
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

With the recent release of a hardware video driver the Graperain 4418 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.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:12   #43
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

For onboard use, I would only chose a hardware that is at least somewhat water-proof, complete (monitor, input, processing, b/u power preferably in one) and inexpensive (if this counts to you).

So this precludes development boards and core units (no screen, no input).

Basically, a cheap tablet of either Android, Linux or Win style is a great starting point as it contains all required hardware. They come at less than USD 100 now in up to 10' size.

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Old 01-03-2017, 10:27   #44
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I am using Euronav's "seaPro Performance Sailing".
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Old 01-03-2017, 13:05   #45
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

OpenCPN is all I need, for electronic chart / GPS navigation. I have it on my laptops, (Ubuntu) but mostly I use one of my four Note3 phablets. There is a paid, official port to Android, and there is an unofficial build from source code, which I have been using. If you might ever need tech support, of course you should go with the paid build. It is only a few bucks, I believe. For mid ocean, you can use a homemade plot sheet made with one of several different tool sets, or use CM93 charts. For U.S. waters, and for some other areas, as has already been stated, you can download official charts for free.

After OCPN, I would recommend NobelTec, an excellent system, but it is not free by any stretch. For heavy use of encrypted charts from various sources, I think NobelTec will have a slight edge over OCPN. For now, anyway.

Laptops are fine for on the chart table. For use in the cockpit, nothing beats a big phone or a small tablet in a ziploc bag. Most devices have very good internal GPS chips. They don't work so hot surrounded by steel, but in a wood or fiberglass boat, or outdoors, they are great. They use less juice than a laptop, too, if that is important to you. If you have two, and two different sources for charging, then you have complete redundancy up until somebody blows all the satellites out of the sky.

For celestial work, there are a ton of apps for sight reduction, the sailings, amplitude, etc. But sad to say it, there isn't much actual NEED for that anymore. Knock on wood. Celestial is mostly of academic or traditional interest these days, assuming you truly do have two completely redundant sets of equipment.

I would like to be perfectly clear on one thing, though. For as little time and care as it takes, and for as little as it costs, IMHO it is foolish to undertake an ocean passage of more than a day or two without keeping a proper DR on paper, even if you will be using a laptop or android for a poor man's ECDIS. You can easily construct an ocean plotting sheet for your latitude with a compass, protractor and triangles or parallel rules. (hint... triangles are much faster. it's what we use on ships, generally.) If space is a problem, use standard copy paper and just keep your "chart" in a folio or folder. Can't be bothered? Okay. Probably won't make the slightest difference. Then again...
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