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Old 27-02-2016, 20:03   #1
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Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

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.
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Old 27-02-2016, 20:58   #2
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I like nobletec.
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Old 28-02-2016, 05:38   #3
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I have this one, can not complain....



seaPro plus charting and navigation software
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Old 28-02-2016, 05:44   #4
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Nobeltec or Maxsea. Nobeltec is the American version of Maxsea. Just go onto YouTube and see what they offer. We use Nobeltec on two onboard PC computers and two iPad Air tablets, but be aware that the program requires very specific computer graphics cards in order to operate. The requirements are listed on their US website.

Free charts are only available for US waters. Need charts outside the US, then you'll need to pay.
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:22   #5
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I would recommend you to go for Opencpn.

OpenCPN - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:33   #6
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

We also have OpenCpn on the computer, and never use it.... it's very, very basic when compared to Nobeltec. Sometimes when you get something for free... You get what you pay for. Pay a little more, and get a HUGE difference in quality and performance.

Free stuff isn't always the best stuff.
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:49   #7
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I use Rose Point - Very satisfied with it.

Rose Point Navigation Systems -- Marine Navigation Software and Hardware

Tried to move to a Macbook because of battery life, but came back to the PC after 2 months of trying to interface instrument & GPS data.

Just started plying around with openCPN
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Old 28-02-2016, 06:53   #8
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I've used Nobeltec, and I'm giving Opencpn a try, but my choice now and for the last 15 years is Coastal Explorer from Rose Point.

You can get free S57 charts for the US, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, and a lot of the South Pacific. These will work with most nav software. There's a site on the web that lists the countries and charts. A Google search should turn it up.

Cheers,
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Old 28-02-2016, 07:57   #9
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

I'm not up on the rules about posting links, so here is the longhand version of one source:

Online Free Nautical Charts and Publications - Sites - Google
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Old 28-02-2016, 08:08   #10
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

For many years was a satisfied user of Maptech's Offshore Navigator. However, they dropped the ball with respect to incorporation of AIS data, and otherwise fell on hard times.

So, I did some research and two years ago switched to Rose Point's Coastal Explorer. Couldn't be happier. It's a solid implementation, has all the features I want/need, and it's chart updating features are fantastic. The company is also very responsive to queries & requests. Well worth the investment.

Bill
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Old 28-02-2016, 08:21   #11
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Big plus for Opencpn.
It does all you could sensibly want and uses charts from almost any available source.
Great user community too.

www.ladyrover.jimdo.com
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Old 28-02-2016, 08:51   #12
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
We also have OpenCpn on the computer, and never use it.... it's very, very basic when compared to Nobeltec. Sometimes when you get something for free... You get what you pay for. Pay a little more, and get a HUGE difference in quality and performance.

Free stuff isn't always the best stuff.
Which features do you use in nobeltec which aren't available in Opencpn?

One big plus with opencpn is the constant dialog between the many users and the programmers so if there is a demand for a feature it can be included rapidly.

To the OP, why not try opencpn first?
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Old 28-02-2016, 08:59   #13
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

If you have had OpenCPN on the computer for a while you are probably not using the latest version.
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Old 28-02-2016, 09:15   #14
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Nobeltec are what we use and very happy too - basically professional grade nav. I have a full set of North America, Caribbean and Central America, all as good as I have seen anywhere else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Nobeltec or Maxsea. Nobeltec is the American version of Maxsea. Just go onto YouTube and see what they offer. We use Nobeltec on two onboard PC computers and two iPad Air tablets, but be aware that the program requires very specific computer graphics cards in order to operate. The requirements are listed on their US website.

Free charts are only available for US waters. Need charts outside the US, then you'll need to pay.
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Old 28-02-2016, 09:37   #15
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Re: Computer navigation software - I don't know where to begin...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Nobeltec or Maxsea. Nobeltec is the American version of Maxsea. Just go onto YouTube and see what they offer. We use Nobeltec on two onboard PC computers and two iPad Air tablets, but be aware that the program requires very specific computer graphics cards in order to operate. The requirements are listed on their US website.

Free charts are only available for US waters. Need charts outside the US, then you'll need to pay.
+1

The US, Brazil and New Zealand provide free access to their charts. Charts for the inland waterways of Europe are also accessible freely. All other regions have some form of DRM for their charts.

Furthermore Raymarine, B&G, Furuno, etc all support different chart providers to varying degrees.

If you want to explore the widest array of free charts start with OpenCPN. OpenCPN is open source and has an active community of developers. The only issue with OpenCPN is the difficulty in accessing the proprietary data formats of name brand equipment and proprietary charts.

We use both OpenCPN and am part way through a full B&G upgrade including MFDs, radar, AIS, forward scan sonar, etc. We are stuck with expensive chart subscriptions for the B&G environment.

During our instrumentation update we're stuck using an ipad. Some love them but we dont consider them suitable for safety critical applications like navigation.

We work in tech so the benefits and features of OpenCPN are obvious. If you're not tech savvy then OpenCPN is probably not for you.

Eventually we'll see crowdsourced charts become the norm. They will be updated in near real time from many sources. We're still many years away from this utopia.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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