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Old 22-12-2008, 21:29   #1
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Garmin BlueCharts - g2 laptop programs etc.

I'm trying to figure out charting and planning options and would like opinions and advice.
I recently purchased a boat with a Garmin GPSMap 3205 chartplotter and a Raymarine C Series system that includes a C80. I've supplemented that with a Garmin GPSMap 76CSx handheld. Now I'm trying to figure out how to use them and what is the best planning and charting software.
My first question is: What is the advantage of the g2 Garmin charts over the standard BlueCharts. Both the handheld and chartplotter can use both of them. It looks like G2 charts have a lot more information but is it useful or just "flash"? There is a significant difference in price between BlueCharts and G2 Bluecharts.
The next question is: If one has a variety of digital charts and planning software, e.g., Garmin, Raymarine, Maptech, and other available software, which is the best for planning and plotting crossings, etc.

In my opinion, one is going to be reliant on some kind of paper charts and eyeball observations when one gets close to landfall. Nothing will supplant observation.

I'd love to hear opinions on accuracy of the digital (and paper) charts from Florida to Puerto Rico (I might actually take that all the way down to Venezuela).

Unfortunately, we are presently in New Mexico while our boat is in Florida and our destination is the East coast of Puerto Rico.

Thanks for any opinions (I'm sure that I'll get some!! )
Bill
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Old 23-12-2008, 05:56   #2
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Sorry I can't answer all your questions Bill but the Garmin G2 charts are, as you mention, a lot of glitz. There is more info, how much is useful is a topic for another discussion. I have the G2 chip for our area used in a Garmin GPSMap plotter and the added features are: satellite photos, marina info with photos, 3D Fish Eye View and Mariner Eye View. The latter two seem just too gimmicky for any real use. The marina info with approach photos are somewhat useful. As for planning with the GPSMap plotter & PC I myself haven't done that but with a spare SD card you can transfer tracks & waypoints to the unit from a PC. Which planning software is best for that I don't know. I use MemoryMap on the laptop.
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Old 23-12-2008, 09:21   #3
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The Maptech software is pretty good. It has done everything that I need as far as route planning. I agree with knotty that some of the g2 in enhancements are just glitzy crap, more distracting than anything. I am in the process right now of buying a garmin 178c, (which is 2 years old, but new in the box from WM), because I can use my bluecharts that I alreday paig $150 bucks for. Routes and waypoints will transfer seamlessly from the gps to the computer and back. I did some extended cruising this summer and printed screen shots from google earth to get an idea of what the marinas looked like. I felt safe and perfectly happy.
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Old 23-12-2008, 09:31   #4
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I am in the process right now of buying a garmin 178c, (which is 2 years old, but new in the box from WM), because I can use my bluecharts that I alreday paig $150 bucks for.
Not sure you are aware, but you can only enable 2 GPS devices against an ilicense of Bluechart, then you have to pay for it again.
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Old 23-12-2008, 13:13   #5
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a Garmin GPSMap 76CSx handheld. Bill


Hi Bill,

We have the Garmin 76Cx and just it with their World Chart which is very similar to the one it comes with.
Note that they build in an error of about 500 meters so you want to buy the full charts. That gets expensive if you are doing a long cruise.

The Handheld is, of course a backup for the plotter at the wheel.

Before each leg I put in to the garmin from the laptop the waypoints and any dangers etc so its a reasonable backup.

Once when we went through a rain squall of interesting rain drops the size of buckets and a gentle breeze where I couldnt see the wind meter in front of my face - if I had time to anyway. The plotter went on the blink for a day while it dried out.

I was glad I had the handheld and didn't mind not having more than the World Chart on it.

Printing off a good list (on paper) of all your waypoints is the trick. It would make landfalls like the old days.

Also do not dismiss Google Earth! I found that the most accurate in the pacific islands! You cache the areas you are travelling through when you have internet and then when at sea Google Earth will use the cached photos instead of connecting to the web.

In a few months they will have the direct GPS imput in real time for free on Google. I have the now defunct paying service and my Garmin 76Cx plugs right in with a NMEA cable.


Google will rule the world with charting if they want to.


Mark
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Old 23-12-2008, 16:42   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knottybuoyz View Post
I have the G2 chip for our area used in a Garmin GPSMap plotter and the added features are: satellite photos, marina info with photos, 3D Fish Eye View and Mariner Eye View. The latter two seem just too gimmicky for any real use.
[snipped]

I have a Garmin 5208 and the 3D fish eye view is great when you're going through a rock strewn channel with bad water clarity and a lot of current.
The San Juan Islands are loaded with places like that.

Steve B.
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Old 23-12-2008, 18:01   #7
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[snipped]

I have a Garmin 5208 and the 3D fish eye view is great when you're going through a rock strewn channel with bad water clarity and a lot of current.
The San Juan Islands are loaded with places like that.
I have no doubt that the "fish eye" view may be of value in some applications Steve. Personally I don't find it that useful. What I don't know and haven't been able to find out is how dependent it is on the hydrography data on the chip or if it's getting all it's bottom contours from the sounder. In the places I've tested it, narrow canals, dredged channels etc. it doesn't seem to represent even remotely the contours that I know exist. See example.
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Old 23-12-2008, 18:22   #8
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Not sure you are aware, but you can only enable 2 GPS devices against an ilicense of Bluechart, then you have to pay for it again.
This will be my second device the other is a GPS76map handheld. All is good.
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