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Old 18-03-2011, 19:06   #1
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I Want to Use my Mac Book as a Chart Plotter

I don't even know if it is posable, but I can get a USB gps so I think with the right software, it will work. I sure would like to here from you Mac fans out there.
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Old 18-03-2011, 19:13   #2
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

You can also do it with a bluetooth GPS, works like a charm. We have some GPSlim236 that we originally purchased for use with our Treo phones and TomTom software and they work fine with the Mac and various mapping software (including Google Earth).


Don't think that particular unit is still available but there are several others.



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Old 18-03-2011, 19:21   #3
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

Try GPSnavX and MacENC which are available from macenc.com

I just today picked up a 15" MBP i7. not sure if i wlll buy either of these as i already have a garmin at the nav station and an ipad for on deck.

Maybe later when i fit a nmea/seatalk multiplexer I might find a use for them on the mbp.
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Old 18-03-2011, 19:38   #4
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

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Originally Posted by Lesterbranch View Post
I don't even know if it is posable, but I can get a USB gps so I think with the right software, it will work. I sure would like to here from you Mac fans out there.
Of course OPENCPN in its latest mac (beta) incarnation appears to work on a mac as well.

The cost can not be beat, and the featureset is rich... and it is actively maintainted.

You can try by going to Download OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage

Best.
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Old 19-03-2011, 00:19   #5
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

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Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
Looking at what's been suggested:

<snip>
OpenCPN - the Mac version is a few versions back. It's not really very good. The normal types of quilting and rotation capabilities show up in the later 2.1+ versions. They haven't ported these later version to the Mac over the last year. The old version is quite buggy and not reliable. I'd be very careful with it. Cost: $0

<snip>

Another alternative is to run Windows on your Mac under Boot Camp. That will allow just about any of the high-end chartplotter Windows products as well as the Windows version of OpenCPN to be used. But if you're really looking for native Mac support, PolarView is the way to go.
Respectfully, I believe that the mac version that can be downloaded is 2.3.1 beta. Not an old version. Although it is true that the mac version was neglected in the past, that situation appears to have changed.

And is as full featured as the windows version. Just wanting to to insure that all the facts are present.

Thanks.
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Old 19-03-2011, 06:52   #6
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

You all have given me a lot of info to evaluate. Another issue I should have included in my OP is that we will be cruising the Southwest Carribean and then to Ireland and the Med. With that said, are there charts supported by your suggestions? Again, thank you for your continuing help, this forum is an awesome treasure trove of information.
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Old 19-03-2011, 07:22   #7
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

The best non-free option at the moment is installing Windows XP or Windows 7 on a bootcamp partition and running MaxSea TimeZero (which is like a NavNet3 Furuno plotter)

The best free option is asking around for this special MaxSea 10.3.2 version that "comes with" worldwide chart kits.... which requires a Windows XP partition.

I have tried many demo versions of other software and was not impressed at all with most of it. I guess you quickly get spoiled when you use MaxSea.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 19-03-2011, 12:46   #8
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

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The Mac BETA version of OpenCPN has been out for testing for a few days by a handful of people.
The OpenCPN page says that it is a Alpha version and as it would not even open on my MBP, I believe them.

I suspect that OpenCPN on Mac will not be a feasable application for the northern 2011 summer sailing season.
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Old 19-03-2011, 15:01   #9
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

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The OpenCPN page says that it is a Alpha version and as it would not even open on my MBP, I believe them.

I suspect that OpenCPN on Mac will not be a feasable application for the northern 2011 summer sailing season.
on the page Download OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage
it clearly says beta. And works with for me.
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Old 19-03-2011, 17:36   #10
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

Hmmm. Interesting comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
Alpha, beta...who cares? There's no official meaning of any of it. The reality is that development for it just started up again. When you zoom in and there's no chart for the area, you get a screen full of error messages. Please, it's not in a state that any normal user should even think about using.
I agree totally.

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The OpenCPN zealots have a lot to learn about pushing a product before it's done cooking. All it does is get a bunch of people who should never be downloading the software to try it and realize that it's something they don't ever want to use.
For the zealots, yes. I agree. The MAC version should only be downloaded to see what it looks like and to join in providing feedback. It is definitely not ready for prime time. But it may be soon. As for the above poster, I wouldn't plan on it being ready for your trip, but if I were you, I'd keep in touch in case it is.

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There's a lot of really great things about OpenCPN. There's a lot of really dumb and dangerous things about it too. The average user won't be able to understand the difference and especially in this case should stay away from it completely.
Now this is the interesting part. I'd like to hear what you think these things are that are dangerous and dumb.

Personally, I think the average user is more intelligent than most people give them credit for. Now, the below average user, it's true, should probably stay away. But then I submit that the below average user is probably dangerous enough, because many of them just blindly trust their chart plotter without knowing about the dangers that ALL of them inherently have.

But, what I just gotta say is that, overall, your post strikes me as slightly hostile. I wonder why, after hanging around the OpenCPN forum for months now, all of a sudden this is coming out? (keep in mind, I've had a crappy week, so maybe I am just reacting poorly.)

Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention to your posts and have missed where you gave constructive criticism.

Anyway, seriously it's no big deal. You think what you do about it, and you have a background in using many types of systems, so I have to figure most of your opinions have real substance behind them. It's just that the tone here kinda makes me pause and I really want to hear what you think.

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Old 19-03-2011, 18:15   #11
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

Ok... can't see the Alpha, so now I am not sure if I was mistaken...

I have 4 Macs running 10.6.6 at home and tried it on 3 with the same result. I even rebooted my new MBP in as 64bit for the same result (or lack of).

OpenCPN is not ready for anyone except the nerdy desk jockey and should for now only be used as a substitute for tetris, solitaire or WoW and not for navigation. Maybe it will be ok for 2012 but for now you get what you pay for.
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Old 20-03-2011, 02:24   #12
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

I think that people are arguing over two different published Mac releases of OpenCPN:
The first, available on the OpenCPN Dowload page is described as a Beta release. It is the current version 2.3.1 and has been built for any Intel Mac running Tiger or later. It is stable, but a couple of features do not work: Tides/Currents and S-57 Object Query.
The second, available via a link posted in the OpenCPN sub-forum, is described as an Alpha release. This is the unstable version - it is using pre-release code from both OpenCPN and wxWidgets. It will only run on 64-bit Intel Macs and is prone to errors. However, for those who can run it, it is fully functional and provides a good picture of what is coming.

PS: a completely free way to run the Windows version of OpenCPN on a Mac without the re-booting hassle of BootCamp (assuming you already have a legal copy of Windows), it to install VirtualBox from Sun/Oracle. This allows you to run Windows simultaneously with Mac OS X and can use the host Mac's USB port devices for GPS connection.
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Old 20-03-2011, 03:27   #13
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

I disagree with Active Captain - GPS Navx is fine, as is Mac ENC, the developer is wonderfully supportive and the gear works well. With free NOAA charts its absolutely a good simple solution.


Quote:
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PolarView - has a native Mac version with vector, raster, quilting, chart rotation, AIS support, tide/current support, weather integration, ActiveCaptain integration, and many other things planned. A single license can be put on 5 different computers so you can keep a backup. Cost: $40.

.
I agree with that to an extent - Polar view looks okay - but I already have GPS navx and am happy. Perhaps the active captain integration is the underlying interest?
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Old 20-03-2011, 06:30   #14
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

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Perhaps the active captain integration is the underlying interest?
Why does it always have to go there? I've been writing about PolarView for a long time - way before there was any ActiveCaptain in it. I do agree that Rich Ray provides great support. I have his products too and even with my critical comments about many of them, he just took a suggestion of mine for the anchor alarm in iNavX and implemented it in a release last week (+/- buttons). For what it's worth, I had been critical about some usability issues in PolarView a year+ ago too and PolarNavy took those suggestions and implemented some nice UI elements which I now find much nicer.

And of course, if you have a product, no one's suggesting that you get rid of it unless you need/want a feature not available. But that wasn't the point of the thread. The OP wanted to know if charting was available for his Mac. Given that he has nothing, he should be looking at everything available now.

ActiveCaptain makes no income, royalties, or fees of any type from products that integrate its data. What we're interested in is having the data available everywhere and added to by the whole community. Think about it... If my postings had some ulterior motive about AC, I wouldn't be critical about GPSNavX or MacENC because I'd be wanting Rich to implement support for AC.

For whatever reason, whenever I'm critical about a particular product, people who own the product feel the need to prove that my comments aren't real. Well, they're wrong. My comments are my opinions. You might not agree with them and you might not like them, but they're mine after using all of the different products. It's always best to try different things yourself to see what works best for you.
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Old 20-03-2011, 06:34   #15
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Re: I want to use my Mac Book as a chart plotter

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I thought I made it quite clear. The Mac version shouldn't be used for any use except by a developer to test it. Any other use it dumb and dangerous.
Ah, so that's all. Well that makes sense.

If it was me trying to advise people to not try to use it, I wouldn't have said "dangerous and dumb" and things like that. It's not dangerous and dumb to let people download a beta product so they can help test and help find those bugs. The latest effort to produce a MAC port has only been going on for about 2 weeks. Of COURSE they still have issues.

I would have pointed out that it is a alpha/beta release and is not stable, yet. I would also have made sure people knew I was talking about the MAC version only.

I DO think the people recommending the MAC version should point out that it is in early beta and should be downloaded for evaluation only. And they should watch it for a while until it sounds like they have the bugs worked out.

And just to be clear to everyone else reading this, it's not the software that is in early beta, it's the process needed to make it run on a MAC that is in early beta.

The OpenCPN forum is a DEVELOPMENT discussion. It is not a forum about a completed product. It is also an open source effort. That means during beta development, all the flaws and errors are open for all the public to see. People should be careful to only download the latest stable version, not a beta. There is no stable version for MAC, yet.

For an actively developed open source project, I would not take even the latest stable version offshore and depend on it for my only navigation software. It is more likely to have the odd bug show up. But then, I would not take ANY product offshore and depend on it for my only source of navigation. Even the very stable and professional $1,200 Nobeltec has crashed on me before.

These are all just the inherent characteristics of an open source project.

-dan
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