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Old 25-08-2010, 09:55   #1
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iPad

I know I have seen discussions on ipad gps apps but cant find using search. I am going to US tomorrow afternoon to pick up my boat and want to buy an ipad as backup gps. I see in itunes that inavx has a chart of USVI but not entire caribbean. Any advice? I am not comp literate btw.
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Old 25-08-2010, 10:03   #2
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I am on my iPad now! It's fun but has some issues if you only want to run apps it works well enough. It's not a true gps though. Once you lose 3G coverage it doesn't work.
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Old 25-08-2010, 10:12   #3
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Quote:
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It's not a true gps though. Once you lose 3G coverage it doesn't work.
That's odd, mine does. You do have a 3G model, since the Wifi only model doesn't have the GPS chip.

It does take longer to get the initial fix, up to 15 minutes and maybe more if you're in a difficult location.

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Old 25-08-2010, 10:12   #4
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While I love my iPad, I wouldn't use it for a backup GPS. Maybe a backup to the backup. (Actually, on my boat I'd go through two handheld backups before getting to the iPad.)
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Old 25-08-2010, 10:18   #5
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I could be doing somting wrong.... I have the 3G off most of the time so it could be a setting I haven't turned on. In truth I enjoy using it but I have a very long list of complaints about it. I should have done more research before I bought it.
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Old 25-08-2010, 10:19   #6
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For me, the jury is still out for maritime use. I installed MotionX-HD as a nav program. For $3, that's pretty hard to beat as a trial and I've actually been pretty impressed with it. The app will do probably 85% of what my Ray E120 can -- even has a MOB panic button that puts on a waypoint and plots a course to it. The user interface is excellent. The marine charting uses NOAA. I bought it more for a big land trip we've got coming up, but it still looks "good enough" to be a boat back up.

This is especially the case when considering all else it can do. Really, I can leave the laptop at home.

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Old 25-08-2010, 10:25   #7
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Quote:
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While I love my iPad, I wouldn't use it for a backup GPS. Maybe a backup to the backup. (Actually, on my boat I'd go through two handheld backups before getting to the iPad.)
I agree. I have a Garmin 76 as backup (black and white screen). Very dependable. Its old enough that it was made before color screens were available and still works great. You can still get the 76 C (color screen) for under $300. Highly, highly recommend it. Cost less than iPad too.
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:24   #8
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What is the best app for marine gps?
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:40   #9
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Irie, that's a tough call right now. Navionics and Navimatics have apps, iNavX does, too. I haven't tried them all. They vary in cost, that's for sure.

Since my immediate need was overland navigation, as well as the ability to download and store map tiles off-line, the $3 MotionX HD app was a low-risk purchase. I didn't expect it to also do marine navigation, but it does. It is now in version 12.2, so they've been working on it for quite awhile.

I think that over the next several months we will see more sophisticated apps emerge as the iPad penetrates the market more.

To recap a bit, I would not be using it as my primary nav unit on a boat. The NOAA charts are fine, if they cover your cruising area. Other apps have other coverage areas, too. I would closely examine the space requirements and off line storage needs/requirements for the different apps before investing in a specific one. For this purpose, I would think that you wouldn't want anything less than the 64 gig iPad, either.

On the other hand, if you're always going to be in an area with good cellular signals, the need for offline storage would be less.

Let us know what you find out -- this is a developing area.

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Old 25-08-2010, 13:55   #10
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You do not need 3G service for the GPS to work (providing you have the model with the GPS chip). Mine is every bit as accurate as my external $200 USB GPS (if not more).
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Old 25-08-2010, 14:04   #11
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I use Navionics app on a Droid and WOW....nice app.
I used it 25 miles off shore recently and am continually impressed. Maybe nothing primary, but definitely nice.
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Old 25-08-2010, 14:33   #12
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I just ran a quick test on my iPad 3G GPS with the above mentioned GPS HD Motion X.

I turned off wifi and 3g cell service and shut down the iPad.

Starting my iPad from it being off with wifi and 3g cell service disabled I was able to boot it up (about 12 seconds), start up GPS HD Motion X (about 3 or 4 seconds) and get a GPS fix in 58 seconds, this is total time for a GPS fix from power off (in my location, could vary from place to place), it was inside my house.

One thing I noticed was my $200 USB GPS puts my location of me in the back yard, the iPad puts the dot over my house about at the exact spot I'm at in the house.

With the iPad running and after I start up GPS HD Motion X it took less than 5 sec to get a GPS fix.

Let me know if you guys want me to do another test or two.
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Old 25-08-2010, 14:48   #13
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I recently purchased the 3g 64 gig ipad and am still in the learning curve process regarding using it as a back up chart plotter with the inavx program. The NOAH charts are free, but to get all the bells & whistles inavx offers, I found you then had to purchase charts from another company. Yes, it's confusing and I am far from mastering it. I do like the large screen and long battery life. On a recent cruise it came in handy to easily zoom into difficult passage areas and get updated info our paper charts did not have. I also find many of the app's really fun and helpful while cruising. Pin point Lightening is one of my favorites, which I also have on my iphone.
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Old 25-08-2010, 14:58   #14
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I recently purchased the 3g 64 gig ipad and am still in the learning curve process regarding using it as a back up chart plotter with the inavx program. The NOAH charts are free, but to get all the bells & whistles inavx offers, I found you then had to purchase charts from another company. Yes, it's confusing and I am far from mastering it. I do like the large screen and long battery life. On a recent cruise it came in handy to easily zoom into difficult passage areas and get updated info our paper charts did not have. I also find many of the app's really fun and helpful while cruising. Pin point Lightening is one of my favorites, which I also have on my iphone.
Lisa,

Check out Google Earth for the iPad, it's great for doing an e-tour of the place right around the corner. You can store maps in the memory cache of the area you are at so no wifi or 3G service is needed (providing you downloaded the google earth maps before you left).

You can see things with it that are sometimes not on charts.
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Old 26-08-2010, 08:23   #15
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There's a terrible rumor already dispelled in this thread that the iPad needs 3G service in order to obtain a lat/lon fix. As mentioned above, the iPhone/iPad needs no cellular service for GPS. The iPad has a real GPS chipset and can obtain a fix in the middle of the ocean if needed where there are no cellular towers of any type. The iPad uses cellular towers and known WiFi hotspots to lessen the time-to-first-fix of the GPS by being able to determine the GPS satellites in view. Without that, the GPS hardware will work just fine - it'll just take a minute or more to get that first position fix.

I've done a lot of position accuracy testing with the iPad. It generally gives 16' of accuracy when there's a good view of the sky (like on a boat above deck). The amazing thing is that it continues to provide about 16' of accuracy below deck in my stateroom. This promises to provide a really nice anchor alarm as well as provide other interesting uses.

I have every marine navigation app available for the iPhone (we have multiple) and iPad. I personally detest iNavX. I tried to like it but find that it is the only app I have that I wish I could get a refund for. And at $50, it's a big disappointment in many ways. I have an extensive review of it in the App Store explaining specifically all the problems it has (titled "I tried to love iNavX"). Just look at the iNavX reviews - currently 110 5-star ones and 52 1-star ones. Why are there so many people who hate this product? Spend $50 and you'll find out (with no possibility of a refund).

For a backup chartplotter, the Navionics products are pretty good. They could be better in a few ways and the latest version is much, much slower for some reason (especially on an iPhone 4 - could be the higher resolution?). I think the tide display on the Navionics products is the best tide display that exists. For the price, the Navionics products can't be beat.

As a chartplotter AND guidebook, Navimatics Charts&Tides is the best. I'm quite biased but the reality is that it works really well with it's ActiveCaptain integration. Note that we get no income/revenue/etc from this integration. They did a fantastic job with putting the entire ActiveCaptain server database 100% offline on the iPhone/iPad so you have access to every marina, anchorage, hazard, bridge restriction, boat ramp, and tens of thousands of other points-of-interest all offline. It also includes all reviews - again, tens of thousands - all offline and not requiring any internet connection. When you have an internet connection, they have an Update button that downloads everything new since the last synchronization. ActiveCaptain currently averages over 1,000 updates to the database every day so getting a weekly update is generally a good thing. We're seeing thousands of users doing these Navimatics updates so I know there are a lot of people out there using it.

The Navimatics apps (not to be confused with Navionics) include licenses for both iPhone and iPad - you can use it on both at the same time. Navionics requires you to purchase a separate iPad app even if you already have the iPhone one. It's a nice touch for Navimatics to provide both at $19.99.

For an inexpensive app that includes all US raster charts, the new eSeaChart product should be considered. At $10, it's well done and allows you to download all of the NOAA charts and uses them directly. It's a v1.0 product but for $10, it has a lot to offer. I've been in contact with the developer and there are a lot of enhancements coming including iPad support.

The iPhone/iPad/Android world for marine navigation is developing quickly. I think it's an important segment that is here to stay and will greatly expand in size and capability and may well spark the end of the stand-alone GPS/display unit.
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