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.