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Old 28-04-2017, 12:38   #1
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IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

I have been fairly happy for a few years with Navionics on Android tablets. I have had a few gripes -- one upgrade broke their tide display, for example -- but they fixed the bugs and I still find Navionics very usable.

Having committed to the Furuno First Watch wifi radar unit, I am now forced to buy an iPad (grrr). I have a very small chart table area so I can't be cluttering up the place with more displays, and a very small budget so I can't afford the big fancy multifunction screens. So using the iPad as a mobile, configurable display has its appeal.

Now I face the big decision: which app to buy for the iPad? Should I stick with Navionics, the devil I know? Or choose a new nav tool? I imagine this topic comes up regularly, sorry about the repetition, but the features keep changing...

In the past I just accepted the tablet as a standalone GPS/charting device. I used it for route planning, large-screen overview to supplement my handheld Garmin, and tide predictions. Now I see at least 2 new interesting possibilities.

As I do my research, I discover that the iPad apps offer new options like... possibly integration with the Furuno wifi radar so I could overlay radar onto my chart (Nobeltec TimeZero); possibly integration with NMEA/wifi hubs so I could display all my instrument data on one screen (iNavX). Maybe I could even make my tillerpilot steer a GPS course!

So I am now really perplexed. If anyone else has done all this research recently, could you share the short version? I think there are only 4 contenders:


and in trawling their websites I'm overwhelmed by verbiage and still trying to figure out which can do what and how much it will cost me. I'm just interested in NMEA wifi integration (display and autopilot send) and Furuno 1st Watch integration. I don't really need google earth aerial imagery or 3 d projection, I'm quite comfortable reading paper charts :-) I don't need any fancy "guide to services and marinas," this is my home ground and I know pretty much everyone out there. I do absolutely need tide/current prediction as this is a major factor in these parts. I do need full offline operation as I have no form of internet or phone connectivity when cruising.

I cruise the Canadian west coast so free NOAA charts are not an option; I will have to buy charts no matter what. Can I port my Navionics charts into an iPad app? I have no idea. If anyone can educate me a bit on this bewildering new world, I'd really appreciate it. Every time I start googling around trying to understand all my options, I get overwhelmed and give up :-) gee, I'm starting to feel my age.

Never too old to be messing about in boats...
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Old 28-04-2017, 13:49   #2
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

So far Navionics is a good choice, but maybe someone will have a better idea

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Old 29-04-2017, 07:06   #3
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

I used Navionics on my iPad4 and still like it. However, I recently installed a Miniplex3 multiplexer with WiFi. It sends all NMEA data over wifi. Navionics has no support for this (or ... hardly any) so I switched to iNavX, which does.

I now see other vessels using AIS and also depth, wind, speed and temperature on my iPad. So far so good. I can also plot a route on OpenCPN and easily transfer it to iNavX.Which is good because plotting routes in iNavX is horrible.

Last week I installed Weather Router on OpenCPN. It is still buggy but mostly does a good job of plotting routes in different weather. I transfer that route to iNavX.

So basically ... if you send NMEA over WiFi I would advise iNavX. If not I would stick to Navionics.
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Old 29-04-2017, 07:40   #4
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

Take a close look at Weather4D 2.0 , it's not just a weather app.
So much much more. Remarkably well done.
You can download their iBooks manual for free which also contains many video tutorials.

I also use iSailor. Many many great features, but at an add-on cost.
Great user interface. Love their vector charts.

Also look at WilhelmSK . Great developer (Scott) . Great support.
If you add a SignalK server .... the possibilities are endless.

My 2 - Your wallet.

Epoxy expert (Family business 3 generation) Happy to answer questions
Former SORC participant Member of RLWYC
Sailplane pilot Composer/Musician ♫
Seeking SF global cruising partner.
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Old 29-04-2017, 08:24   #5
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

If I can jump in? I am facing a similar quandary, in reverse. I use iNavx on my ipad2 with gps but will need to leave a Netflix-purposed tablet with my wife when I head out. I have been looking into bringing my laptop with Opencpn (with gps dongle) and getting an android tablet like the Galaxy S2 for Navionics. I especially like its auto-routing feature. Now my head is spinning as I need to assimilate all this new input. Grr. I suppose I can just keep the ipad for myself and add Navionics to it. That might be the way to go.
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Old 29-04-2017, 08:31   #6
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

I have Navionics on Two iPads and also two cool suction cup iPad holders I found at Target..

One is right above my berth, the other in the saloon by the nav station. Our raymarine e7 chart plotter streams wifi and the iPads act as repeaters. It's awesome. Does Furuno have a similar feature?

Navionics works great on the iPads for us, no complaints. We also use the iPad in the saloon as our flatscreen tv.

The world has changed!

"Take it all in, it's as big as it seems, count all your blessings, remember your dreams" JB
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Old 29-04-2017, 08:32   #7
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

Hi, I have used the iPad on our pilothouse sailboat for several years on BC coastal waters using I-boating Nautical, cost is $35/year, huge chart selection. Here on the BC coast there is very poor cell phone reception, so we don't rely on it at all, instead use a GPS receiver called "Bad Elf", it is Bluetooth and 4 devices can connect to it, 2 iPads, 2 iPhones or Mac mini connected to our tv with hdmi. As accurate as any big dollar unit. Put a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug in at inside steering station, set it to never turn off. Whenever you ger cell reception you can read/send emails try that with your big $$$$ unit. Love it
Ray & Dianna
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Campbell River, BC
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Old 29-04-2017, 09:00   #8
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

I use the Sea Sucker to hold the ipad in my pilot house. I got the cup holder as well.
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Old 29-04-2017, 09:28   #9
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...


I sympathize. We are home ported just a bit further north of you and traverse your beautiful BC waters routinely.

We have tried most of the iOS navigation apps, and keep gravitating back to SEAiq Open. [The Open version is the one you want to use any charts worldwide...]

I recommend you consider adding it to the list of those you are considering.

SEAiq is one of the few that doesn't require proprietary [i.e., vendor or application specific] chart sets, has both raster and vector charts, integrates with other data you may have available [e.g., AIS, NMEA, Active Captain, AyeTides, etc.] and is routinely updated with new, relevant features increasing its appeal.

And, SEAiq is the brainchild of an active international cruiser with a PhD in computer science...

Best wishes finding what suits you best.

Cheers! Bill

The above is from a page we maintain primarily for ourselves, and also to share our thinking about which computers, devices, and apps we chose, and why.
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Short on opinions; focused on research, facts & experience [yours and ours...]
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Old 29-04-2017, 12:06   #10
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

Garmin Blue Charts. Free, or nearly so. It worked all through the parts of Canada and the US that we've seen so far on the Loop.
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Old 29-04-2017, 12:37   #11
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

We are very pleased with Polar Navy.
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Old 29-04-2017, 15:41   #12
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post

Best wishes finding what suits you best.

Cheers! Bill
Great work Bill. Many thanks!
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Old 29-04-2017, 16:02   #13
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

I use INavex. I REALLY like having raster charts vs vector charts. With INavex I can download, for a moderate fee, CHS raster charts.
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Old 29-04-2017, 20:19   #14
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

I use, and recommend, Inavx for IOS. One license lets you put it on as many devises as you own.
I have a small chartplotter mounted at the helm, completely waterproof.
I do my navigation with Inavx, pretty much on an Ipad mini. No, it is not waterproofed, but I haven't had a problem. My cockpit is pretty dry, and if the ipad is likely to get flooded, it can stay in a pocket in my foul weather jacket. Has to be very sloppy to be a problem.
A friend has an iPad mounted at his helm, waterproofed.
I get to be the navigator on other peoples boat. Inavx is that good.
Chart data? Wow, it can be expensive. I did buy one country, for one trip on somebody elses boat. It was a limited license, good for two devices.

ps, Always have a backup. Maybe two.
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Old 29-04-2017, 20:34   #15
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Re: IPad Nav Software decision (again) ...

We've been very happy using both INavx for seven years and TimeZero for three years. Each uses a different set of charts, each has it's advantages.

Most of the time we're using INavx with the Vector AIS intergrade.

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