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Old 04-05-2011, 19:56   #1
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iPad Route Navigation

"Waypoints" are sets of coordinates (longitude and latitude) that identify a point in physical space
"Route" is usually defined as a series of two or more waypoints connected by a straight line. To follow a route, the GPS user navigates to the nearest waypoint, then along a straight connecting line to the next waypoint until the destination is reached. Routes are where you want to go and tracks are the bread crumb trail you leave behind
"Track"-logging capabilities, one can also define waypoints after the fact from where one has been. For example, marine GPS receivers often have a "man overboard" function, which instantly creates a waypoint in the receiver for the boat's position when enabled and then begins displaying the distance and course back to that position. Tracks are the bread crumb trail you leave behind the boat
".GPX" (the GPS Exchange Format) is a light-weight XML data format for the interchange of GPS data (waypoints, routes, and tracks) between applications and Web services on the Internet.

Vector verses RasterCharts. VECTOR charts are an electronic rendering of a lithographic chart in a point-by-point format. They allow you to zoom in to large magnifications without distortion. Most chart plotters (like those from Magellan, Garmin, some Northstar models, and others) use vector charts. The alternative RASTER charts are raster-scanned electronic chart which are an electronic snapshot of a paper chart. On-screen it looks just like the same familiar paper charts you've used for years. They are produced by companies like Maptech and NDI. They cannot be zoomed in to very high magnifications without losing sharpness.

"GPSBabel" converts waypoints, routes and tracks between popular GPS receivers and mapping programs. It also has powerful manipulation tools for such data.
www.gpsbabel.org

In many cases marine navigators plan routes on a home computer using trip planning software like Maptech or these free OpenCPN or ActiveCaptain and then transfer their routes to a Chart plotter at the helm and a backup GPS or iPad at the nav station. Sometimes you just want to use waypoints and routes you have proven out and traveled on for years and have saved on your home computer.

In most cases you want to take your waypoints & routes in a standard .gpx format and convert them to your Garmin in (Garmin Mapsource – .gdb) or your Raymarine in (Raymarine Waypoint File - . rwf )

Next you would put the same waypoints & routes in .gpx file format on your iPad, so you have dual stations seeing the same waypoints & routes

If this is how you are going to use your iPad for navigation then I can save you some money and headaches.
I purchased all of the following iPad navigation apps. And boy was I surprized at what there capabilities were and were not.
In a nut shell, only one program lets you take your waypoints & routes that you already have and import or export them to your iPad for navigation.
I was in disbelief also, so I email each company to see if I was missing something. No, it was not designed to do that was the replies. Maybe in the future.

Memory-Map & iNaxX - Are the only programs that lets you import and export all your waypoints & routes in standard .gpx format.

iPad navigation apps purchased and tested with Pro’s & Con’s

iNavX by GPSNavX $49.99
Pro - Raster charts with "Head up Display", Import & export .gpx marks, route & tracks.
Route and Track navigation with all the vitals displayed.
Con’s – Tides and currents is a $9.99 add on. Chart scaling and zoom are strange
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inavx-marine-navigation/id286616280?mt=8

Navimatics - Charts & Tides $24.99 With ActiveCaptain
Pro - Nice Vector charts with integrated ActiveCaptain for finding great places to stay or get marine services. Has tide & currents. "Heads up Display".
Con’s - Only lets you put in way points. No import or export .gpx routes files. Will have to use the up and coming ActiveCaptain routes for navigation in the future integration.
No follow route or vitals like eta. Not a route navigation program
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/charts-tides-east-coast/id333226849?mt=8

Memory-Map-Pocket Nav $19.99
Pro-Nice Raster charts, Great dashboard display with all the boat vitals. Import & export .gpx marks, route & tracks. Loads all files and charts by WiFi.
Save and e-mail routes. Follow route and track navigation with all the vitals displayed. Easy new route creation and editing. Very nice route navigation program
Con’s – No tide & currents. No "Head up Display".
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketnav/id373365691?mt=8

NavionicsMarine & Lakes USA HD $29.99
Pro – Nice Vector charts with Google or Bing satellite land overlay. The best tide & currents of them all hands down. Easy new route & track creation and editing
Con’s - No import or export .gpx routes files. No follow route or vitals like eta. No "Head up Display". Not a route navigation program
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marine-lakes-usa-hd/id409794234?mt=8

GeoGarageMarine US $5.99
Pro – Nothing. Purchased this App because their web based progam is outstanding and thought their iPad App would be also. Big let down
Con’s – Needs everything to use it for route navigation. Sadly it was not even worth the $5.99 price of admission. I will never admit I bought this program again.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marine-us/id376844755?mt=8

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Old 05-05-2011, 06:40   #2
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Re: iPad Route Navigation

There are some other apps: eSeaChart, iSailor, iNavX, ImrayCharts (UK), and others. Some are starting to show route handling.

This is a really new field. When I wrote Outdoor Navigator for Maptech, the first version only did waypoint handling too. The second (a year later) implemented routes. The user-interface needed for route entry on a touch screen is new territory for software developers and it'll take a while to figure out the best methods of allowing that complex type of information to be entered. I personally believe that the future is route sharing between different users as well as all the devices of a particular user. Probably the most important first step is that all devices used for navigation should be running the exact same route. That'll happen before route creation on touch screen devices will be common.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:03   #3
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Re: iPad Route Navigation

Jeffrey,

I agree with you.

What I find sad about all these iPad Navigation apps is that you really do not find out how capable they are until you buy and try. No refunds here. If the app is not capable of doing what you need it do your wallet just feels a bit lighter.

Speaking of routes on a touch screen. I have been using a HP pocket PC with waypoints and all my routes running Maptech pocket navigator since 2003 with full capabilities. Maptech must have been ahead of the curve here. It was and still is a great program which even gave you boat vitals and ETA.

For info purposes Maptech pocket navigator was made by Memory-Map and repackaged on Maptechs name.

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Old 05-05-2011, 07:25   #4
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Re: iPad Route Navigation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
What I find sad about all these iPad Navigation apps is that you really do not find out how capable they are until you buy and try. No refunds here. If the app is not capable of doing what you need it do your wallet just feels a bit lighter.
You nailed it. There really needs to be a way to return a product. The problem is that Apple gets revenue from it and definitely aren't motivated to make any returns. I think 75% of apps would be returned if you could do it within a week. It's especially bad in vertical markets where there aren't very many knowledgeable reviews. Posts like your help.

Another solution is free apps. That's an obvious way to find out if a product really meets your needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
Speaking of routes on a touch screen. I have been using a HP pocket PC with waypoints and all my routes running Maptech pocket navigator since 2003 with full capabilities. Maptech must have been ahead of the curve here. It was and still is a great program which even gave you boat vitals and ETA.
I know Richard. It's a small community. Outdoor Navigator implemented full route capabilities, ETA, etc. I still use it today. But I doubt you entered the routes with your finger. You probably used a stylus. That's a much different user-interface than the 40 pixels your finger touches when pointing to something. There are just now starting to be some good user-interfaces being developed for this type of thing. We're at the very early beginning of it all.
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