Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-09-2016, 17:24   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 39
Laptop chart plotter

I think I would like to use my laptop for a chart plotter. How do I do that?

fgraham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2016, 17:46   #2
Senior Cruiser
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 11,239
Re: Laptop chart plotter

There is section on this forum for OpenCPN and a website Download OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage.

This is free navigation software for your laptop. You just need to add a small, inexpensive USB GPS antennae (about $40) and download charts.

US charts and a few others are free. Others you may have to buy.

The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2016, 19:25   #3
Registered User
RTB's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Kemah, Tx.
Boat: Hunter 36
Posts: 1,398
Images: 2
Re: Laptop chart plotter

I've sailed a few miles with a laptop running Maptech Offshore Navigator -

Pretty easy and cheap. Taking a look, it may not be available any longer, but they probably have a newer version available. Personally, I think running a nav program on a laptop is pretty clunky. Pick up a low end Garmin chartplotter that you can use at the helm. I'm happy with my 546S Garmin. The laptop is a backup now.

RTB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2016, 03:03   #4
Registered User
capt-couillon's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Onboard (Boot Key Harbor)
Boat: Cornado 25
Posts: 382
Re: Laptop chart plotter

If you are willing to try something new... check out Navigatrix a linux operating system you can run off a usb stick or install side by side with your current operating system. Add a $30 dollar "hockey puck" gps receiver (usb) and away you go...

OpenCpn installed along with a huge amount of other cruiser needed software. Tide tables, GRIB, airmail, and a bunch of others. Good community support. Works out of the box.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time"
capt-couillon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2016, 03:25   #5
Registered User
Sandero's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Southern Westchester/Northport LI
Boat: Shiva - Contest 36s
Posts: 3,892
Re: Laptop chart plotter

Chart plotters at nav station are not very useful to loo at underway.. unless you have tine. Programming a waypoint takes a few seconds and it's important to have that data accessible from where you steer... AP or helm.

GPS plotter is super to give you context as you sail... and so that belongs visible from the steering "station".

I use an AP and so helm mounted display would rarely be seen... except when I drive through anchorages and in harbors.... and then I more likly need eyeball visuals.

Laptops beiong in nav stations... Perfectly fine for planning and is there is a navigator.

Now the rage is a mobile device. Not a bad idea... Get familiar with touch screen technology.

You may want radar overlay... then you are into networking. You will figure what a makes sense for you. I have an MFD w/ radar and AIS...a portable 7" plotter I mount in a winch under the dodger... Android phone with charts and so forth. Laptop is not used for nav.

I have cockpit dash mounted instruments an NMEA repeaters for the MFD. A waypoint is programed below... data visible in cockpit and the 7" plotter is used most when sailing. I don't usually enter a waypoint in 7". It has no radar input.

Everyone finds what works for their way of sailing. There is no best way!
Sandero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2016, 07:46   #6
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 15,130
Re: Laptop chart plotter

Also, you want the laptop to be either ruggerized (waterproofed) or else you want it to be in a dry location.

Alternatively you can use a waterproof smartphone or a tablet as a plotter.

There are Nokias, iPhones and Samsung that can be used in the open.

Basically: envision, research, get the components.


barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Laptop Plotter socalsailor Navigation 11 13-07-2013 09:32
Laptop GPS/Chart plotter marinelaptopgps Commercial Posts 0 07-01-2013 13:37
Plotter or Laptop andrsn Navigation 60 12-09-2010 17:50
Laptop - cockpit plotter NoTies Navigation 3 05-07-2008 05:58

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:46.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.