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Old 13-02-2009, 12:27   #1
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Laptop/Hanheld GPS - which software?

Hello everybody,

My sailing is coastal cruising, navigation is traditional chart and tools. I keep a basic handheld GPS to "verify" once in a while.
Is there a basic program that can be loaded to a laptop and interface with the handheld, sort of a poor mans chartplotter?

Thanks, Bill
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Old 13-02-2009, 13:32   #2
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I would suggest using the newest version of google earth and download the "earth bridge" software (free) and it lets you plug the handheld GPS unit into the laptop and display whatever you see on google earth with your position and trail if you want, it's very functional and certainly qualifies for a poor mans chartplotter with satelite capability! LoL
I use it, and it's really accurate and reliable and it saves a record of your journey if you want as a track. It's the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.
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Old 13-02-2009, 14:02   #3
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I have a very basic garmin e trex, will it work with that? What cable is needed?
I really like that free element.
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Old 13-02-2009, 14:32   #4
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Yep, go the google earth!

If the handheld is a Garmin or Magellin it will plug right into Google Earth

You dont need to be on the net to use GE!
You computer saves all the areas viewed when you are on the net and are recalled when you are not on the net
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Old 13-02-2009, 15:20   #5
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you could download maxsea 10 and cm93 charts, and add a garmin to serial cable, details of the chart software are discussed in detail on this forum, or if it's an old laptop the cmap ecs will run on win 98 - either will give you a fantastic system.
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Old 13-02-2009, 15:52   #6
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Earth Bridge - Bridge the gap between Google Earth and your GPS receiver.

download, get a cable to plug into the gps unit and then to your usb port. Rock & roll. It takes a few minutes to get a signal but when it does, and the data stream starts rolling in, it's like your first sunset from the deck of your boat with no land in sight... what a moment.

Normally I use the NMEA interface option which is pretty common on every GPS handheld made.
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Old 13-02-2009, 16:22   #7
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SeaClearII will do that.
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Old 13-02-2009, 19:45   #8
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I also have a Garmin Etrex and it came with a usb cable that allows you to download updates and connect to the Garmin program that comes with it.

I thought it did not have the capability to connect as a GPS for a computer navigtion program but found out that the USB cable will work if you install GPSGate. This amazing program allows you to connect your GPS to multiple computer programs simultaneously. Also it will translate the Garmin GPS data to NMEA format to feed Google Earth. It only cost $29:

GPS splitter, simulator and logger. Serial port splitter. - Franson GpsGate

But as far as Navigation program my recommendation is to use the free program SeaClear.
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Old 13-02-2009, 21:22   #9
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This topic always makes me feel like I've been living in a cave.

Can I get this USB cable for my old Garmin 176C?
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Old 13-02-2009, 21:52   #10
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Only if it was ever USB capable (which I very much doubt).
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Old 14-02-2009, 00:47   #11
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if you want to go a little more up market i'd get "software onboard" from www.digiboat.com.au (no connection to me)

price is about $us50 and it's a full blown nav program that uses c-map

if you're only doing local coastal sailing the c-map chart cost for yr area should be modest
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Old 14-02-2009, 02:17   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minggat View Post
Can I get this USB cable for my old Garmin 176C?
Check the normal USB cabl;e doesnt work before you buy the NMEA cable



Quote:
Originally Posted by phiggins View Post
. Also it will translate the Garmin GPS data to NMEA format to feed Google Earth. It only cost $29:


.
You dopnt need it. My Garmin is now plugging into GE with either the straight USB cable or the NMEA cable. The difficulty I am having is the Position marker isnt showing. I think this is a problem with GE itself. I can get the position marker with the NMEA cable when I have the garaphics changed on GE ( Tools / Options / 3D View Direct X or OpenGL) just swap to the other one and restart the program and or the wholecomputer. )

Try everything before you go waste money on a cable
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Old 14-02-2009, 05:49   #13
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Info overload for the luddites! You guys are great and all those systems sound great, but. I tried the seaclear, it's a little over my head. Some of the other options require too many add ons or adapters, sigh. People like me need something that is pretty much plug and play. I dug around a little and found the maptech system,
U.S. Boating Charts with Tides and Currents on DVD
It seems reasonable at $99, even if I get the usb plug in gps they have for $120 it's just over $200.
Now it is my understanding all the NOAA charts sre available free and that systems uses those. Or you can get a DVD with all the charts on it for $40.
Electronic Charts | Managing the Waterway
Anybody tried that?

Found this also, Tiki software, claims to be aimed at the less computer savvy, like me.
TIKI Navigator - Marine navigation and GPS tracking on Maptech digital charts
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Old 14-02-2009, 06:41   #14
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are there any mac users here that know of chart compatible software like this? all these programs are for windows. i would love to have charts on my laptop.
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Old 14-02-2009, 08:04   #15
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NOAA ENC (also called "vector") charts download site: LINK

Use the "get 'em all" option (370M! in one ZIP file) and expand them into where ever you keep charts (typically D:\Charts or C:\Charts). There will be a root folder ENC_ROOT which, when you drag it into Charts, will take all the ENC charts with it. Tell SeaClear or whatever you use where you hid ENC_ROOT and it should do the rest.

NOAA also has an RNC site ( LINK ) which handles "raster" (also called BSB) charts which are, essentially, printed charts scanned into electronic form. That site is a little more complex to use as it only allows 100 charts to be downloaded at a time and there are 1016 charts in the library. However, if you're on the west coast and don't care about the Gulf, East Coast, or Great Lakes, for example, that makes the job somewhat easier. The files also come in ZIP format and need to be expanded into BSB_ROOT in Charts.

The two forms (ENC and RNC) each offer unique data and the ENC chart coverage isn't quite as great as the RNC chart coverage, so there is value in learning to cope with RNC's. ENC's and RNC's can be read by any number of programs and even NOAA makes chart viewers (they are not "nav programs") available for free. Or... buy Coastal Explorer from Rose Point Navigation Systems ( LINK ), which will do all of this bookkeeping for you (there is no charge for charts or downloads - CE, of course, is not free).

DISCLAIMER: I have been involved with beta testing and minor background testing for Coastal Explorer but have no other connection with Rose Point Navigation Systems save as a customer.
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