I'm in the same boat (well, not literally) with an old 5 inch screen plotter. I do most of my navigation on a laptop
, but of course I don't like it to venture from the nav station.
Long term I think the trend of supporting a tablet as a remote
display via WiFi
, which at least Navico
(Simrad, B&G, Lowrence) and Raymarine
are doing, is wonderful. It just makes sense to me to have a plotter at the nav station where it's less likely to get killed or stolen plus a remote
tablet in a waterproof case up in the cockpit
. The tablet can be moved around easily, put away in rain, etc, and a power port for it should be easy enough to rig up. You can already use any tablet (including Windows 8 tablets) as a remote desktop
for a laptop via various apps, so you could pull the same stunt with a laptop running e.g. openCPN
at the nav station and a tablet in the cockpit
None of this solves the odd fundamental discrepancy between the price
of plotter charts and app charts though. At some point something will have to give there.