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Old 23-02-2011, 12:53   #1
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Need Suggestions on New Chart Software

I need new chart software for the research boat that I run for a living.

I don't necessarily want the least expensive software out there. I have the budget for expensive Nobeltec Admiral like software if this turns out to be what serves my purposes the best.

I do not know much about the home brew electronic chart software and it worries me that there might be a huge learning curve to get it working well. I have seen the posts with people having trouble getting this software to work. I am not suggesting it is bad, I don't know, it just has me concerned. How true is this? How easily does the home brew software install and work compared to something like Nobeltec?, which I am familiar with.

There are two really important things that are a must....

I need to be able to categorize way points and routes by user. What this means is that I need to be able to assign way points (sampling stations) and routes to different scientists that I work with. I cannot have all the scientists way points and routes showing at the same time, the screen just gets too cluttered, which is what I have now.

The other thing I need is to be able to click and drag waypoints within a route in order to make very quick changes to that route, without having to go into a menu. Sometimes I need to make last minute changes to the route once out in the field. The Furuno Navet 3D software I have is horrible for this. To be able to import routes and waypoints from something like an Excel file or other common software would also be very helpful.

I have two 1080 x 756 monitors at the helm station, one for Navnet and the other for Nobeltec Visual Navigation Suite 6.0 with Passport charts. The VNS is what I need to replace because the charts are getting too old and the software is pretty old as well.

A nice third option would be able to download free NOAA raster scan and vector charts....is this possible with any software?

Any help I can get in making this decision is most appreciated.
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Old 23-02-2011, 15:17   #2
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Re: Need suggestions on new chart software.

What's the NavNet3D software and are you sure it can't handle an Excel spreadsheet?

You should be looking at MaxSea Time Zero, Coastal Explorer, and Nobeltec. Nobeltec just released a new product at last week's boat show">Miami Boat Show called Time Zero Trident that should be shipping in April. You might want to wait for that to make a full evaluation.
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Old 23-02-2011, 15:27   #3
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Re: Need suggestions on new chart software.

David,

I use The Cap'n Mosaic and I have for years. It was written by some folks here in Maine but has been sold a couple of times and is now owned by Star Technologies.

The route thing is easy, you just grab a waypoint and move it and the route comes with it.

The sampling by scientist could be done by assigning the "type" of a waypoint mark by individual persons initials or by numbers representing individual scientists. You can then write a rule to show only marks with a type of XYZ or 24 or whatever.

Check it out on www.thecapn.com

My only caution is that we do not know how active Star Technologies is going to be is improving the software over time. It currently supports raster and vector charts available from NOAA, AIS input, autopilot output, downloading marks and routes. I have not been able to turn on 3D charts and I have not heard anything about other "new" stuff like Active Captain data inclusion etc.

Just an idea, for what it is worth.

Cheers

Ansley Sawyer
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Old 23-02-2011, 19:51   #4
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Re: Need Suggestions on New Chart Software

FWIW PolarView lets you:

1. Assign arbitrary, multiple tags to waypoints, to custom group them - though not to routes (interesting idea and just went onto my TODO list).

You can control visibility of waypoints based on assigned tags (i.e. select which specific tags are or are not visible)

2. Quickly move/edit both routes and points on screen. Routes attach to and move with waypoints.

3. Download vector (but not raster) charts.



Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
I need new chart software for the research boat that I run for a living.

There are two really important things that are a must....

I need to be able to categorize way points and routes by user. What this means is that I need to be able to assign way points (sampling stations) and routes to different scientists that I work with. I cannot have all the scientists way points and routes showing at the same time, the screen just gets too cluttered, which is what I have now.

The other thing I need is to be able to click and drag waypoints within a route in order to make very quick changes to that route, without having to go into a menu. Sometimes I need to make last minute changes to the route once out in the field. The Furuno Navet 3D software I have is horrible for this. To be able to import routes and waypoints from something like an Excel file or other common software would also be very helpful.

A nice third option would be able to download free NOAA raster scan and vector charts....is this possible with any software?

Any help I can get in making this decision is most appreciated.
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:29   #5
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Re: Need Suggestions on New Chart Software

Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
FWIW PolarView lets you:

1. Assign arbitrary, multiple tags to waypoints, to custom group them - though not to routes (interesting idea and just went onto my TODO list).

You can control visibility of waypoints based on assigned tags (i.e. select which specific tags are or are not visible)

2. Quickly move/edit both routes and points on screen. Routes attach to and move with waypoints.

3. Download vector (but not raster) charts.
No raster charts would be a deal breaker for me. EDIT: Read response in next post - I was wrong! END EDIT Although, you could use PolarView for the waypoints, and have a second screen with OpenCPN showing raster charts. Not so good in an area where you might only have rasters and not want to buy ENCs.

But the waypoint grouping sounds great.

-dan
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:33   #6
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Re: Need Suggestions on New Chart Software

Raster charts are fully supported, quilting and all.

- You can't *download* them from inside PolarView like you can vector charts.

- You can add raster charts and vector charts that you downloaded elsewhere.

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No raster charts would be a deal breaker for me. Although, you could use PolarView for the waypoints, and have a second screen with OpenCPN showing raster charts. Not so good in an area where you might only have rasters and not want to buy ENCs.

But the waypoint grouping sounds great.

-dan
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:36   #7
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Re: Need Suggestions on New Chart Software

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Originally Posted by brak View Post
Raster charts are fully supported, quilting and all.

- You can't *download* them from inside PolarView like you can vector charts.

- You can add raster charts and vector charts that you downloaded elsewhere.
Oh. I'm sorry for my comment. Glad you were here to respond immediately. You responded quick enough for me to go edit my post.

Thanks,

-dan
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:38   #8
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Re: Need Suggestions on New Chart Software

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Oh. I'm sorry for my comment. Glad you were here to respond immediately.

-dan
no worries it's a quiet evening, so I am spending it flipping through all my usual sailing forums
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Old 23-02-2011, 20:40   #9
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Re: Need Suggestions on New Chart Software

Thanks guys, much appreciated. I forgot to say I need both the raster charts and vector charts. Sometimes the information that I need is left out of vector charts. I frequently need a lot of shallow water and shoreline information which raster charts are good for.

Jeff, I don't know if Furuno Navnet can import waypoints and routes. I would imagine it can but I have not looked into it because using it is pretty clunky for managing way points and routes...the science side of things. I do use the Navnet system for displaying raster and vector charts, radar images and AIS contacts, which it excels at. I have Nobeltec interfaced to the autopilot so it can run routes.
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