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Old 09-08-2016, 17:47   #1
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Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

Hi

Existing Electronics (feel free to comment on these instruments as well but that's not what the thread is about)
  • Robertson AP20 Auto-pilot
  • Navman Plotter
  • 2 x Wind instruments (not sure what type)
I was thinking about buying an iPod or Android or Microsoft tablet - one that can have a waterproof case fitted.

There seems to be a few different apps around, just wondering what peoples thoughts are.

I have a mobile internet that I can hoist up the mast for WiFi but it would need to stand alone with occasional updates.

Experience level = 0
Area = SE Queensland - Would like to travel Australia and South Pacific when confident
Boat = Schionning Waterline 1480

Thanks
Dave
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Old 09-08-2016, 19:20   #2
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

My approach would be to first decide on the autopilot, keep the current one or upgrade to a modern unit with a three axis stabilized gyro. Next decide on the radar and then the chartplotter will follow. If you need specific recommendations, I would go Raymarine or Navico. A tablet is great for planning or following a route but it is really poor in driving an autopilot or displaying radar images. I have all Raymarine for radar, autopilot, instruments and chartplotter and I am very happy with it. I use a tablet for weather, SSB radio control, weather fax, navtex and route planning.

One benefit of Navico is that you can get a high quality OpenCPN plugin for the radar which would allow you to display radar on a laptop or a 32" HDTV.

Pizzazz

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Old 09-08-2016, 20:29   #3
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

so many out there, hard question to answer. use some and try them out. couple good articles in active captain about different apps
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Old 10-08-2016, 04:42   #4
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
I was thinking about buying an iPod or Android or Microsoft tablet - one that can have a waterproof case fitted.

There seems to be a few different apps around, just wondering what peoples thoughts are.

I have a mobile internet that I can hoist up the mast for WiFi but it would need to stand alone with occasional updates.

If the tablet has built-in GPS, it can work as a stand-alone nav device... no Internet required (except for occasional updates and so forth).

Most (all?) Android devices have built-in GPS. The iPad devices with cellular capability also have built-in GPS, and you don't have to activate the cellular capability if you don't want to. The iPad devices without built-in cellular/GPS can be enabled with an external GPS source (I think I see BadElf recommended most often).

The two apps we use on Android devices are MX Mariner (NOAA raster charts) and Plan2Nav (C-Map vector charts). You'd want to check first -- these or any other apps -- to be sure they offer charts appropriate to your area.

-Chris
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:12   #5
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

Talk to other people on the dock - see what they like. Not all apps take all charts and you choice may be driven by how good the local charts are.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:33   #6
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

Navionics "boating", My Radar, PocketGrib

These are my three qo to apps. Everything I've ever needed on the phone or tablet.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:51   #7
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

For secondary navigation equipment, my tablet has Marine Navigator as the app which I find works well on my Android. I use Raster charts rather than Vector charts as I find that the Vector charts can fade out necessary data from the screen as you zoom in and zoom out. This does not happen with Vector charts as they are 'photocopies' of paper charts.
What type of electronic charts that you can get will depend on what is available for your area, remembering that many charts have areas which have not been surveyed for many years.
In addition as Vector charts are compilations, errors can be made in the compilation. I read recently about a US Navy vessel that went aground on a reef in the Phillipines as the reef was 8 miles out of position! One source of information is never enough to guarantee where you are when you are navigating and in addition you should always be plotting a DR and EP. Without paper charts that is difficult to do and I really don't know what is best practice here with respect to electronic navigation. Where the GPS signal can be in error and the charts can be at error I really like to have other means of determining where I am, but more importantly making sure that I am not where I should not be (aground).
When using paper charts it is best practice to read the charts where you are going, and to crosshatch those places that you do not wish to be. I don't know whether you can mark electronic charts in a similar way, but at least work out before hand what your track should be and put it on the screen as a route.
With any tablet, using it in the sun is an issue, as most have very shiny screens. I am told that an Ipad or a Samsung S2 (with amoled screens) are the best. I have built a black shroud for my Android which makes it easier to read in the sun. Below decks is not a problem.
Battery life is an issue with a cheap tablet. You really need at least 10 hours of battery time which the more expensive tablets have. I use a battery pack attached to my cheap Android to extend the 2 hours that the internal battery pack has.
The screen on the proprietry screens with Furuno, Standard Horizon etc. Are really good in sunlight but when the sun is behind you even they can be difficult to see. With paper charts you can usually always read them!
I think that the electronic methods of navigation are developing very fast, but for instance, putting updated charts onto the electronics is possible but expensive. I keep a log of the most important points from Notices to Mariners in my area, but that is not ideal.
There is no one answer as to what to use, but try to identify and follow best practice when you can identify it.
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:13   #8
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
Hi

Existing Electronics (feel free to comment on these instruments as well but that's not what the thread is about)
  • Robertson AP20 Auto-pilot
  • Navman Plotter
  • 2 x Wind instruments (not sure what type)
I was thinking about buying an iPod or Android or Microsoft tablet - one that can have a waterproof case fitted.

There seems to be a few different apps around, just wondering what peoples thoughts are.

I have a mobile internet that I can hoist up the mast for WiFi but it would need to stand alone with occasional updates.

Experience level = 0
Area = SE Queensland - Would like to travel Australia and South Pacific when confident
Boat = Schionning Waterline 1480

Thanks
Dave
Dave,

We are asked what we use often enough that we created a web page in our Stuff we have and use sidebar on our blog.

It contains all the details and we keep it updated. It covers computers, tablets, phones, related applications broken down by category, and network devices.

These are our choices based upon our needs and preferences; Yours may be different.

Best wishes sorting it all out.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:03   #9
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

Fish finder so you can watch the depth trends in shallow water and look for uneven bottoms when anchoring.


Couple of cheap SSD 10" computers with OpenCPN and USB GPS's. CM93 will get you most places. I also have a cheap GME AIS for the novelty and curiosity value but there's not really enough traffic to really need one.


USB to RS422 converter from Jaycar to allow NMEA 0183 connection between the cheap computers and the autopilot.


Cheap 12V stand alone GPS at the nav table in case you need to plot positions on charts.


The other goodies are wants rather than needs. I have a Sony Xperia tablet with Navionics on it which I find handy to have at the wheel when getting into anchorages.


You also need Lucas's cruising guides for Queensland and New South Wales and it's handy to have Noel Patrick's Curtis Coast and 100 Magic Miles if you are going to cruise the Curtis coast and the Whitsundays.
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Old 10-08-2016, 14:59   #10
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

Navionics, travelled the Qld coast with it using the autoroute feature. Cheap and reliable. Only downside is my iPad screen is no good on the flybridge as the display washes out in the sunshine.
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Old 10-08-2016, 15:19   #11
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

On my boat:

Sextant, Chronometer, and Nautical Almanac
Paper Charts.

Android GPS with charger.

Then add electronic goodies to match geek index and wallet.
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Old 11-08-2016, 00:53   #12
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

fish finder sonar for depth and bottom contour/ right charts for your plotter/laptop with open cpn world CM93 charts/epirb with gps/vhf radio//or matching set of marine electronics
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Old 11-08-2016, 01:44   #13
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

What's your intended use, & when? As in how long from today?

I ask because as you likely know, electronics advance in features, & drop in cost so rapidly that it's best to get them just before they're truly needed. More specifically, get a good portion of them only early enough so that you can install them, learn how to use them well, & wring out any kinks not too long before you go somewhere. Or on a long vacation that you'll want them for etc.

The other thing is that generally, electronics will either not work correctly right out of the box, or cook themselves within a relatively short period. So then if they pass this test, they usually tend to last for quite a while. During which, hopefully they're under warranty, & you're also sailing somewhere where it's easy to swap them out under that warranty. Though hopefully that won't be needed.

It also usually is wisest to buy as much of your gear from one maker as possible so that it's easier for your equipment to communicate with the various components & systems. Such as your wind instruments talking to your AP. And being able to feed everything to your Nav center.

Plus, nothing beats trying out different gear firsthand. So go sailing on as many other boats as you can & try out their toys. Taking notes, pics, & audio/video notes; both on those boats, & when shopping.


I'd start with the below quoted items, adding; a depth sounder (maybe forward looking scan type), knot log/speedo, plus a good radar, & anything handheld with GPS functions. In that exact order. With the latter two being semi-luxury items. From there, add toys, but prioritize them. And have a plan of what you may like to progressively add, so that you can pick up units from your primary gear maker, as noted above.

Also, don't get things just because everyone else has them/they're popular. Given that many/most are luxury/comfort items really. And avoid drilling a lot of mounting holes in bulkheads or cabinetry until you map out where Everything is going. Patching them is a pain!

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelratinter View Post
On my boat:

Sextant, Chronometer, and Nautical Almanac
Paper Charts.
Android GPS with charger.

Then add electronic goodies to match geek index and wallet.


Below is a great blog, & info source! Regardless of experience level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
Dave,
We are asked what we use often enough that we created a web page in our Stuff we have and use sidebar on our blog.

It contains all the details and we keep it updated. It covers computers, tablets, phones, related applications broken down by category, and network devices.

These are our choices based upon our needs and preferences; Yours may be different.
Best wishes sorting it all out.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 11-08-2016, 04:51   #14
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

No one has mentioned the use of a Blue Sea ACR to manage charging between house/start. I installed an ACR and replaced the switch with an On/Off (plus Both) switch with a dual-battery smart charger for use at the slip. Mind you I have a simple battery array - one start and one 12v house with minimal house requirements. This setup assists with memory challenges.
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Old 13-08-2016, 17:29   #15
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Re: Starting from scratch - what Nav Apps should I get

It is actually difficuilt to get a good package for Australia.

You will need a windows PC as some programs only are available for windows.
Don't spend too much on each system as new apps are released often
OpenCpn is the best Program but it is difficuilt to get up to date charts.
The best apps i have found
"i-Boating: Australia ($35US) for windows 8.1 and up
"Navionics" Boating AU&NZ not HD ($27US) for android
Both have good charts but plotting software is poor and no AIS support

For Australia if you stick to Cruising guide areas these will be ok.
When you start doing overnight travels AIS is an advantage
If you want to travel off the beaten track you need Google Earth charts.

For hardware I am using Android TV box ($70) to 20" Monitor or HDMI TV
Also "Wintel Pro Z8300" 10Watt Windows 8.1 (looks like Apple TV) ($110)

PM me if you want any more info
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