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Old 23-05-2009, 09:57   #1
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The World's Worst Pirates

The world's worst pirates are not in Somalia. They are the GPS/chartplotter manufacturers who continue to soak the public with their proprietary mapping formats.

You would think someone would maufacture a charplotter that could download, store and use the free NOAA charts, just as charting software does. But no. You have to pay hundreds for their proprietary chips. Then they want you to pay thousands for networking capability that isn't nearly as good as what you get with a $500 PC and a $79 modem. Err... wireless anyone? So we don't have to worry about water getting into cable connections?

If these manufacturers don't wise up (and maybe even if they do), the chartplotter will go the way of the buggy whip and vinyl records.

I predict that fairly soon, astute boat manufacturers will be installing computers as standard equipment. The computer will be in a waterproof (or at least water resistant) slide-out tray at the nav station and will use standard laptop components, intel chips, etc. There would be a screen at the nav station and a second marinized touch screen in the cockpit. There will be a $200 multiplexer to network the system with existing NMEA 0183 components, but at some point everything will be wireless using standard 802(g)- type protocols. You won't be tied into a single manufacturer for the networked components, as you are now.

It's coming-- in my lifetime. And I'm old. Garmin, Northstar, Raymarine, Lowrance, Furuno, et. al. won't be very happy about it, but I have zero sympathy for them. Pirates.
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Old 23-05-2009, 10:36   #2
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Doesn't Panasonic build a laptop that can get wet?.......i2f
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Old 23-05-2009, 10:38   #3
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Here it is with GPS....

Rugged Laptops - Official Panasonic Toughbook Rugged Computers
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Old 23-05-2009, 10:43   #4
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Try SeaClear SeaClear GPS Navigation SoftwareSeaClear GPS Navigation Software for raster charts and opencpn cpnindex.html for enc's. Both are free. Opencpn is opensource and while working, still under development.

Both have a thread going on this site. http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...earchid=612691http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...earchid=612691
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Old 23-05-2009, 10:52   #5
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Oh sure, you can use a laptop. I have a Sony laptop with the Rose Point software for the nav station. But I wouldn't want a laptop in the cockpit. I'd want something on a fixed mount. Plus, you always want at least one backup. The Panasonic may be waterproof, but that won't prevent a hard drive crash. In fact, those sealed laptops run hot, which reduces the life of the components.

But yes, one way or another, PC technology is going to replace the chartplotter.
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Old 23-05-2009, 16:48   #6
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Is the devil in the waterproof plotter?

The only problem I can see is that there don't seem to be a lot of well priced waterproof plotters on the market.
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Old 23-05-2009, 17:09   #7
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The only problem I can see is that there don't seem to be a lot of well priced waterproof plotters on the market.
That's because they are all proprietary, and so are the maps. With open standards, the prices would drop. But the chartplotter manufacturers don't want that. Boat owners are inured to overpaying for everything.

Just think about it. The NOAA charts are free. Yet there is not a single chartplotter that can use them. Not one.
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Old 23-05-2009, 17:56   #8
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How about using a LED monitor.Should be able to find one that can be made splash proof. Don't need a waterproof computer then. My old Dell has a connection for a second monitor. That and a wireless mouse and you're set.

For the Microsoft crowd, when the new Windoz comes out it is supposed to support touch screen technology. Sounds like a weener.
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Old 23-05-2009, 18:13   #9
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I think I'd sooner deal with C-Map than Somali's.
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Old 23-05-2009, 18:34   #10
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When I need to, I use a Sony Vaio in the Nav Station With a second ( cheep monitor ) in the cockpit with a long cord. A wireless mouse and I can run MaxSea with AIS from the cockpit without the laptop being exposed to the elements.
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Old 23-05-2009, 19:30   #11
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Heck of an amazing deal right now from Navionics, though... makes me want to go buy an iPhone (were it not for AT&T):

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: iPhone/Touch nav, yet more news

Cheers!
Steve
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Old 23-05-2009, 19:46   #12
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I just tried using my Dell laptop with Seaclear but in the cockpit in daylight the screen was not visible at all. Anyone know of a laptop with a screen bright enough to use outside?
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Old 24-05-2009, 08:07   #13
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I just tried using my Dell laptop with Seaclear but in the cockpit in daylight the screen was not visible at all. Anyone know of a laptop with a screen bright enough to use outside?
There are many. Just use google and search laptop and "sunlight viewable"

Here's a link to just one of the many companies with a line of marinized PC products.

Argonaut Ranger 1400TXL Marinized, Ruggedized, Sunlight Readable Laptop! - 1400TXL - Computer - NavStore - Your Pro Marine Source - Detail

Personally I'm just going to use a Sony Vaio at the nav station with a waterproof neoprene case. The question is, what to put in the cockpit?

I could put a marinized second screen in the cockpit, then use a mouse, as FuzzyFeat and specikald@ocens suggest. But there is no convenient place to use a mouse in my aft cockpit 30 footer. (But that setup would work nicely in a boat with a pilot house.)

I also want is something that will work if the PC crashes, including the appropriate cartography.

Right now I'm inclined to bite the bullet and buy a charplotter, even though I think they will (and should) become dinosaurs.

I'm looking at the Garmin 640 touch screen unit, or the Garmin 4208 if I want to go the traditional route. Both come with the preloaded maps and
the satellite weather capability that overlays the charts.

The screen on the 640 is small, but it's half the price of the 4208. The other caveat is that I've been told that touchscreens sometimes fail when the weather is too hot or too cold.
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Old 28-05-2009, 14:58   #14
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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Oh sure, you can use a laptop. I have a Sony laptop with the Rose Point software for the nav station. But I wouldn't want a laptop in the cockpit. I'd want something on a fixed mount. Plus, you always want at least one backup. The Panasonic may be waterproof, but that won't prevent a hard drive crash.
You could use a solid state drive and a RAM mount. No platters to crash. Removable.
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Old 28-05-2009, 15:53   #15
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Yeah it is difficult to find a reasonably priced screen that is rugged enough to run in the cockpit, and be daylight viewable.
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