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.