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View Poll Results: Which digital navigation package do you use?
MaxSea 44 13.66%
Map Tech 31 9.63%
Captn. Jack 1 0.31%
Chersoft 1 0.31%
The Capn 33 10.25%
NaviGator 3 0.93%
Nobeltec 34 10.56%
EasyNav 0 0%
Visual Nav 2 0.62%
Chart View 4 1.24%
Offshore Navigator 19 5.90%
Visual Mariner 1 0.31%
RayTech 15 4.66%
Oziexplorer 7 2.17%
SevenC's 1 0.31%
NavPak Pro 7 2.17%
Raymarine 33 10.25%
SeaPro 3 0.93%
Waterworld 0 0%
I don't use any digital package, just paper charts and sextant or GPS 62 19.25%
C-map 59 18.32%
Fugawi Marine 29 9.01%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 322. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 16-05-2006, 11:40   #31
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John,

Fugawi 4 adds AIS support. I don't use AIS myself. Version 4 has many nice lttle things over version 3. I also use Fugawi PocketPC version on an iPaq with Navman GPS sleave. It's my chart plotter at the helm since I have a 12 volt plug handy there. iPaqs suck without exterbnal power as the batteries won';t last more than a few hours.
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Old 16-05-2006, 11:57   #32
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Paul,
Yes I purchased Fugawi 4.x upgrade primarily for the AIS capability. Unfortunately it is a pretty worthless implementation. As it turned out they released a GRIB overlay capability as a free update to 4.x that is actually quite good.
I also used the Palm version of Fugawi on my Garmin iQue until some sticky fingered luggage handler or security guard at Garwick lifted it out of my carry-on luggage that I was forced to check because of weight.
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Old 26-05-2006, 19:16   #33
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I am using SOB (DIGIBOAT.com.au) with C-MAP MAX/PC charts. BTW, isn't it a shame that there are so many incompatible proprietary formats in use? Everybody, including manufacturers would benefit from unification and standartization. Just a dream: get your C-map cartridge and use it in FURUNO chartploter, while having backup copy of it on your PC and then be able to use it on your handheld Garmin if needed. And if Navionics comes with better charts, just use them instead of C-MAP. Ain't gonna happen any time soon, corporate greed will always be ahead of consumer need. These guys cannot even agree on common connectors. Well, just a dream...
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Old 29-05-2006, 06:24   #34
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Map Tech Offshore navigator with input gps data from my garmin gps map 76cs. Now the NOAA charts are free online. (maptechs license expired) The best part is that offshore navigator drives my raymarine autopilot. Offshore navigator makes off course corrections. Click & drag a waypoint to adjust course while underway. It will autolocate the input also, USB or serial etc. I even use my microsoft streets & trips USB mini gps antenna. There are many good programs available. Don't be dazzled by a salesman at a boat show. I recently heard of a free program, SeaClear2. It uses the free NOAA charts also. I read favorable posts on it elsewhere.

Good luck

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Old 06-06-2006, 06:22   #35
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You left out Coastal Explorer as an option. I think it is very popular on West coast.
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:58   #36
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Hi folks,
Having tried quite a few programs over the last few years, I have finally found my favorite - Maxsea! I used Fugawi before because it read so many formats, but Maxsea reads even more. It reads BSB and Maptech, C-Map and even C-Map chips. I had PC-Planner by C-Map, but that program wouldn't talk to the GPS, so there was no real-time position. Maxsea installs it's own drivers for the C-Map reader and the installation is totally transparent.
The thing I really like about Maxsea is the ease of zooming and panning. I leave the panning tool active and just zoom in and out with the mouse wheel. I just hold the panning tool over the area of interest and with a few turns of the mouse wheel I can go from the continent level down into a harbor.
Another cool feature is that I can use vector and raster charts at the same time. They don't overlay, but they can both be active in their own windows. For instance, let's say I am looking at Monterey Bay on C-Map, a vector chart. With one menu click, I can make another window active that shows a Maptech raster chart. The raster charts tend to have better detail about features on shore and it is terrific to have both ready to go in an instant. The boat (GPS) shows on both.
Maxsea also reads the S-57 ENC charts available free from NOAA.
I could go on and on - the ease of loading GRIB files and the wealth of ways to display weather info is terrific. Then there are optional modules that will allow weather routing. With the optional modules, you can enter speed polars for the boat and let it work out the downwind jibe angles, etc. Now this is a little much for me - I mean, there must be some job on the boat for me! With the autopilot link, I guess I could just send the boat to Mexico and fly down to meet it.
But seriously, I haven't yet seen anything that I would choose over Maxsea. The only one that I haven't tried is Nobeltec. Maybe someone could offer a review of that one.
Best regards,
Richard Black
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Old 21-07-2006, 02:58   #37
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I like Maxsea as well. Very good programme especially if you have all the add-ins.
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Old 21-07-2006, 09:41   #38
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Maxsea is a good application. Most of the ENC displays are really poor. It was why I like Fugawi, but Maxsea has a good ENC display too. It a bit more money though. It is perhaps the best one program fits all formats that is out there.
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Old 21-07-2006, 16:16   #39
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I use MapSource from Garmin. I like it alot but it is proprietary and has cumbersome licensing requirements. I don't know if I would go down that road again, but since we purchased the charts for the GPS, might as well use them on the laptop as well.
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Old 09-08-2006, 14:50   #40
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I am curious as to how navigators actually are using the nav programs?

Do you set up and maintain way point libraries and even routes?

Do you use them more to see where you are on a chart?

Do change the chart view to head up or use north up? Do you prefer to keep your vessel in one place and have the chart scroll as you move?

Do you use databases for land based services?

Do you overlay, current, radar or weather data on to the chart?

Are you using AIS and features like MARPA?

Do you interface other instruments (wind, depth, temps) to display data on the chart

Do you use de-clutter features or change colors of the charts features?

Do you use two window views on screen at the same time... such as large and small scale?

Do the charting/nav programs have more features than you use? How much of the time at the nav station is devoted to any (and other) of the nav software features?

What say you?

Jef
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Old 09-08-2006, 16:52   #41
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Jef,
My responses after 3 years of using electronic navigation.

Do you set up and maintain way point libraries and even routes?
ANS: I use waypoints and routes only for the purpose of a specific voyage (e.g., Ibiza to Alicante) then delete them. I do organize them into folders, but I don't really keep a library. Of course if I was still weekend sailing on the Chesapeake, things might be different. As it is I rarely sail back to a place I've recently visited, so a waypoint/route library is of little use.

Do you use them more to see where you are on a chart?
ANS: No I use waypoints and routes to see where I'm going not where I am.

Do change the chart view to head up or use north up? Do you prefer to keep your vessel in one place and have the chart scroll as you move?u
ANS: If I'm entering a harbor or transiting a narrow channel I normally use course up display, otherwise north up. I use a moving chart display, but normally off-set it in the course direction to give maximum chart data ahead of me.

Do you use databases for land based services?
ANS: I haven't found that info of any value.

Do you overlay, current, radar or weather data on to the chart?
ANS: I often use the radar overlay feature of my Raymarine C120 display, as well as its MARPA target tracking. The only weather overlay capability I have is with Fugawi and GRIB files. That works and I use it often.

Are you using AIS and features like MARPA?
ANS: You know the anser to that question.

Do you interface other instruments (wind, depth, temps) to display data on the chart
ANS: Yep, all instruments are interconnected either via SeaTalk or NMEA 183.

Do you use de-clutter features or change colors of the charts features?
ANS: The answer is yes, but these features are not generic and it is difficult to compare the declutter features between the various software packages.

Do you use two window views on screen at the same time... such as large and small scale?
ANS: Seldom

Do the charting/nav programs have more features than you use? How much of the time at the nav station is devoted to any (and other) of the nav software features?
ANS: Not sure how to answer this. I try to do all of the feature investigation work in the pre-departure planning phase. Once I'm underway there are only a few features I might use. However if faced with a difficult navigation issue I might do a lot of interrogation of the software features. Hopefully this would not be breaking new ground in my understanding of those features.

John
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Old 09-08-2006, 17:40   #42
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Something new and maybe not related. I had been using a Navman 3540 with an Ipaq at the helm with the PDA version of Fugawi. Well the IPaq died. It actually lost all battery charge capacity totally and that was the end of it. It worked well so but they don't last forever. I then looked for a replacement.

A couple days ago it arrived and I can't say enough good about it. The Mio P350 is a nice small inexpensive PDA running Windows Mobility 5.0 and it has a built in GPS chip running a 400 Mhz Samsung processor. It does not come with any Navigation software what so ever except the ability to configure the GPS and turn it on and off.

I got it as a new unit on ebay for $229 US. That is about as good a deal as you will find for any Pocket PC - period and it comes with a GPS with 128 MB of RAM. It does all the Pocket PC stuff well and runs Fugawi very well too. It has the advantage of being able to switch between portrait or lanscape with a button on the PDA.

Being a Pocket PC application means it has to be pretty slim. The PDA Fugawi has route, wayponts and a few other things but nothing else. It comes free with the laptop version. You make raster charts from anything you can display on the laptop.

The Mio is doing quite well in Europe and they make a few in vehicle units too that are in the US already. If you like a Pocket PC it is a nice slim light unit. The Mio P550 is the same except it has Bluetooth and Wifi 802.11b built in ($150 more). Both use an SD Memory chip and so you can get 4 GB if you like. Has a speaker and head phone jack so it also makes a nice MP3 player as well as a backup GPS.

This is about the cheapest color chart plotter you can buy and it's very portable. It comes with a suction cup mount that holds very well on smooth surfaces.

I did look around at some of the GPS phones but they quite frankly suck and cost more than double with a tiny screen you can't really see.
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Old 08-10-2006, 16:12   #43
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I use RayTech Navigator

Do you set up and maintain way point libraries and even routes?

I rearly use this facility. I have used it on occassion to transfer waypoints and routes to other friends/buddy boats chart plotter. This way we know the planned route of the other boat.

Do you use them more to see where you are on a chart?

I use them for both planning on where I am going and confirming where I am. I have also found it VERY useful to see where I was, and the route I took to get back out. This has been VERY useful when I have entered a tricky anchorage and want to leave at an inconvient time.

Do change the chart view to head up or use north up? Do you prefer to keep your vessel in one place and have the chart scroll as you move?

When I am away from land, I use north up. When I am near land I use course up. It helps to keep me oriented.

Do you use databases for land based services?

It has helped me more often than I'd care to admit. Very nice to know where I can take on fuel and where the dinghy dock is going to be.

Do you overlay, current, radar or weather data on to the chart?

We are just discovering the weather data overlay. I have to admit it is GREAT! Eva loves it. I have not mounted the Radome yet, so no comment on the radar overlay. The current is very useful. But, we have tried to stay away from places where the current is an issue.

Are you using AIS and features like MARPA?

Radome not installed.

Do you interface other instruments (wind, depth, temps) to display data on the chart

We can show what the wind, depth, temp, SOG, COG, Time to mark, mark range, time to destination, heading, mark bearing. It is great being able to see what's going on withough having to go the 15 feet to the helm station ;-)

Do you use de-clutter features or change colors of the charts features?

Changed the colors for the weather so it is more readable for us.

Do you use two window views on screen at the same time... such as large and small scale?

I like the data in one window. Let's me know what's going on at a glance.

Do the charting/nav programs have more features than you use? How much of the time at the nav station is devoted to any (and other) of the nav software features?

Just discovered weather recently. It is great, don't use 3d yet, don't have engine monitoring connected. Lots of features that I expect to discover as I get more familiar with everything.
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Old 08-10-2006, 20:06   #44
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Strygaldwir,

Lots of questions. I'll take a stab at a few.

I like routes most of the time. It gives me a point of reference as far as just how far it is and the obstacals I'll need to avod, but also the markers I can count on for verification of my position. Having all that laid out assures I do my best by both. One avoids the potential danger but the other in case I lose my navigation or weather forces me to alter course. Laying a route means I've looked at alternatives and chosen a route with the most options that gets me there. I consider the route to be the best advantagous course. Should the winds or weather shift we will alter but I've at least examined the territory before I left. A route is a pln you made before you left. You thought about it for a period of time and made a decision.

Course up, north up. I've worked with maps for 40 years. Using them and making them on land as well as more recently using them on the water. North up is the best way so you never get the course of the ship confused. Course up implies you always go straight ahead and you think in terms of straight ahead left or right instead of magnetic / true direction. North up means at a glance I know the approximate bearing without reading a number. You might read a number wrong but north up should always force you to think in terms of what you see as well as read the correct number. If the chart winks out I know the heading that should be on my compass if not exactly maybe close enough.

As far as "more features than you use" I think it is more a matter of if one feature is only used one time and it helps then it is a good feature. The Instrument won't tell you what feature you need nor when you need them. You need to think in the bigger feature and decide what information you lack. Some times information is distracting from the thing you should be looking at and other times it's just what you want to know.

It is easy to fall into a trance where the chart plotter is telling you what to do. You then have the potential of not knowing anything and expecting the machine to drive the boat. They can't do that yet. They work great feeding information to you but some times the thing to watch is ahead of you and in the water or the sky or some light you should look for and not on the chart plotter. It's up to you to look at the bigger picture of all things and decide what information you need that you don't have. If I have a confirmed fix and things look good - they might be OK.

"Weather" - Sometimes weather discovers you! Weather information is best gathered before you really need it. That means asking for it when you don't need it. When you think you need that information it is maybe because you should have already asked for it.

All this falls into the skill of "piloting". Piloting is 25 different things that come together to tell you which way to turn and where you need to be going and how best to get there. Piloting is choosing the course that gives you a range of alternates in case something you counted on changes. Piloting is ducking in or dropping anchor of changing plans when it is safer to do so and knowing how to do so in the shortest amount of time. If you think like a pilot then you are ready for more things to come at you and you won't get bogged down in too much information on the chart plotter. Sometimes you really shouldn't be looking at the screen at all.
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Old 10-11-2006, 22:13   #45
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Do any of these charting systems used satalite derived maps?

Reason I ask is that a lot of the spots we'll take the new boat to are vast tracts of unsurveyed reef eg Swains reef about 200n/m n/e of Gladstone on the Queensland coast of Australia, for you with world maps that want to have a look for me.

A while ago I spoke to a guy who went in regularly and he reckoned his setup showed depths and contour lines, not as much as other areas, but more than the paper charts which just say unsurveyed and a big blank space.

I have contacted most of the names in the poll by email and only one has got back to me with images of my 5 places of interest and we had a 50/50 result.

Any help gratefully recieved

Dave
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