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Old 08-01-2019, 14:00   #1
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GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

I'm new to sailing and gathering info before I set sail this year.

Many cruisers use an iPad for navigation.
Will a tablet work for this instead of an iPad?
Does it need to be connected to a service plan ( example...Verizon or AT&T, etc?)
I have a tablet that isn't attached to a service plan that I use on wifi connections.
Just wondering on the details how to use it for GPS
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Old 08-01-2019, 14:03   #2
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

If you look in the top green bar there is a search function in there. Works great, it is based on the Google search engine.
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Old 08-01-2019, 14:13   #3
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

The answer is yes. How good it will be depends on how good the tablet is to start with, and how much you spend on integrating it with your boat instruments. No, you don't need any kind of service plan with it -- download apps and maps when on wifi and use it from there.
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Old 14-01-2019, 07:36   #4
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

I have a 12" tablet that I use as you describe.
It's my secondary chart system and i always use it when coastal cruising.
I download charts, i use Navionics, when i have wifi available, other wise when underway, it just uses its GPS.
And usually i don't want it online when cruising in any case.
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Old 14-01-2019, 10:51   #5
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

The point of difference is largely GPS accuracy. Along with dedicated navigation systems having better functionality. Do Ipads work, sure, but why on earth would you buy an expensive boat and rely on an iPad?

Like Daunt said, sure as a back up and can be useful for plotting whilst relaxing.

The other thing is, it removes your ipad from being an ipad for long periods of time.


I know guys use them in fishing dinghies to get charts on the cheap because they already have an ipad. But any serious fisherman uses a seperate chart plotter and depth sounder (fish finder) or a combo of the two which saves money and you can split screen them. I imagine the same is available for sailing purposes not fish.
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Old 14-01-2019, 11:00   #6
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

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Originally Posted by KWild View Post
I'm new to sailing and gathering info before I set sail this year.

Many cruisers use an iPad for navigation.
Will a tablet work for this instead of an iPad?

Isn't an Ipad a tablet? If your particular tablet has GPS then it will work as a plotter. Note: Usually only tablets that have cellular capabilities have a built in GPS....I'm sure there are exceptions.

Does it need to be connected to a service plan ( example...Verizon or AT&T, etc?)

Nope, you download a plotting program.

I have a tablet that isn't attached to a service plan that I use on wifi connections.
Just wondering on the details how to use it for GPS
To use a tablet as a plotter you download a plotting program, like navionics or similar. but be sure that you've got a GPS in your tablet before wasting you money. There are numerous free gps data apps that you can download and see if your tablet is reporting a position.
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Old 14-01-2019, 11:48   #7
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

The other downside, I have yet to see any tablet that is visible in direct light. Unless you are under a canopy or in a pilothouse the screen will be pretty much invisible.
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Old 14-01-2019, 12:10   #8
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

Just to reiterate, some tablets don't have GPS built in and some may only have built in GPS if it is a cell phone capable model, older iPads for instance.
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Old 14-01-2019, 15:51   #9
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

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The other downside, I have yet to see any tablet that is visible in direct light. Unless you are under a canopy or in a pilothouse the screen will be pretty much invisible.

The Ipad pro is actually very bright I will admit, its about 480 nits or cdm. 400 nits is generally considered the minimum for sunlight legibility. but also employs technology with anti glare. the pro looks like you are look at paper, its very hard to explain it is very awesome. But I wouldnt be spending that money around the ocean.

Inside like I said to come up with general plsns and plots no problem, great idea, and the use of the stylus with it would be awesome for marking waypoints et.
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Old 14-01-2019, 16:21   #10
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

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The Ipad pro is actually very bright I will admit, its about 480 nits or cdm. 400 nits is generally considered the minimum for sunlight legibility. but also employs technology with anti glare. the pro looks like you are look at paper, its very hard to explain it is very awesome. But I wouldnt be spending that money around the ocean.

Inside like I said to come up with general plsns and plots no problem, great idea, and the use of the stylus with it would be awesome for marking waypoints et.
Specs I've read consistently say 1000 nits for good, direct sunlight visibility but I did read a review on the iPad Pro 9.7 that said with the anit glare screen it is usable in direct sun. But as you say, it's a lot of money. In fact for that price you can buy a dedicated plotter, waterproof, with charts and more.
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Old 14-01-2019, 16:56   #11
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

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Specs I've read consistently say 1000 nits for good, direct sunlight visibility but I did read a review on the iPad Pro 9.7 that said with the anit glare screen it is usable in direct sun. But as you say, it's a lot of money. In fact for that price you can buy a dedicated plotter, waterproof, with charts and more.

Actually that would make sense because I believe it is HDR 10 compliant which requires 1000 nits, but i have seen phones get away with less and comply. I actually thought it was 1000 nits until I read the laptopmag review.

The problem I have with iPads, unlike MS, they use mobile phone OS, iOS. So anything desktop related it cant run, sure there are cut down versions, but they dont cut it imo.



One app it does do very well due to the screen being like paper and an awesome stylus, is art, painting, drawing etc.

Im not sure if the new 9.7 base model runs navionics, I know the prior versions did, Id just email them before buying.
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Old 14-01-2019, 18:10   #12
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

Most people don’t get navigation GPS data from an internal tablet receiver. The reason being that there will be lots of other data needed for navigation and cruising. For example, depth, speed through water, wind speed & angle, AIS data and a host of other stuff. What I think is a good idea is an onboard data multiplexer that can feed all shipboard data over WiFi. That includes GPS data.

So you do not need to select a tablet based on the internal GPS. Those internal units are finicky and incompatible with a lot of software.

Find out what navigation software you like to use. Get a tablet or notebook that is compatible with that. OpenCPN is very popular since it is free and the navigation charts for all of the US are also free.
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Old 14-01-2019, 18:28   #13
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

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Originally Posted by LuvSun View Post
Actually that would make sense because I believe it is HDR 10 compliant which requires 1000 nits, but i have seen phones get away with less and comply. I actually thought it was 1000 nits until I read the laptopmag review.

The problem I have with iPads, unlike MS, they use mobile phone OS, iOS. So anything desktop related it cant run, sure there are cut down versions, but they dont cut it imo.



One app it does do very well due to the screen being like paper and an awesome stylus, is art, painting, drawing etc.

Im not sure if the new 9.7 base model runs navionics, I know the prior versions did, Id just email them before buying.
I spent a lot of time looking at various computer and tablet based systems. At the end of the day I ended up buying a dedicated plotter for several reasons.

- Can install in the cockpit at the helm. Occasionally very handy when navigating complex channels and harbors with multiple crossing markers to have charts right in front of you.

- Bright and view-able in any light

- Waterproof.

Downside, can't download free US charts.
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Old 14-01-2019, 18:41   #14
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

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I spent a lot of time looking at various computer and tablet based systems. At the end of the day I ended up buying a dedicated plotter for several reasons.

- Can install in the cockpit at the helm. Occasionally very handy when navigating complex channels and harbors with multiple crossing markers to have charts right in front of you.

- Bright and view-able in any light

- Waterproof.

Downside, can't download free US charts.
SMART. And then you can buy a proper tablet/dual purpose like a Surface Pro or Surface Book than can run proper full apps like premierre pro or any adobe products like photoshop, vs the iPad running iOS phone apps.

Thats what I will always do myself. Im very anti apple. Even with their propaganda adds against MS and pretending they invented the concept of the iPod, just makes me grit my teeth. The Macbook Pro 13 has not changed in a decade and there is absolutely nothing Pro about it yet it costs the same as a Surface Book which is an insane piece of hardware. And whats Ironic is Gates bailed out Apple twice, once when Steve advised the crowd while Bill was on video conference they bood him, wtf. lol. And Steve gives away $50mil, nice, but Bill is giving away his entire fortune, hes already done $28Billion, now hes putting $90Billion into his charity organisation. Sorry bit of a an off topic rant. haha
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Old 14-01-2019, 20:18   #15
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Re: GPS, nationwide, tablets and ipads

So, what’s a good, inexpensive tablet with built-in GPS to use as a backup?
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