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Old 14-11-2018, 12:02   #1
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Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

We cruise primarily South Florida and Bahamas... might go a bit further south/east next year. We have been using BlueChart Mobile on our iPad for years as primary navigation resource - and like many others were saddened at its demise. In addition to not having access to updated charts, we are now unable to get updates for the Active Captain content - so the time has come to find another electronic tool. We have a Raymarine MFD which we use primarily for radar & AIS. The 7” screen isn’t great for chart work.

Wondering if anyone has tried using the new Garmin Active Captain app with the (rather expensive) Garmin US charts.
Thank you,
Bob
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Old 15-11-2018, 07:20   #2
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

Hey all,
Checking one last time before making purchase. Has anyone had experience with the new Garmin Active Captain app and the g2 Blue Chart they sell for it?
Thank you,
Bob
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Old 15-11-2018, 08:06   #3
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

No experience with Garmin appliances, charts, or apps...

But I can say AC works OK through their direct web interface (when you can get online), and the markers appear properly in the tablet/phone app we use that supports AC.

-Chris
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Old 15-11-2018, 14:13   #4
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

Thanks Chris. We agree - AC was tremendously useful during our first year of retirement cruising - especially hazard warnings in AICW, Bahamas and Florida Bay. Also made extensive use of marina & anchorage reviews. One thing we liked about having AC baked into our chart plotter was the ability to see and respond to AC input real-time as we navigated.
Which tablet/phone app are you using?
Thank you,
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Old 16-11-2018, 05:09   #5
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

We use MX Mariner on tablets; NOAA raster charts and AC markers.

We also use Plan2Nav and iSailor on tablets; C-Map and Transas vector charts, respectively, but no AC. P2N used to have AC markers, but they bagged that when the new European privacy thing happened.

FWIW, we also use TimeZero on a laptop (because it matched our plotter); several chart options and it used to have AC markers too. I have to check whether new AC markers are recoverable since the privacy change. Our TZ is old, so that could go either way... I just haven't gotten around to asking their help desk folks about it...

-Chris


-Chris
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Old 16-11-2018, 05:12   #6
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

I use AquaMap as both a backup chart and Active caption
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Old 16-11-2018, 06:42   #7
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

I too miss Blue Chart and active captain. Lost my device with my old Blue Chart mobile content and as you all know it is irreplaceable.

I’ve switched to Aquamap which I quite like, but the Bahamas Charts I have are low resolution.

What are folks using for the Bahamas as back up?
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Old 16-11-2018, 06:44   #8
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

Unfortunately Active-Captain seems to be slowly dying a corporate death. Garmin have really F'd up their take over of what was a fantastic crowd-sourced phenomenon.

Changing API's (effectively restricting access to other vendors who can't adapt fast enough) forcing users to recreate their accounts, removing some of the review features, etc, etc. seems to have really slowed down the community.

I'm starting to see alot of activity these days on "ZuluWaterways" which is an Oz version of the same sort of crowd-sourced data.
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Old 16-11-2018, 12:54   #9
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

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Originally Posted by pcmm View Post
Changing API's (effectively restricting access to other vendors who can't adapt fast enough) forcing users to recreate their accounts, removing some of the review features, etc, etc. seems to have really slowed down the community.

I don't think Garmin is to blame, or at least not all.

Some of this was semi-concurrent with the changes in European privacy laws, and many of the app folks will have been reacting to that... without necessary regard to Garmin.

One reaction is to update their apps to comply. Another is to NOT update their apps, bag European privacy compliance... but that's not something Garmin caused.

(Non Garmin owner, here, no dog in the fight...)

-Chris
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Old 16-11-2018, 13:08   #10
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
I don't think Garmin is to blame, or at least not all.

Some of this was semi-concurrent with the changes in European privacy laws, and many of the app folks will have been reacting to that... without necessary regard to Garmin.

One reaction is to update their apps to comply. Another is to NOT update their apps, bag European privacy compliance... but that's not something Garmin caused.

(Non Garmin owner, here, no dog in the fight...)

-Chris
The changes started before the European changes, but I agree some of them are pat of reg changes but some definitely are not.
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Old 19-11-2018, 04:11   #11
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

Thank you all for your responses. I still haven’t worked out all the details of my next step but am leaning toward buying the Garmin G2 US/Canada/Bahamas chart card and trying it with the AC App. I was playing with the App’s controls and it appears to have much of the functionality of BlueChart Mobile. I have spoken with Garmin tech support people a couple times and found them responsive and knowledgable. Since finishing our first year of cruising, we are now on the 6 month on (the boat) six month off plan so I’m back at West Marine as an assistant manager in the summers. I am planning to have a conversation with our Garmin sales rep in the next few days to pick his brain for his opinion about the options currently under consideration and thoughts about what might be coming down the pike. I will update the post if/when I have more info or have tried out our new approach. Thanks again,
Bob
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Old 20-11-2018, 12:51   #12
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

First update: After speaking with Garmin tech support yesterday, I uploaded and installed the Garmin G2 charts (US/Canada/Bahamas version). The card I purchase from West Marine was dated 2016. On advice of Garmin, I did NOT update the charts once installed. Turns out Garmin provides 1 free update to purchased charts. Garmin’s G3 charts with Navionics integrated will come out in February 2019. They advised that I wait to do my update till then, so I can get a free upgrade to G3.

Initial observations:
- The graphics in the AC App seem to be a bit crisper than the BC Mobile. - Most of the BC Mobile functions are present - with the exception of the “track recording” function. I will definitely miss that - as it can be very useful when trying to retrace our steps - going through a difficult pass or leaving an anchorage with a challenging entrance.
- There appear to be fewer depth soundings on the G2 charts and the soundings appear to be rounded up to whole numbers. Soundings in the BC Mobile are shown with decimals.
- Another strange thing - transferring our way points & routes into AC via a GPX file, all my nice round blue waypoint dots from BC were converted to small grey squares in AC. They are pretty hard to pick out on the new chart - and while they can be changed to a different symbol, it needs to be done one waypoint at a time rather than all at once. I currently have over 850 waypoints.
- When creating waypoints, AC & G2 limits you to 10 characters. Names of imported waypoints that were longer just get lopped off - sometimes making them unintelligible. There may be a setting to fix this - I haven’t found it as yet.
Finally, when I touch the chart and bring up the ring used to create a new waypoint or route - or to read AC chart references, the lat/lon numbers that show the location of the ring are much smaller than the numbers on the BC chart.

That’s all I can think of at this point. I will attempt to update in February, after upgrading to G3.
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Old 20-11-2018, 13:21   #13
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

I also used BlueChart Mobile. Because I have a Garmin chartplotter I downloaded the new AC app when it became available (although I've managed to keep my old BlueChart Mobile working including still updating AC markers).

I also started to use Aquamap and found it quite good.

The first version of the AC app was awful. I waited for the next update but it was still bad so I uninstalled it.

But last month - about 18 months since it came out - I downloaded it again and found it hugely improved. Zoom and panning speed is as good as BlueChart Mobile (and better than Aquamap). No crashes. It took a while but Garmin's done a pretty good job (not that I excuse the miserable customer experience during their amateur switchover nor the 1990's proprietary pricing model for the charts.)

I agree that some of the fonts and symbols have gotten small for 60 year old eyes but that's not unusual for new apps. I'm sure they seem plenty legible to the young developers who create them.

I have spoken to Garmin customer support about increasing the font size and doing something about the little grey squares. I wouldn't be surprised if something shows up in a future version as the chartplotters have lots of flexibility in that area.

But it wouldn't hurt to give them a call and add another vote.

Did your new update include the Navionics Sonar Chart data? Garmin seemed to announce it was coming. It would be great to not have to run Navionics and Garmin apps at the same time while doing the ICW.
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Old 20-11-2018, 14:56   #14
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

Hi Carl. I will call Garmin & offer my feedback. Regarding Navionics & G3, we'll have to wait till February to see how that turns out. Glad your BC active captain still updates. I now get an error message when I try to update AC.
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Old 09-12-2018, 17:53   #15
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Re: Garmin Active Captain App & Charts

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Hi Carl. I will call Garmin & offer my feedback. Regarding Navionics & G3, we'll have to wait till February to see how that turns out. Glad your BC active captain still updates. I now get an error message when I try to update AC.

I really hope they don't screw up the Navionics app. I use that app as my primary navigation source and it's just about perfect for me. After what they did to ActiveCaptain after they bought it, I'm really worried but Navionics.
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