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Old 21-04-2017, 08:08   #1
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Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

We are looking for a back-up, handheld GPS / Plotter.
1. in case we lose our main plotter (Raymarine E90W - two of them), or the GPS feeding it
2. in case we want to do some distance exploring in the tender, and take something with us to keep an eye on the coast we are travelling along or into.

I thought we had it sorted with a Garmin GPSMAP 78SC, but it seems the SC (loaded charts), is not available for the Med, and when you take the cost of the GPSMAP 78S, plus the cost of the chart card it is really getting up there.

So now we are thinking of alternatives before we spend that sort of money.

The Garmin (S) has a compass and altimeter, is waterproof, compact, and floats. So it has a fair bit going for it.
An alternative such as a tablet PC, or an iPad Mini with charts loaded, and a waterproof housing is I presume a bit cheaper, but perhaps by the time you get the housing, there may not be a lot in it.

So I am just wondering what others use, and how they find it / would they choose their option again if they had the chance, sort of thing.

For those who are using a tablet PC or iPad, what charts do you use, where do you get them from, and for that matter, I suppose Open CPN is the way most go?

I look forward to some feedback.

Thanks,

David
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Old 21-04-2017, 08:55   #2
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

You can use any geo/gps App on your smartphone for this. Download some google sat tiles and you are set.

There are waterproof smartphones and tablets around too.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 21-04-2017, 09:32   #3
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

Look at the garmin 640, I use it as my main chartplotter but it has an internal rechargeable battery, a seperate 12volt charging cradle and can double as a street navigator. I paid a lot for mine but the price has come way down.
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Old 21-04-2017, 15:50   #4
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

An Android phone or small tablet with Navionics and a "ziplock" plastic bag should meet your specified requirements fairly cheaply.
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Old 22-04-2017, 11:48   #5
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

For five years I have been using handheld Garmin 76 which interfaces with AIS along with a new back up one. I also have a worldwide fob bought in St Marteens plus Navionics on 2 different tablets. Each i have found ideal, reliable and reasonably priced but tend to use the Navionics mostly though have come across a couple of navigational errors on it
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Old 22-04-2017, 13:15   #6
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

Our approach to backup navigation systems has been to make use of the tablets and computers that we will carry with us in any case. Mobiles are the second level of backup.

We have also a 12.9" iPad that was purchased with navigation (inside the pilothouse) in mind. It doubles as a (net) TV. Tablets and computers are good for many uses, although they are not watertight, and their display is not best possible in direct sunlight.
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Old 22-04-2017, 14:59   #7
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

We had a similar requirement. A good backup (that we have had to use when our Raymarine GPS died) is a Bad Elf GPS Pro+. It feeds very accurate GPS via Bluetooth to iPad and iPhone. Rechargeable and small. Works for us.
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Old 22-04-2017, 15:46   #8
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

open-cpn on Toughbook with built in gps/ Navionics on phone or I somthings
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Old 22-04-2017, 17:39   #9
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

Ipad with INavX or Nobeltec Time Zero will serve many purposes, not just navigation. Then buy a waterproof case for it. An iphone will also do the job.
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Old 22-04-2017, 20:48   #10
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active with OpenCPN. Note the word Active in the model name.
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Old 23-04-2017, 10:20   #11
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

I have been using our iPad for navigation for several years with great success. Initially tried the iNavX app and was happy with its functionality - but it kept losing (and I had to keep downloading) the charts. I switched to Garmin BlueChart and have been very happy with the app and its functionality.
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Old 25-04-2017, 13:26   #12
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

Thanks to all who have taken the time to comment and offer suggestions - much appreciated. I will do some more research based on your suggestions, before committing.

Thanks again,

David
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Old 26-04-2017, 05:49   #13
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

I'm a little surprised that this is even a question nowadays.

There are entire threads devoted to all the different charting apps for smart phones.

These apps for not just for back-up. I can do route planning wherever I am, and if any questions about any location or how to get there come up in casual conversation, I whip out the phone and look up the details.

Plus, I don't have to carry another device, or worry about keeping it charged.

All higher-end smart phones have a built-in GPS receiver and a compass. Some are waterproof, and waterproof cases are available.

I've run boats, in unfamiliar waters, using just a smart phone as my primary chartplotter. It's considerably easier than what we did before GPS and moving-map displays. Paper charts are still a viable back-up, too.

I apologize if I'm missing something, but I'm not really clear on why you'd want to buy another piece of gear that only does a fraction of what the one you already carry can do.
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Old 06-05-2017, 17:56   #14
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

In addition to our Raymarine MFD, we use iPad and iPhone for navigation - I really like Garmin Blue Chart. That said, we have a Standard Horizon HX 870 hand held radio which provides excellent back-up. It is 5 watt VHF with DSC. It has GPS and can save hundreds of way points. It floats and is great for dinghy duty. Also dual battery capability - rechargeable pack and holder for regular AA batteries. With recent update in VHF rules - permitting land based shore to mother ship communications it is an ideal multi function tool.
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Old 30-05-2017, 00:44   #15
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Re: Portable or Hand-held GPS / Plotter

Hi David,

First of all, I respect people who are planning ahead in detail. To me, this is a sign of deep understanding of the marine.

I have a similar system on my boat. The main unit is the same as yours - Raymarine E90W. I've got only one of them.

As a backup I am using a Garmin Montana 680. It does the job well. We have used it in 'real-life' around 10 times already. It is self-sufficient, the battery performs well. And the price is reasonable.
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