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Old 13-05-2024, 12:45   #1
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Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

OK, OK, I know that this subject has been discussed in bits and pieces all over the place on this forum, but I was trying to find out the latest, greatest thoughts and after hours of searching and reading I am just confused. I use and like OpenCPN on desktop and my Android phone, but frankly I find the phone app rather awkward and slow to use and when I recently tried it with US ENC charts it was very unresponsive to the point of almost unusable. With NOAA raster charts it works much better and I like it, but what are people using and like on Android for the waters from say Maine to the Bahamas? I should add that I do not see my phone as my primary navigation device, but rather a nice backup. I often just use the Android app to show a detailed plot of the harbor upon arrival and when anchoring. But, it would be nice to have as a dependable plotter backup if needed.
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Old 13-05-2024, 12:49   #2
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

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OK, OK, I know that this subject has been discussed in bits and pieces all over the place on this forum, but I was trying to find out the latest, greatest thoughts and after hours of searching and reading I am just confused. I use and like OpenCPN on desktop and my Android phone, but frankly I find the phone app rather awkward and slow to use and when I recently tried it with US ENC charts it was very unresponsive to the point of almost unusable. With NOAA raster charts it works much better and I like it, but what are people using and like on Android for the waters from say Maine to the Bahamas? I should add that I do not see my phone as my primary navigation device, but rather a nice backup. I often just use the Android app to show a detailed plot of the harbor upon arrival and when anchoring. But, it would be nice to have as a dependable plotter backup if needed.
I use Aqua Map on iOS but see it is also available on Android. Make sure you have an nmea wifi gateway instead of using internal gps.
https://www.aquamap.app/
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Old 13-05-2024, 12:51   #3
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

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I use Aqua Map on iOS but see it is also available on Android. Make sure you have an nmea wifi gateway instead of using internal gps.
Why? Using OpenCPN on my Samsung phone I find the phone GPS is spot on and instant too.
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Old 13-05-2024, 12:55   #4
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

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Why? Using OpenCPN on my Samsung phone I find the phone GPS is spot on and instant too.
The internal GPS uses a lot of power… for me it doubles battery life when using nmea over wifi, plus it has all my data incl. heading, wind, depth etc.

Also, when you move inside or somewhere else your gps may get interrupted while the main gps keeps on going.

Anyway, I recommended Aqua Map, seems you missed or skipped that
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Old 13-05-2024, 13:04   #5
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

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Anyway, I recommended Aqua Map, seems you missed or skipped that
I thought you were saying Aqua Map doesn't play nice with the internal GPS. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Old 13-05-2024, 14:05   #6
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

First look at Aqua Map on Android is not good. First, I generally don't even consider downloading an app if they don't state up front what their pricing is, or at least make it readily available on the website. Aqua Map does neither. You need to download the app then choose your chart subscription from the Chart Store, which I can't get to work at the moment. Will try restarting the app. In general, everything is very slow and jerky compared to OpenCPN.
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Old 13-05-2024, 22:20   #7
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

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First look at Aqua Map on Android is not good. First, I generally don't even consider downloading an app if they don't state up front what their pricing is, or at least make it readily available on the website. Aqua Map does neither. You need to download the app then choose your chart subscription from the Chart Store, which I can't get to work at the moment. Will try restarting the app. In general, everything is very slow and jerky compared to OpenCPN.
Aqua Map doesn’t list a price because it is free. You can use it with satellite images when there is Internet connectivity or buy charts/regions. I believe it is exactly the same with every other plotter incl. OpenCPN.

It should run smoothly without any hickups. Something is wrong with your phone.
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Old 13-05-2024, 22:31   #8
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

I'm also an Aqua Maps fan. I use OpenCpn on the pc but Aqua Maps on a Samsung tablet.
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Old 14-05-2024, 03:35   #9
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

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It should run smoothly without any hickups. Something is wrong with your phone.
Well it rates only 3.4 stars on Google Play and there are lots of reviews reporting problems. Probably the Apple app is better.
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Old 14-05-2024, 04:08   #10
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

We use Aqua Map on two Android tablets and one Android phone, using internal tablet GPS which has always been accurate (and we can plug the sucker in to keep charged while underway, if necessary). No issues with display or jerkiness or whatever.

Charting is good, and we use it specifically because there's an in-app purchase available for USACE survey data... useful when we're on the AICW. That "Master" subscription is $15.89/year incl. our state sales tax. Their vector charting makes a useful back-up to our installed Furuno (NOAA vector and raster, C-Map available) and Garmin (vector) chart systems, and to our onboard TimeZero system (NOAA vector and raster, C-Map available) that we use for planning and so forth.

The anchor watch is good.

Support is good; once had a problem on our tablets with an update concurrent with intro of a new version, they solved it quickly enough.

I think I've read it can include the Explorer Charts, said to be useful for Bahamas,,, but I dunno those charts nor if that's another in-app purchase or whatever...

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Old 14-05-2024, 05:00   #11
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

Just for kicks, here are the star ratings for some apps from Google Play. For a lot of other stuff I don't even look at apps that don't rate at least a 4. Interesting that most navigation apps rate rather low. Tough crowd!
Aqua Map 3.4
Argo 4.2
C-Map Boating 3.6
iNavX 3.2
Navionics 2.9
NV Charts 3.5
Open CPN 3.6
Orca 4.2
Savvy Navvy 3.6
Wavve Boating 4.4
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Old 14-05-2024, 05:58   #12
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

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Just for kicks, here are the star ratings for some apps from Google Play. For a lot of other stuff I don't even look at apps that don't rate at least a 4. Interesting that most navigation apps rate rather low. Tough crowd!
Aqua Map 3.4
Argo 4.2
C-Map Boating 3.6
iNavX 3.2
Navionics 2.9
NV Charts 3.5
Open CPN 3.6
Orca 4.2
Savvy Navvy 3.6
Wavve Boating 4.4

Looks like your choices are limited, then.

Used to be iSailor got some press... and there was an Android version... decent charts, worked OK... but then they pulled it, anyway, as new ownership engaged. Can't remember the Android reviews (I seldom look anyway), but it seemed like iThing users thought it was the cat's meow... and it might have been, on an iThing... but it had some challenges on our Android installation.

Used to be Plan2Nav was a good C-Map option... then they pulled it, migrated to a thing called Embark... and now apparently have migrated yet again to the C-Map Boating app you see now. I haven't looked at that last, but positive reviews for the Embark app at the time were all about the social networking that version added... which is a big zero for me... so maybe it depends on who reviewers are and what they want in a nav app (nav? or social? or...?)

MX Mariner (raster charts) is basic but decent, but you'll see it's not currently listed. I saw a note (here?) the other day that the developer is working on a vector version, and in the meantime only prior users can get support.

As I said, I don't usually do -- or even look at - reviews, but FWIW, I'd rate Aqua Map chart presentation as good as on our GARMIN MFD, and almost as good as the Furuno/TimeZero systems. There's some apples-to-oranges things, though (USACE survey data, for example).

Also, the various systems present slightly different tools, sometimes in slightly different ways, so ratings may be based on how/if users value some of that. AM has both ActiveCaptain and Waterway Guide markers; our older Garmin has none (newer ones might, since they acquired ActiveCaptain), and Furuno/TimeZero only incorporate Active Captain markers (for me, the lesser useful of the two). All of those have an anchor watch; for me AM is the most useful because I can set it on a tablet and my phone, whereas the other two are on installed electronics, not so portable, and up on our bridge anyway, so not as hearable when we're below.

Not a sales pitch for AM or anything else... I don't have a stake in whatever you decide...

-Chris
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Old 14-05-2024, 23:08   #13
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Re: Best Android charting app for USA to Bahamas

Those review points are engineered.
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