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Old 26-06-2020, 19:14   #31
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

I looked at Time Zero however the biggest issues was the cost., €605 / AUD$1,000 plus the - routing module €305 AUD$ 500. Plus it will only interface with Funero systems.

Compared to using OpenCPN for free, which I can interface with B&G ie radar overlay. Easy decision for me.

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Old 27-06-2020, 03:43   #32
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

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Originally Posted by requiem View Post
(I have yet to see a chartplotter that's as smooth in the pan/zoom department as an iPad, and many seem rather low-res in terms of properly registering touches.)
Our 11 year old Furuno plotter pans/zoom instantly. It predated touch screen plotters, though, no experience with those.

Given that I usually can't touch the right place on a tablet or phone, even more so when we're bouncing along under way, a touch screen plotter hasn't interested me all that much. Although I guess they may be becoming somewhat inevitable...

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Old 29-06-2020, 07:33   #33
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

I have used Navionics charts on a Furuno display/GPS quite extensively around South East Asia with reasonable success. Two issues found:


- not all the charts are absolutely accurate for example, entering Puerto Galera Bay (North coast Mindoro Island, Philippines), a narrow channel, we found that the chart was about 50-80 Meters off such that when we were actually mid-channel on entry the chart-display showed us on the beach


- when we wished to add information for the benefit of other sailors Navionics wanted too much information about location, system used, software revision etc. etc, before they would add an update or even a caution . . . at the helm of a 47-foot catamaran at night, in the grip of a 50knt bow-echo storm, I sought refuge in a small bay near Kapung Kelawat, on the NW coast of East Malaysia (about 25NM NE of Kota Kinabalu), a lighthouse was clearly visible on approach, the chart-display said the light was on a partially submerged rock about 0.9NM W of the headland on the northern shore of the bay, we gave it some clearance on approach only to find the the lighthouse had in fact been move to the headland, and there fore we passed extremely close to the partially submerged rock; reporting the change of location of the lighthouse to Navionics proved exhausting.


Nobody has yet mentioned the most important item, although it was not part of the original question. Electronic charts are very very useful, save time etc. etc. but, when the screen dies or the battery runs low or you drop the iPad, there is no substitute for a paper chart.


Stay safe out there . . .
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Old 29-06-2020, 10:46   #34
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

I am not as experienced as many here but have some thoughts.

I use Navionics on my iPhone and Chromebook. I love Navionics. It is worth the money and comes with Active Captain which is very useful. This works about as well as a chartplotter. but not perfectly waterproof and not as networkable to other onboard equipment.

I do not like iNavx at all. It is hanky. It's cheaper but not worth the $5.

I also do not like Open CPN very much, as compared to Navionics, and I understand that is sacrilege on this forum as people like the whole raspberry PI/laptop from eBay/open source approach To each his own. It works but I spent so much time dicking around with downloading maps on both formats and GRIB files, and figuring out how do get different scales to overlay together that I don't use it. It I was offshore more I would use it as a backup perhaps but I find Navionics and Predictwind to be much more reliably solid.

Also, personally, paper charts are easier for me to use than Open CPN.

But all of these are backups to my chartplotter which I would not be without. I have a Raymarine Axiom chartplotter in the cockpit. I have Raymarine Quantum wireless radar on pole behind the cockpit. This works flawlessly and I can view it on the chartplotter. Could not be happier with this chartplotter. It ALWAYS works 100% of the time in all weather and is always readable in any light conditions. I mirror this to iPhone with the Rayview app.

Rant: I do not understand why some people will spend $1000 on custom boat cushions, curtains or a countertop with tile back splash in the galley, but skimp on navigation equipment. For me airtight charting gear is as critical as PFDs and other safety equipment.

If I had no money I would use Navionics. With money to spend I see no better solution than a Raymarine or Garmin chartplotter.
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Old 29-06-2020, 11:08   #35
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Our 11 year old Furuno plotter pans/zoom instantly. It predated touch screen plotters, though, no experience with those.

Given that I usually can't touch the right place on a tablet or phone, even more so when we're bouncing along under way, a touch screen plotter hasn't interested me all that much. Although I guess they may be becoming somewhat inevitable...
Ah, the physical knobs do let you be more precise. With a bouncing screen the trick is to use the thumb of the same hand that's holding it. Without any way to otherwise index your hand/finger to the device it indeed can be messy. This is one reason I wouldn't buy a Tesla car; not only do you have to take your eyes off the road to use the screen, there isn't an easy way to steady your hand whilst using it.
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Old 29-06-2020, 11:14   #36
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

I have sailed over 25,000 miles using Software on Board by Digiboat. Absolutely brilliant software.
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Old 29-06-2020, 11:29   #37
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

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Originally Posted by requiem View Post
Ah, the physical knobs do let you be more precise. With a bouncing screen the trick is to use the thumb of the same hand that's holding it. Without any way to otherwise index your hand/finger to the device it indeed can be messy. This is one reason I wouldn't buy a Tesla car; not only do you have to take your eyes off the road to use the screen, there isn't an easy way to steady your hand whilst using it.

One solution is to use an external control, any sort of mouse or stick that you like. Many sailors opt for the ball mouse but I have not tested this. Ha! EASY ... at a dry nav table, down below ...



However, outside in a wet cockpit the mouse would need to be as waterproof as the iPad .... hmmm I have not seen one in any regular electronics shop.


Then again, most modern plotters are touchable ;-( We have one discussion discussing 11 years Furunos, but another talking last years B6G products ...


Imho the push for touchability of plotters is driven by exactly the same factors that gave us wheel steeering in 30ft "cruising" boats - car drivers buying boats.


So I am not a hater of touch screens in modern plotters but I honestly dislike it. As much as I dislike using the touch function on our smartphones while sailing.


b.
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Old 29-06-2020, 13:05   #38
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

I use the OpenCPN on Windows10 with miniPC for offshore sailing and Navionics on Android tablet and phone (one account) for coastal cruising. Also I add to OpenCPN the MBtiles pictures exported from SAS Planets (Sattelite or Navionics) for some anchorages or narrows. Plus Navily or Active Captain for more local infromation.
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Old 29-06-2020, 15:30   #39
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

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Originally Posted by Atcowboy View Post
Does anyone know and good articles that describe what is available, and the pros and cons? The sheer amount of articles out there is daunting.

Currently I have an Android phone, a windows laptop, and an ipad2 and I'd like to figure out some kind of chart plotting setup between the three of them. There is just so much out there I don't know where to start.

I have no instruments to hook into them. None. I'd need to get a GPS unit for the laptop or iPad.

-AT

I don't see how you can beat OpenCPN. Runs on Android, stock or custom ROM. Runs on Linux. I am running it on Ubuntu and also Note 3 with CyanogenMod operating system. OCPN also runs on WinDOHs and I guess probably Mac so maybe Ipad, too, I don't know. Honestly though I think the Ipad belongs in the box with the blackberry and the shoe phone but YMMV. Anyway it is an excellent nav app and it is very versatile. Doesn't hold your hand and blow your nose or tie your shoes for you, but you can do a lot with it. Your own charts, your way, your source. You can even use charts that you have made yourself if you know how. It will never "go away" on you like some others that I will not mention. Support is great, particularly from other users. For a USB GPS, if you don't have a steel boat I recommend the Globalsat BU353, a very cheap little puck-like device that a Linux system picks right up, and a WinDOHs system should automatically find the driver for. Don't know about your ipad. I suggest you use a VNC or SSH session to just use your ipad to look at what is on your Linux (YAY!) or Windows (boooooooo....) laptop running OCPN. Assuming Apple lets you do that. Seems like they prevent folks from doing a lot of stuff with their hardware.



Most Android phones or tablets have built in GPS and OCPN should be able to see it and access it just fine.
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Old 29-06-2020, 18:27   #40
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

Lots of good information at Digital Yacht website. Note that iPad wifi has no GPS.
I use a high quality Huawei tablet with global positioning (GPS) and sim-card. NVCharts has a very good app, and quite reasonable prices for charts. Paper charts and digital charts (can be used on several devices at the same time) in one package. I am based in Norway, by the way.
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Old 29-06-2020, 19:50   #41
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

One thing I forgot to mention is that if you are cruising in US waters, you can download free up to date charts, so you don't want a paid app or an app that forces you to use particular charts. In other areas the price of the app + charts is something to consider. AFAIK all common standard encrypted charts work with OCPN. Also, the infamous CM93 charts available here and there and now and later for download, free. Keep in mind that those charts are actually not supposed to be freely shared but for all practical purposes they are "abandonware". (not legally, though. Just sayin.) The CM93 portfolio covers the world but does not have all large scale charts and of course there are no updates. Still, useful for voyaging until time to navigate in near coastal or inshore waters.
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Old 03-07-2020, 05:57   #42
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atcowboy View Post
Does anyone know of good articles that describe what is available, and the pros and cons? The sheer amount of articles out there is daunting.

Currently I have an Android phone, a windows laptop, and an ipad2 and I'd like to figure out some kind of chart plotting setup between the three of them. There is just so much out there I don't know where to start.

I have no instruments to hook into them. None. I'd need to get a GPS unit for the laptop or iPad.

-AT
Lots of good info here. Yes, best to start cheap & upgrade if necessary. My solution is almost free, but does take time & internet bandwidth:

We have a big (17") laptop as our primary nav computer, running OpenCPN & CM93 charts. CM93 charts aren't very good, but they cover the whole world, & they're a place to start. They're available from many cruisers - if you're stuck I can PM you a download link.

You will probably want AIS, & you can plug the NMEA0183 output into a Serial-to-USB adapter to get both GPS & AIS into the laptop (note that AIS runs at 32.4Kbaud). Get a good quality Serial<->USB, not a cheap one. We've use a KeySpan since 2006 & it's never even hiccuped. OpenCPN does an awesome job with AIS.

We're out in the boonies of SE Asia. Charts here are universally horrible - displaced & low resolution once you get off the beaten track. So since 2014 we've been MAKING our own extremely detailed high-resolution charts.

Start by downloading a free copies of SAS Planet, & Sat2Chart.

Sat2Chart has links to good help videos on its help page to get you started. Basically you create routes in OpenCPN that run along coastlines or circle archipelagos (like the Maldives). Export the routes as GPX files & feed them to Sat2Chart. It will then drive SAS to download excellent quality satellite imagery &/or CMap & Navionics charts. Once they're in the SAS Cache (on your hard drive - get a big one) you can access them even when you're offline. Sat2Chart will then make mbTiles from them, which can now be read by OpenCPN (the latest version of OpenCPN, still in beta, improves performance for BIG mbTiles considerably).

Satellite imagery has to be seen to be believed. No depths, of course (except on CMap & Navionics) but the geo-referencing is amazing, with max errors on the order of 3m. They don't always show everything, but where they show something, that's EXACTLY where it is. And most of the time the satellite can see into the water for sand-fans (good to anchor on) or reefs. We use ArcGIS, Bing, & Google Earth imagery, as some work better in some places, but you can also download Nokia & other imagery. And we download CMap & Navionics, of course. We tend to run OpenCPN & SAS side-by-side. Both can switch between charts with a single keystroke, & both display our current position, but SAS isn't really a Nav program. Still, they're both pretty awesome.

OpenCPN is available for Android, but most tablets don't have the storage for mbTiles (OK, I go in for extreme detail, so my chart-set for the Philippines is 100GB). But having to dash downstairs to read your computer is a pain, so there are lots of screen-sharing apps you can use to see your nav-computer's screen at the helm, on the tablet. For this to work well, it's best to have a small WiFi router, so your tablet can see your nav computer. Get one that runs on 12v (most do) so you can simply plug it into your switch-panel.

I've glossed over some pretty complicated subjects rather quickly. But I'll happily answer more questions if you want. Or PM me & we can continue on email. Good luck!
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Old 03-07-2020, 15:38   #43
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Re: Chart plotting software, free or paid for.

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I have just moved away from SOB and now using OpenCPN. Unfortunately they stopped updating SOB where other packages have kept being developed. A major issue for me is that SOB does not support transfer of routes and waypoints in GPX transfer format. So you cannot transfer routes from SOB into any modern chartplotter. In comparison OpenCPN can transfer the routes in GPX format via a thumb drive to Raymarine and BSG plotters.

Another issue is support. When I last looked at their Facebook page there had been about 3 posts in 6 months. Compare that to the hundred’s of OpenCPN posts on this website and a very active OpenCPN facebook page. To give SOB recognition, I always found their email technical support pretty good, with a response time normally in 24-48 hours. However it is nice to talk to other users about techniques and issues.

Plus quite frankly SOB is pretty cluncky to use in comparison to OpenCPN. If you are happy with SOB you should keep using. However there are now better products available.

I can understand SOB’s problem, its hard to compete when your main competing product is free.

Ilenart
Hi Ilenart,
Agree SOB's FB page is a sad case. Email support dodgy too but I think well featured and cheap.
Interested that you say they have stopped development; I've had several updates in the time I've been using it and one is available now according to their web-site.
Transferring routes and waypoints is not an issue for me.
I like (am used to?) the c-map charts, but not the cost of updating them.
I downloaded OpenCPN a couple of months ago and purchased the Australian charts (oeSENC I think is the name) but unlike you I find them clunky compared to SOB/cMap. The charts lack detail in some inshore cruising areas and their presentation lacks definition. Zooming sometimes produces a mass of soundings obliterating just about everything else: I know you can go into settings and adjust but this sort of thing just doesn't seem to happen with SOB/cMap.
I'll persevere though; being used to using something makes a big difference.
Are you using the oeSENC Aust chart set?

Rgds
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