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Old 15-08-2017, 08:14   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Boat: 26ft Aquasport Explorer
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computer Navigation

I'm an old school paper chart guy..... and I'm looking to expand my knowledge. I want some help with finding the right program for a laptop where I can plot and save track as well as use as a back up GPS map.

What say you? best worst easiest to use?

Thanks in advance my friends.
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Old 15-08-2017, 08:49   #2
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Re: computer Navigation

You have a lot of options and to start out I would try OpenCPN. It is free and not too hard to use for a beginner. It is also pretty popular so if you need help you will either find a tutorial somewhere or can ask. Someone will have the answer.

I recommend buying a used laptop with build in cellular modem. Those have GPS chipsets build in. I got an older Dell Latitude e6400 series with an internal cell modem. I just needed to find the serial port for the device and my stand alone chart plotter was ready. You can buy those cards also for 10-15 on ebay but not all cards spool out NMEA Data without being initialized first. But many do so, research required.

With a free software plugin you can process GRIB files for wind data.
Good option to add is an AIS receiver that plugs in to the USB port like dAISy.

So you can start for free if you got the laptop and after only spending a few bucks end up with a pretty fancy stand alone system that includes tracking, wind overlay and AIS display of vessels around you.
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