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Marine navigation on laptop?
argotera
First of all hi to all. I am a newbie in this forum so please be patient.

Although I searched for it on Internet, I couldn't get closer to an answer to my problem.

I'd like to turn my laptop into a chartplotter for marine navigation. For start, I plan to use my GPS equipped mobile phone as a GPS receiver, but if that doesn't work, I'll buy a normal Bluetooth or USB GPS receiver. I think I have figured out how to do it, I'll post a how to in the future if it works.

What I'd liked to ask is which software should I use in my laptop to use it as a chart plotter? I see there are many programs for street navigation but what about sea navigation? and where can I find charts? Are there embedded? Should I purchase them as an extra? For example I've seen nRoute and Mobile PC from Garmin, which one is also for marine navigation?

I have heard about Bluechart from Garmin, but do not know anything more. Please, give me a headstart so I can start searching and comparing. Furthermore, do these programs accept different type of maps from different manufactures?


P.S. I plan to use it on Mediterranean and more specifically Aegean and Ionian sea, and have Mobile XT with Bluechart already installed on my phone, if anything of the above makes any difference.

Thanks in advance, any help is appreciated.
Marvin Hlavac
Hi argotera,

Welcome to Laptop GPS World.

See if the following two page long discussion can answer at least some of your questions: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/724-there-laptop-pc-gps-navigation-software-nautical-use
argotera
happy to join your forum, lots of great info.

yeah i already checked that thread, can't say it helped much,
one program doesn't seem to work in 64bit OS, another's company is (was) in hiatus etc.

and figuring out which of all these names (maptech,c-map, maxsea, nroute, nobeltec etc.) is actual navigation software, which one is for transfering maps to your hanheld gps and which one is just the sets of maps didn;t get me anywhere. i hope someone writes down a guide sometime,


furthermore can somebody pls answer some question i have about charts:
1. are there many map suppliers? can navigation software use a number of maps from differenet suppliers?
2 vector vs. raster charts:
i searched and find the followind pros and cons list:

Raster versus Vector Map Data

Nautical Charts for MaxSea Time Zero Technology

I have always worked with treeware so far (printed charts, lol) but it seems pointless to me to use a chart on a computer if you can't use the vector features,
but how much inaccurate are they? for our friend who uses them in open ocean maybe vector's accuracy may be not that important but for my intended use (archipelago) might be an issue.

thanx again.
tcassidy
I don't think accuracy is an issue. Even the references you cited only list inaccuracies if you zoom in too far; that is beyond the stated accuracy of the map. The only problem is you can zoom in too far; on raster maps, you can't as they become pixellated. They are just bitmaps after all.

Price is usually the deciding factor and whether the product you are interested in covers the area you want at the scale you need. I know Garmin no longer supports the Bluechart on CD product. They have moved to plug in cards only for their newer maps to support their product line.

I have no experience with the other products but do know they are pricey.

Terry
argotera
thanks terry, then i guess vector maps are the way to go if i can afford it.
Ken in Cape Breton
Quote:
Originally Posted by argotera

and figuring out which of all these names (maptech,c-map, maxsea, nroute, nobeltec etc.) is actual navigation software, which one is for transfering maps to your hanheld gps and which one is just the sets of maps didn;t get me anywhere. i hope someone writes down a guide sometime.
MapTech makes a full featured Laptop navagation software program called Chart Navigator Pro: Chart Navigator Pro

c-map is a branch of Jeppesen. Jeppsen's brand Nobeltec makes a couple of different marine navigation options for laptops.

I personally use an older version (about 10 years old) of Nobeltec's software called Visual Navagation Suite, Version 4.1.400. The charts I use are NDI / Canadian Hydrography Charts (I'm in Canada). It does everything I need it to do and can use the free raster charts availabe from the U.S government (NOAA): Raster Navigational Charts: NOAA RNCs

At the bottom of that page you will find a few leads to other software.

MaxSea also makes navagation software but their website isn't translated into english very well: MaxSea Time Zero Navigator

nRoute is a discontinued product made by Garmin. It is still available and works well (I use it as well as the Nobeltec product I mentioned above) but nRoute can only use Garmin compatable maps and Garmin won't sell you their charts. Garmin no longer sells it's BlueCharts in a form nRoute can use (they stopped just a few months ago).

Quote:
Originally Posted by argotera
thanks terry, then i guess vector maps are the way to go if i can afford it.
I think you may have misunderstood Terry's reply. Vector charts allow you to get into trouble because they will continue to display long after you have zoomed in ("overzoomed") beyond their limits of accuracy. Raster charts won't do that as they cease to display properly if you zoom beyond their limits of accuracy.

The following is the intro to a Practical Sailor article from October of 2007. It will give you some leads:

A Sampling of Free and Nearly Free Navigation Software for Sailors
Practical Sailor testers surveyed the range of navigation software offerings under $90. Note that none of these programs can use free NOAA vector charts. However, several can use the downloaded NOAA raster charts. The four we tested were Mariner 3.0 www.navgator.com , OziExplorer (http://www.oziexplorer.com/), SeaClear II (http://www.sping.com/seaclear/), and Software-On-Board SOBvMAX; (www.digiboat.com.au). Although some of these programs are feature rich, they won’t satisfy a yearning for 3D viewing, radar overlays, or photo support, which are available only in the more expensive software.
argotera
thanks ken from breton.
just saw tour reply.
your reply was a freaking article by itself, rarely have i seen such a informative post in a forum.you have my respect!
Ken in Cape Breton
Quote:
Originally Posted by argotera
thanks ken from breton.
just saw tour reply.
your reply was a freaking article by itself, rarely have i seen such a informative post in a forum.you have my respect!
Take a look at some of the replies from Ken in Regina. He's the master I have to admit. I'm just a novice.
4wllr
I run an IBM Thinkpad 380xd with 95 mb/ram and an 8 gig hd wired up to a Garmin gpsII. The software program I use is Fugawi marine enc. The charts I am currently using are NDI / Canadian Hydrography Charts. This year I will take advantage of the the free NOAA charts. The patch cord was a homemade device I made up years ago with help from Larry at purple computing pfranc.com: Cables and connectors for Garmin GPS, and more!. This year I will upgrade to a new laptop, run a HOLUX 213 USB mouse reciever, $40 ebay, and use the Fugawi Marine ENC software and NOAA charts. Fugawi now has support for iphone and others with downloadable maps and charts.
Photo
Have you tried this program: The CAPN (Computerized American Practical Navigator)
Capt_Mike
I have used Navigation SW on my laptop (Compaq nc6000) for the last 2 years. I use Tiki Navigator, which I downloaded online. It was developed by a fellow in Norway and is evidently popular in Europe. I have found it very easy to use. Recently I added an AIS receiver and interfaced that to the SW as well. When interfaced to your laptop the AIS hardware will display, on the chartplotter SW, the location, speed, and direction of travel of commercial ships. Works great when travelling with limited visibility. In my boating area, San Francisco Bay Area, I can see ships in a 50 mile radius. You can get info on the SW at: TIKI Navigator - Marine navigation software using Navionics or Maptech BSB and SoftCharts charts

I have used the SW with the following sensors:
Garmin GPSmap 498C
Garmin 120xl
USB hockey puck senso
Garmin GPS 12xl

On the Garmin units, I have used the serial (RS232) interface to the sensor. For laptops with out a serial interface, you can purchase a USB-serial adapter. These work fine. With the serial adapter, you can also run NMEA 0183 signals from other marine electronics into your laptop for use with your SW. There's tons of info available on the web about NMEA 0183 and the other standards for interfacing to marine electronics.

Cheers,
Captn Mike
argotera
Haven't tried anything yet, as my university schedule is killing me right now,

but if anyone is interested in using his/hers gps enabled smartphone as a gps receiver, there 's a great s60 program called extgps (google for it, it's free) that will do the trick. I ve tried in on a 6110 nokia connected to acer laptop with internal bluettoth and a desktop with logitech dongle.

keep in mind that it only transmits in nmea only, and 1hz/sec so act accordingly.
sokor123
Go to ebay.com - motors than parts than boats than navigation. There you will find on one CD disk raster charts for all US waters, navigation software (seaclear II), and USB plug in GPS. The cost is 120.- max.
You plug in your PC the GPS, start the CD, and follow instructions.
Nothing to it. Good luck Steve
BwanaF111
Absolutely new to community. Have pleasure boated all my life but am now stepping up to a fairly large cruiser. I want to organize my upcoming delivery trip with some sort of nav assist and the first "controversy" I run into at the tiki website is vector vs raster charts. Whats the dif?

I also believe that i'd like to use the US supplied charts if possible, lord knows I've paid for them!
Bwana
Ken in Cape Breton
I searched "Vector vs Raster charts. What's the difference" and came up with this:

Electronic Charting 101 <edit>Expired link was removed</edit>

I read it through and I think its a pretty good answer to your question.
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