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Garmin HomePort - A "New" version of MapSource for Garmin Chart plotter users.
Ken in Cape Breton
Garmin has sold marine chart products under their BlueChart brand, for use on Garmin chartplotters for a number of years. The basic BlueChart product was available on a CD and could be used with Garmin's Mapsource on a computer for planning purposes. Work done there could them be transferred to a Garmin chartplotter for use on board. Earlier this year Garmin discontinued their basic BlueChart product and no longer offer any of their more complex chart products such as BlueChart g2 and BlueChart g2 Vision on CD or DVD.

This made it impossible to do any advance planning or post trip reviews on a laptop or home computer, everything had to be done on the plotter. That doesn't make much sense when the plotter is an a boat many miles from home. I don't think I'm the only Garmin user that liked planning a trip in the comfort of my home.

It seems Garmin has seen the error in their ways and are soon to release a product that will allow much of the capability of Mapsource on your computer, using the charts you have installed in your plotter.

Garmin calls this new software "HomePort"

HomePort is expected to be available in November 2009 for a retail price of $29.99.

Quote:
Olathe, Kan., October 2, 2009 — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the introduction of Garmin HomePort – a new application that allows mariners to plan and manage trips, routes, tracks and waypoints and transfer them between a PC computer and applicable Garmin chartplotter, making it easier than ever to plan and review all of your on-the-water adventures.

“HomePort is the planning and data backup solution our marine customers have been waiting for,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “This desktop application is the complete trip planning package with capabilities specific to the mariner. And best of all, HomePort utilizes the charts mariners have already purchased for and use with their chartplotter.”

Whether you’re planning a journey or coming off the water, HomePort enables the use of existing BlueChart® data from a preloaded Garmin chartplotter, or preprogrammed data card to help plan ahead on your PC – no additional charts are needed. Once the chart data is uploaded to HomePort, the user can begin to manage and catalog waypoints, routes and tracks, and use the application to help predict fuel usage, tides and depth profiles. With HomePort, mariners can also plan a route to avoid hidden underwater hazards, and can plot a course that keeps their vessel away from shallow or rocky shorelines. HomePort also allows the user to measure distance and bearing between waypoints, and will even help calculate speed and determine an estimated time of arrival.

For even more convenience, the HomePort application lets users create trip files so that they may save and profile trips for future use on their PC. Once you’re finished working in HomePort, you need only to transfer the planned route back to the chartplotter via the micro SD™/SD™ card, and enjoy the journey.

Planning on HomePort can be made on either traditional navigation charts, or on fishing charts and is compatible with BlueChart g2 Vision®, BlueChart g2 and BlueChart data. HomePort is expected to be available in November 2009 for a retail price of $29.99. This new planning application will be available for retail purchase, or as a download from www.garmin.com/homeport. To learn more about HomePort and Garmin’s compatible BlueChart offerings, go to www.garmin.com.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242#overviewTab
Ken in Cape Breton
Here are a couple of screen shots. Note, that this software will allow you to view the aerial and other coastal photography included in the newer BlueChart g2 formats. Kind of like "Lane Assist" for mariners. It appears the software is now available for purchase on SD card or download from Garmin's site: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242
Attached Images
6a00d83451bb7069e20120a5b59dc2970b-800wi.jpg   6a00d83451bb7069e20120a60c6726970c-800wi.jpg  
Ken in Regina
Hi Ken,

Are those photos included with the charts? Or are they being pulled from Google, like Google Earth does? I ask because that little camera icon and the balloon thumbnail look exactly like the way Google Earth does it.

...ken...
Ken in Cape Breton
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Hi Ken,

Are those photos included with the charts? Or are they being pulled from Google, like Google Earth does? I ask because that little camera icon and the balloon thumbnail look exactly like the way Google Earth does it.

...ken...
The photography is included in the charts, along with a great deal of other information you wouldn't need for a land based vehicle. The presentation in HomePort is probably a bit different than it is on a chart plotter though. It has been released for sale so we may see a review of it soon.

From Garmin's site:


BlueChart g2 Vision SD cards enhance the preloaded maps on your chartplotter and add a whole new dimension of exceptional features such as:
  • High resolution satellite imagery, when overlaid on the chart, provides the mariner with unparalleled situational awareness. (A)
  • Aerial reference photography provides “real world” photos of ports, harbors, marinas, waterways, navigation landmarks and other points of interest, offering the mariner another powerful tool for navigating unfamiliar waters. (B)
  • Mariner’s Eye View perspective provides a bird’s eye view from behind the boat showing the chart information for a quick, reliable and easy position fix. (C)
  • Fish Eye View 3D perspective provides an underwater view that visually represents the sea floor according to the chart’s information. (D)
  • Auto Guidance technology searches chart data to suggest the best passage to a destination. (E)
  • Fishing charts allow the mariner to hide navigation data from the SD card while leaving the bottom contours and depth soundings for their next fishing adventure.
  • Includes tides, currents, marine services, coastal roads and points of interest.
  • Detailed BlueChart g2 maps are included on the card to supplement the maps on your chartplotter.
Attached Images
situationalawarenessxl.jpg   aerialphotoxl.jpg   marinerseyeviewxl.jpg   fisheyeviewxl.jpg   autoguidancexl.jpg  

Ken in Regina
Wow! I'm not a mariner but that looks like a quantum improvement over the old Bluecharts product.

...ken...
sailorickm
Ken in Cape Breton,

Some of the images that you posted show speed, depth and heading as if the HomePort program is being used with a computer on the water (as if a replacement for nRoute). I don't see anything that says the program actually does this. I don't see these images on the Garmin site either. Are they just chart plotter images to show the routes having been transferred?

Rick
Ken in Cape Breton
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorickm
Ken in Cape Breton,

Some of the images that you posted show speed, depth and heading as if the HomePort program is being used with a computer on the water (as if a replacement for nRoute). I don't see anything that says the program actually does this. I don't see these images on the Garmin site either. Are they just chart plotter images to show the routes having been transferred?

Rick
All images are from Garmin's site. The images in post #2 in this thread are of HomePort on a computer. They were taken from this page: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/alt-image.do?pID=64242&img=ImageScreen1Large which you can get to from this page: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242# "Images" tab. I see they have changed some of these shots so I'm attaching the new ones to this post.

Post #4 in this thread is a response to Ken in Regina's question (in post #3) about the photos included in the charts as shown in one of the images attached to post #1. The photos in post #4 are of BlueChart g2 Vision charts in use, but on a chart plotter as you have suggested, not a computer, and are included in the post to show the new capabilities of the charts, not HomeRoute itself. They were taken from this page: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=254&pID=9618

Sorry for the confusion.
Attached Images
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sailorickm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Cape Breton
The photos in post #4 are of BlueChart g2 Vision charts in use, but on a chart plotter as you have suggested, not a computer...
Thanks for the verification, Ken. I suppose I was somewhat fishing/hoping there was some good news about HomePort that I didn't know about.

I thought I'd describe what I have and what my research has turned up in case there is something I missed.

I have a GPSMAP 76CSx, Titan external antenna, MapSource, BlueChart Americas v9 with the Canadian Pacific Coast (Vancouver Island East) and the British Virgin Island areas unlocked, MetroGuide Canada, and nRoute. Unrelated to this nautical discussion, I now have a Nuvi 255w with CNNT2010.3 so I don't use the laptop or 76CSx on land.

When I recently discovered that both the BlueChart CDs and nRoute have been dropped by Garmin, I started investigating my options for replacing my laptop chartplotter with something new and supported.

The problem is the price of Canadian charts. The same product and price is found everywhere: NavTech, Fugawi, Navionics, local stores here in Calgary and directly from the CHS: about $175 for raster BSB and $600 for vector ENC S-57.

What I don't understand is how Garmin can sell the $600 vector package and the MapSource PC program for $140 (now $115)! The fellow at MapTech support didn't know either, but I'm guessing that maybe Garmin got a good deal some years back when CHS had outsourced the electronic chart business to NDI. Does anybody know?

NDI/DigitalOcean seems to exist still. Their website says to phone for the Canadian data price but I imagine it's the same as everywhere else.

On the software side, I'd be looking at $400 for MapTech's Offshore Navigator (the $99 version does not support vector charts, seamless stitching, or even allow named waypoints). The Fugawi Marince ENC program is $200, or $280 with a special cardreader to read the Navionics version of the CHS S-57 data.

nRoute certainly does pale in comparison to the MapTech and Fugawi programs.

So, it would cost me $800 to $1000 to replace my end-of-lifed Garmin BlueChart data and nRoute. Updates to CHS electronic charts are only for one year, then you have to pay the full purchase price again. If I paid $600 for new data, it would eventually be just as out-of-date as my non-updatable BlueChart data anyway!

I think I'm stuck with what I have. Does anybody know anything different?
Ken in Cape Breton
I've got pretty much the same setup as you, GPSMap 76CSx, a GPS 20x, nRoute, BlueCharts Americas v2008.5 (Version 10.50) with the Region CA005-Halifax to Cape Breton, Jul 08 unlocked to both receivers. I also have Garmin Mobile PC (with the GPS 20x mentioned above) for use in the car. I have a number of other maps unlocked and ones that don't need to be unlocked that I use in the 76CSx and on the PC with nRoute and Mobile PC. Mobile PC doesn't work with the BlueCharts, it can't display the maps properly, having difficulty where there are smaller highly detailed areas layered with the larger scale charts.

I'm also stuck with what I have as Garmin seems to have decided to get out of the marine Navigation using a PC line of business. I suppose they want us to buy one of their chart plotters.

I'm also still running Nobletec Visual Navigation Suite 4.1.400 on the laptop for sailboat navigation, coastal cruising and near offshore in Atlantic Canada but that software and the charts I got for it at the time are well out of date now.

I think the reason Garmin can sell vector charts so cheaply is because they made their own vector charts independently of what NDI was doing, having only to pay the licence fee to NDI then, and the Canadian Hydrographic Service now.

There is some more information in these threads:

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2015-marine-navigation-laptop

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/724-there-laptop-pc-gps-navigation-software-nautical-use

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2516-car-marine-navigation-trekking-etc-laptop-garmin-mobile-pc-nroute
sailorickm
I had also found those other threads today and have been reading and making the odd post.

I described in another post just now that I mostly use the laptop and nRoute for preplanning and general course steering while under way, replying on paper charts, Sailing Directions, etc for navigation hazards. Since the CHS data is so expensive and there doesn't seem to be any alternative, I'm about to the point where I'll cry uncle and just keep what I have. The data becoming more and more out-of-date is probably not a problem for some years to come.
Ken in Cape Breton
In case anyone is still following this thread about Garmin HomePort, Garmin now gives this software away for free.

Garmin HomePort software version 2.2.9 as of January 28, 2015 Download (40.77 MB):

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/maps/trip-planning/homeport-/prod64242.html
sailorickm
Good news, thanks Ken!
Boyd
I think they made this change at least a year ago, it's been discussed elsewhere. But it's good news regardless.
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