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.
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Please, give me a headstart so I can start searching and comparing. Furthermore, do these programs accept different type of maps from different manufactures?
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. 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? Raster charts: i searched and find the followind pros and cons list: 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.
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. 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: 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): 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: 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). 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: 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, OziExplorer (), SeaClear II (), and Software-On-Board SOBvMAX; (). 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.
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. 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. 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. Torrent Dragon Medical Practice Edition Review. 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: 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.