21st century technology on a shoestring budget
Sure, I'd love to have all of the newest chart plotters, sonar, radar, and super-giga-band radios, But after paying the boatyard, Interlux, and West Marine for project supplies I've found myself a little short on cash. Last night I was introduced to Google Earths real-time GPS tracking capabilities and also how to create nautical chart overlays. The result was awesome! I found the interface to be infinitely more appealing and user friendly than any of the navigation software/hardware I have seen so far.
What I would like to know is what other new technologies have Sailnet users found, both software and hardware, that make there journeys pleasant and safe. I have read a little about digital vhf transmissions that contain a ships heading, velocity, etc and I was wondering if there is a way to interface this into Google Earth, or another pc application. I'd like to hear about the emerging technology and "hacks" available to the twenty first century sailor.