Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Herrington Harbor, MD
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Garmin vs. Raymarine - opinions from users?
1. Does one company have more comprehensive electronic databases than the other?
RayMarine uses C-Map and now Navionics "Gold" in their newest line (C & E series) of plotters. Both are serious cartography.
2. Are these databases available in bigh chunks, or piecemeal in memory sticks?
Both C-Map and Navionics Gold are vector format cartography sold in various geographic sizes...memory sticks if you like.
3. Does one product have a technology edge as far as satellite or XM integration into the plotting and/or weather radar?
Not as familiar with Garmin but have read of their XM Wx integration. They have the lead (exclusive?) on that.
4.Does one product have a significantly easier interface to use?
No. Even by the most stringent test there is no "significant" ease of use difference. There may be preferences however that you may find more or less suitable to your use. Practical Sailor magazine has done some comparisons in the last year. You may want to go to their URL and back order the relevant issue(s).
5.Does one product have a significant advantage in interfacing with autopilot systems?
Hmmmm... your use of the word, "significant" makes this one tougher. NMEA allows a common i/f. That said, the proprietary network protocols of instrument/autopilot manufacturers can be more "robust", to grab at an intentionally vague word! Having common equipment allows using the proprietary network protocols. That may give an advantage to RayMarine IF that is your autopilot manufacturer.
Be sure and do your homework on the differences between vector and raster format carography before buying either! People get pretty passionate about their favorite, but you should decide based on as many facts as you can find!