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  #1  
Old 03-05-2010
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Ipad meets ActiveCaptain?

This could be old news so forgive me if this has already been discussed, but with the recent 'discovery' of ActiveCaptain - The Interactive Cruising Guidebook - Marina Reviews, Fuel Prices, Anchorages, and the recent release of the Ipad, I was pretty intrigued to see this on Panbo:

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: AC on an iPad, Android coming too

I've already got a Garmin 4208 at the nav station down below, but for $500 I am thinking an Ipad (I'm assuming GPS connectivity?) with this software would be an invaluable asset as a navigational supplement at a pricepoint miles below that of standard chartplotters on the market today. Thoughts?
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Old 03-05-2010
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Not really a good idea.

First, the iPad is not water-resistant.

Second, the screen isn't very good to read, especially in daylight.

Third, ActiveCaptain only works when you have an active internet connection.

Fourth, the only models that wil have the integrated GPS are the 3G models AFAIK. That means you need to get the 3G equipped models, which will cost you $30 or so a month for the data plan and are more expensive than a basic Garmin chartplotter.

You can download and add POI data to the Garmin chartplotters. You can download lists that contain the local marine facilities to your Garmin pretty easily.
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Old 03-05-2010
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Active Captain was originally created for the cell phone market and I too have heard from Jeff Siegal the author that it is soon to be released for the iPhone and Android which will capture a much larger market share. The iPhone has decent daylight readability, a GPS and has internet connection when required. Keep in mind constant connection is not a requirement, you only need a short time connection to download the relevant data for the area you have displayed then the phone disconnects the call and you have what you need.
I have Active Captain on my Samsung Omnia and my only complaint is the Samsung is not very daylight readable, so when my contract expires I will either get the Omnia II or switch to iPhone.
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If the Ipad's screen is similar to the Iphone, I think readability will has the potential to be comparable to that of a chartplotter. I haven't had any readability concerns with my Iphone, and am using that as a basis for my opinion. If the Ipad screen is different I would be willing to concede the point though. I agree with the waterproofing concern, but the iphone is not waterproof and there are any number of waterproof cases available for it. I expect there will be plenty of suppliers for water-resistant Ipad cases in short order after its release.

I just read the 3G models are priced at around $650 which does indeed put them in the Garmin price-range, but the appeal, IMHO, is portability of the unit (maybe on the foredeck while someone else is steering in an anchorage for example). I'm sure there are better examples, I'm just not in a creative state of mind right now; but a Garmin is going to be fixed on a mount.

I know there are going to be drawbacks, but at $650 I think it's still a pretty cheap toy that has potential to be pretty useful.
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Old 03-05-2010
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There are some Garmin models, like the 478 or the 640, that have internal batteries and can be used on the foredeck if necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creedence623 View Post
If the Ipad's screen is similar to the Iphone, I think readability will has the potential to be comparable to that of a chartplotter. I haven't had any readability concerns with my Iphone, and am using that as a basis for my opinion. If the Ipad screen is different I would be willing to concede the point though. I agree with the waterproofing concern, but the iphone is not waterproof and there are any number of waterproof cases available for it. I expect there will be plenty of suppliers for water-resistant Ipad cases in short order after its release.

I just read the 3G models are priced at around $650 which does indeed put them in the Garmin price-range, but the appeal, IMHO, is portability of the unit (maybe on the foredeck while someone else is steering in an anchorage for example). I'm sure there are better examples, I'm just not in a creative state of mind right now; but a Garmin is going to be fixed on a mount.

I know there are going to be drawbacks, but at $650 I think it's still a pretty cheap toy that has potential to be pretty useful.
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Old 03-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
...ActiveCaptain only works when you have an active internet connection.
It most surely doesn't need to work that way and every day, more offline use is being built.

It's true that the ActiveCaptain web site requires you to be online to access the marinas, anchorages, bridges, inlets, West Marine locations, hazards, and on and on. But there is absolutely no reason that this data couldn't exist offline on any device. In fact, at the Miami Boat Show (Feb 2010), MaxSea and Furuno showed that exact thing - the entire ActiveCaptain database offline on a PC for access any time. They also have synchronization capabilities so when you get an internet connection, it will sync with the ActiveCaptain servers to get the very latest updates, reviews, etc.

Here's video I shot of the Furuno product manager showing the data offline:
http://www.vimeo.com/9449102

This exact type of capability can and will exist on the iPhone and iPad. It's development that is happening today, right now. You're also going to see the data offline on many other devices and inside many other software products.

I'm really excited about the iPad and I created the design shot that was picked up by Panbo (and an upcoming Yachting Magazine article). It's not that the iPad is so wonderful - it might be but without seeing it I'm holding off final judgement. But what the iPad represents is a large, programmable surface that us developers (and cruisers) can take and use to create new things with. It's a wonderful blank canvas. Apple's version of it might not be the "one" or it could be huge. Let's give it a try.
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Thanks for the update Jeff.
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