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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 09-18-2010
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Software/maps for navigation via Laptop

Hi there,
We are planning our Bahamas trip and would like to use a laptop for planning our course. (We'll buy a USB-GPS antenna and hook it up to the laptop)


Which (free) software can you recommend for the Bahamas?

Which (free) maps/charts can you recommend for the Bahamas?

Any other tip and comment is more than welcome - so far we have never used any software and we have no clue about it....


While we are under sails, we will use our old Garmin GPSMAP 76. Does anybody know a web page where we can download maps/charts for free/little money for this old device?

Thanks!

Heidi
from Germany
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Old 09-19-2010
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Sorry, but there are no free charts for the Bahamas AFAIK...

SeaClear II is a possible software package. There are a few others out there.

As for charts for the Garmin...no, you're pretty much stuck with using Garmin's charts or using software to create your own. Personally, I think spending a bit of money on charts is a wise idea...since they're going to be a known quantity. Do you really want to trust your safety to something that you have no idea where it really originated from???
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Old 09-19-2010
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Interesting how folk will spend bucket loads of money on boat, fill her up with all manner of expensive geegaws then baulk at paying for a road map.

Passing strange indeed.
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Old 09-19-2010
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Yes, it is odd... and in many cases, those same people skimp on their ground tackle too...

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Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Interesting how folk will spend bucket loads of money on boat, fill her up with all manner of expensive geegaws then baulk at paying for a road map.

Passing strange indeed.
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Old 09-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer2010 View Post
Which (free) maps/charts can you recommend for the Bahamas?
The best charts you can get are printed on proper chart paper, not photocopies, and are generally never free.

I agree with other posts that when one considers the cost of a vessel and all that it takes to cruise, why would one save a few dollars on trying to get free charts?

Just another point about electronic charts - there is always extensive discussion regarding the reliability of plotters, notebooks and the like but there is another element of electronic charting that is seldom discussed.

There is often information on a chart that is of significant importance to the skipper/navigator and this type of info is not always found on electronic charts. Things like tidal diamonds/streams and currents as well as comments about the area covered by the charge can be found on a paper chart. The example below demonstrates the point.



This information is provided to warn of a strong cross current that sets across the entrance to the harbour of Nuku Hiva. Without this knowledge and given the large width of the entrance, one may be tempted to take a short cut past one of the projecting points or even to enter the harbour under sail and will quickly find yourself being drawn towards the rocks that guard the starboard side. This information does not appear on the electronic charts that I have (Maxsea, CMaps)

Buy proper charts and if you must, get electronic charts to play with.
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Old 09-20-2010
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Nicely said Andre

Quote:
Buy proper charts and if you must, get electronic charts to play with.
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Old 09-20-2010
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Fo me the great thing about a real chart is even if you have it half folded the eye and brain can in an instance go from being focused in on one spot to taking in the whole(or half )chart!
Try doing that with a five inch plotter screen or even a 15 inch laptop screen-at best you have to move the chart image about or decrease the visible details to cover a larger area.
NZ offers the best price for paper charts in the world under half the price of UK admiralty charts on which they were origionally based and a folio stretching right through the south west Pacific up to French Ploynesia.You can also buy the full folio on a CD with built in plotter for about Ł60 uk. or if you have an enabled plotter such as Endeavor the folio is available for free.
If you are really keen nearly all the origional tiff chart images are available but will need calibrating using Seaclear.
For more info go to:
Land Information New Zealand
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Old 09-20-2010
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Yep, thoroughly agree with Andre there. Maybe its being old fashioned but despite having electronic charts (CMap btw) I always get the paper charts for areas we intend to visit.

Andre.....where do you go to update your CMap charts ? I am having all sorts of problems working that out.
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Old 09-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
This information is provided to warn of a strong cross current that sets across the entrance to the harbour of Nuku Hiva. Without this knowledge and given the large width of the entrance, one may be tempted to take a short cut past one of the projecting points or even to enter the harbour under sail and will quickly find yourself being drawn towards the rocks that guard the starboard side. This information does not appear on the electronic charts that I have (Maxsea, CMaps)

Buy proper charts and if you must, get electronic charts to play with.
OK, I see your point.

Is there a conspiracy here? Why the electronic chart does not have the current information. Is this a propriety info that only paper chart company can print? I think electronic chart should have more info than paper chart. The paper chart real estate is premium.
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Quote:
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Andre.....where do you go to update your CMap charts ? I am having all sorts of problems working that out.
Frankly I don't bother updating electronic charts as I only really use them for planning. My CMap charts are circa 2002. I use them to set up a planning route on Maxsea and then transfer that to the GPS just in case. Then I check the waypoints on a proper chart to see what info is different.

The primary use of my notebook-based plotter is to wow non-sailing folks that visit the boat - they think it's really cool and that I really know what the heck is going on. Both these suppositions are debatable .

I update my paper charts from Notices to Mariners.
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