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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 11-16-2010
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GPS chartfinder

I'm putting together an instrument system for my racing boat, and would prefer to leave my older GPS Chartplotter on the old boat for resale. I'll have a laptop hooked up to the Nexus instruments network. So can I just hook the GPS antenna directly up to the laptop, buy some software and map data, and use the computer as a chartplotter?
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Old 11-18-2010
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Yes, you can, but i wouldn't recommend doing that.
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Old 11-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Yes, you can, but i wouldn't recommend doing that.
Geez SD, your going to have to elaborate on that you can't just leave him hanging.

Most of the commercial fishermen and many recreational boaters around here do just what he is talking about. US charts are free to download and there are many different navigation software packages available. I don't use a laptop for navigation so I can't give first hand info, but I have a chartplotter app on my Iphone which is basically the same thing and it works great.
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Old 11-18-2010
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Quote:
So can I just hook the GPS antenna directly up to the laptop, buy some software and map data, and use the computer as a chartplotter?
We went that route for several years, because it's what I could afford. (already had the laptop and a little Garmin GPS) It worked well enough except for one problem, we kept the laptop down below where it was hard to see from the helm position. No big deal in most circumstances, but one dark and stormy night, we found ourselves moving the boat from one location to another. Not having the chart plotter right there at the helm increased the level or stress several notches. We decided after that night to pony up the cash for a chart plotter at the helm, as we both thought our boat was more at risk for not having it there.
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Old 11-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
I have a chartplotter app on my Iphone which is basically the same thing and it works great.
I am impressed, John. An old fart like you with an Iphone with apps and everything! ..... I'm still trying to figger out how to turn up the volume on my brick.
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Old 11-20-2010
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There are lots of ways to do it. Without getting into a discussion of "which is better a chartplotter or a laptop?" this thread discusses my process: GPS and Navigation Software Options

On page three there's a link to this: Digital Charts

I already had purchased the GPS puck. I know the NOAA charts are free, but I figured for $25 (including s/h) I'd have all the charts right there: a trade off between my time to download them and the cost of the CD. The NOAA charts .bsb (?) file format work with either SeaClear or Offshore Navigator.

I also have all the Garmin charts from the internet Garmin unlock code, although they don't work on the handheld because of Garmin's locking methodology.

I think I have what works for me.

Chartplotter locations are also a consideration. See this: Major Electronics Overhaul
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