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toewsrus 03-18-2007 09:01 PM

Navigation Software
Alright, I got so many great responses on my computer question, here's another:

What nav software are you using? Are you happy with it? Would you buy it again? Or would you get something else?

I have a free version of maptech I downloaded from the NOAA site (or from a link from that site). If anyone is using Maptech Pro, what differences are there from the free version?

Thanks all for your help!

sailingdog 03-18-2007 09:29 PM

I'm assuming you're using a PC... from the fact that you're using Maptech.

The most expensive is the Maptech Pro ($499), followed by the Capn Voyager ($449), which is also sold by Maptech. Fugawi Global Navigator ($120) is the most economical of the commercial packages. Seaclear is a free package, but fairly limited in what it can do. I have and use the C-Map commercial product, but thinl that one of the others may be a bit more user friendly.

On the Mac, I've used MacGPS and MacENC, which are both by the same company. The MacENC package is the only one that supports ENC files on the Mac AFAIK.

It would help a lot if you could specify what specific features you're looking for in a navigation software package? Do you want to be able to use NOAA ENC charts? Do you want to be able to see AIS information on the screen? Do you want the software to help with routing??

labatt 03-18-2007 09:46 PM


Originally Posted by sailingdog
The most expensive is the Maptech Pro ($499), followed by the Capn Voyager ($449), which is also sold by Maptech. Fugawi Global Navigator ($120) is the most economical of the commercial packages.

I wish Maptech was the most expensive. I'm looking at possibly getting RayTech RNS since I have all Raymarine equip on my boat... chartplotter, gps, radar, smart heading sensor, ST60+ instruments, etc. It seems to have a lot of good features. It retails for $699. Furuno also makes a series of navigation software. There are various modules available and it can easily go over $1k.

I'm having a hard time comparing Maptech to the Raymarine software. I'm trying to figure out the functional differences in features but they look very similar.

sailingdog 03-18-2007 09:53 PM

I wasn't thinking of vendor specific software... if you go vendor specific, then there are a few other options...but most of the vendor-specific ones are a good deal more expensive.

PBzeer 03-18-2007 10:07 PM

I'm using the Fugawi ENC, which can use the free NOAA charts in either raster or vector format. I also have a copy of SeaClear II which I got with the GPS Mouse I bought for the laptop. USGlobalSat sells a GPS reciever with a USB plug for laptops for under $100 (and can be found even cheaper), that so far has worked great for me.

Freesail99 03-18-2007 10:14 PM

I have Capn Voyager and I see myself using it more for planning, rather then for navigation. I have a Garmin 498c chartplotter and carry as many papper charts as I can afford.

sailingdog 03-18-2007 10:17 PM


I'd rather have a regular GPS unit, so that if the computer goes south... GPS is still something I can use. A USB GPS mouse isn't all that useful without a computer. ;)

For passage planning I've been playing with Visual Passage Planner... but it's really overkill for most people.

Sabreman 03-18-2007 10:40 PM

I use GPSNavX ($59.95) for Mac and raster charts. The developer is super responsive to queries and suggestions for improvement. The same developer has MacENC ($139) for vector charts. I've used GPSNavX for several years and have found that it has all the features of much more expensive programs. I've used the MacENC demo, but found it slow on my 1.3Ghz G3 Mac.

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, if you're considering buying a laptop, I recommend a new Mac (with the Intel chipset). Using the Parallels software program (~$70 but free with new purchase from some vendors), you'd be able run all PC and Mac program with a fraction of the trouble of using a Windows PC.

sailingdog 03-18-2007 10:44 PM

Also, the MacBook is a relatively inexpensive computer that gives you a dual-core CPU machine with a lot of integrated features.

Also, BootCamp, which allows you to install Windows XP on the MacBook as a dual boot configuration is free from Apple.

ysabelsdad 03-18-2007 11:17 PM

I use Coastal Explorer from Rose Point Navigation interfaced with an older Garmin GPS. It has worked pretty well for me.

One constraint I had when I bought it was that I was going to be cruising on the west coast of Canada and there is only one source for charts. All US charts can be downloaded for free. The Canadian charts I needed were more expensive than the software.

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