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  #31  
Old 04-26-2009
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Yes, but for planning purposes, do you need the actual e-charts. If you do, then you may need to buy a BlueChart DVD... however, for most planning purposes, the basemap is probably all you really need. You can always check the waypoints and routes once they're downloaded into the GPS. Besides, this is a portable unit, not a fixed mount, and you can have it with you when doing the planning and double check things on the 640 as you do it.
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  #32  
Old 04-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Yes, but for planning purposes, do you need the actual e-charts.
Yes, I do not use basemaps for my planning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
If you do, then you may need to buy a BlueChart DVD...
You may be right about having to buy a second set of charts for the laptop, but I find it hard to believe that Garmin does not have a better solution. In the past, we loaded our charts from DVD to laptop, and then laptop to chartplotter, and their owner verification system allowed the registered user to have the charts in both places: laptop for planning (since nRoute is not the slickest software for moving map under way and other moving map programs cannot use BlueCharts) and the registered Garmin chartplotter for navigating under way. Now... ?
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  #33  
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The older units, that did not have the entire set of coastal/inland charts pre-loaded did come with a Bluechart DVD. However, they were far more expensive, in that you had to unlock each region separately. You didn't need to use nRoute, as MapSource would work as a real-time chartplotter on any maps you had unlocked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by floatsome View Post
You may be right about having to buy a second set of charts for the laptop, but I find it hard to believe that Garmin does not have a better solution. In the past, we loaded our charts from DVD to laptop, and then laptop to chartplotter, and their owner verification system allowed the registered user to have the charts in both places: laptop for planning (since nRoute is not the slickest software for moving map under way and other moving map programs cannot use BlueCharts) and the registered Garmin chartplotter for navigating under way. Now... ?
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #34  
Old 10-10-2009
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ok- I need some clarifications:

1) On the 640, are all the US Charts unlocked or is it by sub-region?

2) Can you load the charts onto a laptop and plan out routes and then download the routes back into the unit?

3) How does one update the charts? By sub-region or do you update the entire chart base?
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  #35  
Old 10-11-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
MapSource would work as a real-time chartplotter on any maps you had unlocked.
? - I thought MapSource was simply a BlueChart map viewer that would only allow the user to plan routes and build/maintain waypoints, but not display moving map real time with positioning from a GPS receiver?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamsailor View Post
ok- I need some clarifications:
1) On the 640, are all the US Charts unlocked or is it by sub-region?
2) Can you load the charts onto a laptop and plan out routes and then download the routes back into the unit?
3) How does one update the charts? By sub-region or do you update the entire chart base?
All good questions that I am still trying to figure out. Re your #2: I just learned about what seems to be new Garmin software called HomePort: "Use your existing BlueChart® preprogrammed card, or transfer the preloaded maps˛ directly from your chartplotter to an SD™ card. Then simply plug the card into your computer's card reader to start planning your voyage." https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242 But, the devil is always in the details, and I can't sort out in my mind exactly how this works if one buys a preloaded receiver like the 640.
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  #37  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floatsome View Post
All good questions that I am still trying to figure out. Re your #2: I just learned about what seems to be new Garmin software called HomePort: "Use your existing BlueChart® preprogrammed card, or transfer the preloaded maps˛ directly from your chartplotter to an SD™ card. Then simply plug the card into your computer's card reader to start planning your voyage." https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242 But, the devil is always in the details, and I can't sort out in my mind exactly how this works if one buys a preloaded receiver like the 640.

Anybody at Garmin we can contact so we can get something in writing? Any suggestions?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamsailor View Post
ok- I need some clarifications:

1) On the 640, are all the US Charts unlocked or is it by sub-region?
On the 640, the US Coastal charts are all unlocked and pre-loaded.

Quote:
2) Can you load the charts onto a laptop and plan out routes and then download the routes back into the unit?
No, you can't load the charts onto a laptop. However, if you have their software, you can plan out routes, waypoints, etc and load them into the unit.

You can use another software package to do the route-planning and often safe the results in a format the Garmin software can use to transfer the routes and waypoints to the 640.

Quote:
3) How does one update the charts? By sub-region or do you update the entire chart base?
IIRC, the 640 is updated for about $75 with a $200 deposit by ordering an update chart set from Garmin which is shipped on a memory card. The $200 deposit is refunded when you return the card.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #39  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
On the 640, the US Coastal charts are all unlocked and pre-loaded.


No, you can't load the charts onto a laptop. However, if you have their software, you can plan out routes, waypoints, etc and load them into the unit.

You can use another software package to do the route-planning and often safe the results in a format the Garmin software can use to transfer the routes and waypoints to the 640.



The 640 is updated for about $75 with a $200 deposit by ordering an update chart set from Garmin which is shipped on a memory card. The $200 deposit is refunded when you return the card.
So Garmins new route planning software is what you would use on a laptop--correct?
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  #40  
Old 10-11-2009
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Thumbs up 478 Experience

In the hope of addressing some confusion, here is my experience from owning a GPSmap 478 (non-touchscreen predecessor of the GPSmap 640);

The unit includes ALL the US Costal Charts in ROM. It also includes US road maps (in great detail) in ROM. Also included in the box is a Bluechart basemap DVD. This DVD includes all the current detailed Garmin charts. However, you need an unlock code to enable each specific region. You really cannot do coastal route planning on your PC with the included software license. The basic chart that the license unlocks does not provide ATON for harbors or channels.

Garmin makes a lot of money (I suspect the majority) selling charts. Think of these chart plotters as razors, and the charts (and updates) as razor blades.

As SD pointed out, you can update the included charts for an area by buying a Garmin chart (on a Garmin memory card) for that area (~$160), loading the updated chart into the unit, and returning the card to Garmin. Garmin will refund $70 (I believe), so that your net cost of updating ONE area is ~$90. I have not done so - yet.

There are some models of Garmin chart plotters for which a lifetime (of the product - as defined by Garmin) update of the included charts is available for ~$130.00 Neither the GPSmap 478, not the 640 qualify for this update service.

That said, I LOVE my GPSmap 478! I bought it when it first came out (2006) for about $950. Because I sail on OPB, this is the one chart plotter that I know what ALL the buttons do. I find that it has more, and better features than most of the chart plotters that are installed on the boats that I am sailing. I have also benefitted that in the event of an on board electrical failure (this happened) the GPSmap continues to function. Should I ever have to ditch, I can carry this unit with me.

Regarding the comparison to automotive GPS units, I find that the display of the GPSmap gives far more useful data than the built-in unit of my wife's 2009 Hundai Azera. I configured the data fields to show me actual speed (I know that my speedometer consistently reads 3mph faster than actual), ETE Next Turn, Distance Next Turn, and ETA. All of these fields are user selectable from about 80 different telemetry calculations. When I used to travel extensively for work, this unit was always with me, and was worth the price in lack of frustration in finding (or getting close to) customer sites.

Occasionally, the unit would screw up in finding a specific address, or the BEST route to my destination. For example, every time that I travel to my sister's condo in South Ft Myers, FL, from the north, it directs me to get off RT 75 in FT Myers, and travel route 41 South through all the stoplights. I ignore the unit, and get off 75 two exits south of the original directions. This is what I would call "local knowledge."

To me, the difference between the 478 and 640 is that the 640 has a larger TOUCH screen, and that the unit will automatically switch between Auto and Marine mode (I do not like this, as I will sometimes look at a mooring field, or canal, from my car and wonder what the draft is. I simply switch to Marine mode, and have my answer. I'm not sure that youcan do this with the 640).

As for water resistance, I can vouch that my 478 was exposed to about 5 hours of road spray while mounted on my motorcycle, travelling through torrential rain, on my way from Key West to St George SC. This did not affect the unit, or it's connector at all.

HTH!!

- Ed
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Last edited by eherlihy; 10-11-2009 at 01:51 PM.
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