charting software - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 
  #1  
Old 11-06-2002
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 28
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
ekhar is on a distinguished road
charting software

I am in a process of totally replacing electronics and redesigning the nav station (after a lightning strike). I''m putting in a B&G system and a computer. The 15" lcd leaves room or need for any other display (aside from 2 B&G heads).

After looking at dedicated 10" color displays and radar/chart units at the features and costs I realized that I''m better off with a laptop on board.

The beauty of B&G is that their new multiuse displays will incorporate a simple GPS, so I can view my course/progress at any time. The course can be laid in from a computer. (I got all winter to learn this stuff)

I am considering software from Maptech and Nobeltec. Can anyone share any experience with either.

My second consideration is the addition of radar. Si-Tex has a "digital output" radar that will display on a computer and work with Nobletec. Although more expensive at this time than conventional radars, I am sure more pc-ready radars will be coming out and the prices will drop.

All thoughts are welcome.
Gene
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 11-06-2002
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 28
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
ekhar is on a distinguished road
charting software

I meant.. 15" LCD leaves NO room or need ....
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 11-06-2002
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 41
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
petercra is on a distinguished road
charting software

The problem with laptops is that they''re not waterproof. That precludes using them in the cockpit, I''ve used an obsolete model below by attaching it to the chart table with velcro. I wouldn''t dream of using an expensive new model below while underway unless the seas were very calm. All it takes is one wave to ruin the laptop for good.

However, I use the Maptech software at anchor to do route planning on the laptop. While underway it''s safely secured in a bag. I upload waypoints to my Raytheon radar chartplotter (waterproof and mounted at the wheel) the night before setting out.

The Maptech software is far superior to the Raytheon (and I suspect other chartplotters) for route planning; color and better resolution helps a lot, and it''s easy to click the mouse and move waypoints around. I highly recommend for route planning. Also, laptop displays are typically 1024x768 pixels now, the Raytheon mono radar/chartplotter is 320x240, color is 640x480. You can see much more of the chart at the same time on the laptop with Maptech. Also, the laptop''s keyboard is much, much faster than the trackpad for entering waypoint names. The route planning software comes with the regional chart for $150-200 and is quite complete. There is another piece of Maptech software which takes input from your GPS and allows you to see your boat as it moves. I haven''t tried that. Obviously that does the same thing a charplotter does, but you still have the problem that it is on a laptop.

I looked briefly at the Si-Tex. It would have been much more expensive than what I have, not counting the cost of the laptop which doubles for home use.

One also must consider the likelihood of a computer crash at a critical moment in fog or a narrow channel. Although Windows XP is much improved over Windows Me/95/98, I wouldn''t trust any Microsoft operating system when the safety of your boat and indeed you depend on it. It just may crash at the wrong time and require several minutes to reboot while the software scolds you for shutting down the computer incorrectly (which you had to do only because the software was defective in the first place) and scans your disks. Think of going through that as a freighter bears down on you in the fog or as you''re navigating between rocks unmarked by buoys.

As far as I can tell, the Raytheon unit is as close to crash proof as one can get.

It''s very beneficial to have a fully integrated system where one can look at charts and the radar at the same time. Having compass and autopilot input (I have a sea talk system with autopilot and speed/depth/wind) allows the radar and chart to be displayed north up or course (i.e. last autopilot course) up. If one is turning to avoid traffic, north up is a lot less confusing than head up. Also, it''s very helpful to have a current set and drift computation. That''s taking the GPS data and comparing it to the speed and compass data to calculate set and drift. I assume you can do similar things with the B&G system and NMEA interfaces.

The waterproof cockpit displays are very expensive, part of that is more intense backlighting to enable use in the cockpit during daylight. Non waterproof LCD displays are available fairly inexpensively. It''s difficult to understand the huge difference, one would expect that cockpit displays will come down in price, but it hasn''t been noticeable yet.

I would recommend using a laptop below for navigation only if you have an extra crew member available a good part of the time (and full time in fog or tight quarters) to do navigation below while someone else is at the helm. It''s just too easy to miss something if you''re jumping up and down between the helm and the chart table.

If you want to use a laptop while underway, perhaps the best solution would be to use the laptop (secured in a waterproof area) with a remote keyboard and LCD monitor at the nav station. The keyboard is cheap and dispensible, if the monitor gets wet you''re out $300-400 vs. $2000. However, you''d need an inverter for the LCD monitor and would have to worry about current drain.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 11-07-2002
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 38
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
lecomte38 is on a distinguished road
charting software

Nobeltec does a much better job of quilting then Maptec. I am in the process of purchasing software now after playing with the demos for both plus The Captn. Nobeltec is my choice with Maptech charts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 11-07-2002
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 306
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
Sailmc is on a distinguished road
charting software

I''ve used Nobeltec for 2 years now and love it. I would urge you to use Nobeltec''s vector charts over any raster charts. They run faster, smoother and you can turn details on or off to make things clearer. They also take far less memory so you can store them on your hard drive. The whole chart can sit in your ram for lightening fast speed. They also zoom in much closer while remaining absolutely clear. I also use a Raytheon chart plotter in the cockpit and it feels retarded compared to my laptop.The laptop zooms and pans as fast as you can hit the button.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 11-07-2002
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 306
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 13
Sailmc is on a distinguished road
charting software

The Nobeltec is also able to directly upload waypoints and routes to Garmin chartplotters and GPS''s
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 11-08-2002
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 54
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 12
BeneteauMark is on a distinguished road
charting software

I''ve used the Cap''n First Mate on two long distance races on the Great Lakes, and for weekend trips. Love it.

The other posts mentioning the suitability of your typical notebook PC for use aboard brings up an interesting problem. Even if you have the PC down below, someone taking off wet foulies could splash the computer pretty badly.

I solved this problem by buying a ruggedized notebook PC. Panasonic sells the Toughbook line, which will theoretically take rain, splash, etc. (but not submersion). Not cheap, but saves a lot of worry. CDW sells the Toughbook line. (FWIW, I got mine through Tiger Direct on a closeout. Don''t know if they still have stock or not.) One nice feature of the Toughbook is the touch screen. Allows you to make menu choices, recenter the chart, etc. without having to move a mouse pointer around.

Hope this helps,
Mark
Lake St. Clair, MI
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 11-15-2002
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Gord01 is on a distinguished road
charting software

I use Nobeltec Version 4.1 of Visual Mariner. It is great, solid, reliable, no problems. Recently I upgraded to vesion 6.5 and immeadiately ran into problems with the system. First, the really neat images are only available if you buy all new charts! Well OK, but most of the new features were bells and whistles around the new 3D images. Then the system begun to hang and then crashed, ultimately corrupting my application. So reload was the only option. When I went to reload, it demanded a special password obtained only from Nobeltec by phone (copy protection you know, they can''t be too safe), so I dialed the number and got a recorded message that they are closed on Weekends. Wow, I''m in the middle of the Bay, my software that got me here is corrupted and Nobletec says call back on Monday and we will give you the password to reload the program. No way. I reloaded 4.1 and sent 6.5 back for a refund. People are trusting their lives to this application and have no way to reload the program in case of an emergency. Don''t buy it!
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 11-20-2002
DB1 DB1 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
DB1 is on a distinguished road
charting software

Gordo:
Too bad. Your experience was completely avoidable. The program displays all the old raster charts you used in v4.1. The new images of vector and 3D are certainly an additional charge but offer whole new chart formats that have clear advantages.
There are over 100 new features in 6.5 that vastly improve the program beyond the old v4.1. Great route planning, quilting, better GPS connectivity, crystal view and so many more.
You mention crashes. and reloading. You have idnetified the very reason this is and all nav software is no more than an AIDE to navigation. It is never the thing prudent mariners "trusts their lives to." The Windows O/S is what it is. You can always reinstall the program but that is rarely nessary. Crashes are very rare in VNS and reflectn an O/S problem most of the time.
The site key issue was hardly a real life or death problem. The program will run for thirty days with out a site key! And you can always log on to the Web and get a site key 24/7! They even issue you three site keys to cover all of your PC''s. The tech support call ia a last resort.
Your last sentence is bad advice. VNS is easily the most popular Nav software on the market. It has won the NMEA award for best product two years in a row now. I''m sure your experience could be addressed given the right time and opportunity.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 11-26-2002
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 5
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
dewittcap is on a distinguished road
charting software

Gordo, etc

If you have the room, a built-in computer (like Argonaut with an Ocean PC {now Argonaut} screen) is the way to go. No problem with dropping it or getting it wet. Nobeltec is far superior to the others, stability has never been an issue, and the vector charts are worth the price of entry.
Si-Tex isn''t much of a radar compared to Raymarine, but its the only one that permits radar overlay with Nobeltec. The Raymarine radar overlay with MARPA, etc. unfortunately only works with Raymarine 4.0 & now 4.1 software, using seatalk (much faster than NEMA 0183). In talking with Raymarine, no plans to interface with other people''s programs. Good luck.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sea Clear II software sailnaway General Discussion (sailing related) 8 11-19-2011 11:05 PM
Racing Navigation Software A30 Racing 0 11-18-2003 01:52 AM
Electronic charting without a serial port... WHOOSH Gear & Maintenance 21 04-21-2003 06:02 PM
Advice/Opinions Nav. Software Mrs Mutiny Gear & Maintenance 10 06-18-2002 02:48 PM
Charting Software thomsonjd Gear & Maintenance 1 01-06-2002 03:49 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:19 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.