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post #11 of 23 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

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Their website has screen shots. Did you have specific questions?

The software isn't free. It costs $40 (one time charge) to connect to the GPS and for use on up to five machines and I considered it worth the money. Route planning can be done without paying. OpenCPN will run concurrently with Polar Navy should you feel the need to do that. I did it to see which I found easier to use while underway.
Hmmm... My question was really too open-ended...

When you set up a route, can you click and drag way points to alter it? Easily save it and name it?
Is the import and storage of NOAA charts really seamless?

Price, at the sub-hundred $ point, is not the main issue for me. Ease of use is the more important factor.
FWIW, I have done several deliveries on boats with Nobeltec. Way too many "bells n whistles" for me (and the skppper, too...). And then there's the $600. Yikes.

BTW, interesting to see the comments on OpenCPN expressed here.

Thanks again,
Loren
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

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The main advantage to a chartplotter in my opinion, is that it draws less power from the batteries.
Good point.

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Since I use the laptop for multiple purposes, it seems redundant to have a stand alone chartplotter. (I do have a handheld gps)
Our redundancy is in the paper charts although this year we may experiment with some of the nav apps for iPhone. I also download the Coast Pilot, light list, nav rules, etc, onto it.

I just ordered a new netbook from Verizon (whence the $99 cost on the last one) and this one is also a wifi hotspot so that will be handy at anchor or in the slip.

Donna


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post #13 of 23 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

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When you set up a route, can you click and drag way points to alter it? Easily save it and name it?
Is the import and storage of NOAA charts really seamless?
Yes to all those questions.

You can save the NOAA charts to whatever location you choose and just point PN to them. When you download updated charts into that folder the new charts are loaded onto PN the next time you open it.

I have a folder called Saved Routes. I do my route planning on a 17-inch laptop and copy the saved routes onto the netbook. It's also easy to change the routes on the fly as we've had to do.

What I couldn't seem to get OpenCPN to do (and maybe it does but I considered a half hour too long to have to figure it out) is seamlessly go to the next chart if my boat moved from one to the other. I never had to think about that with PN, it just does it as long as that chart is in the directory.

It also has an anchor alarm and MOB alarm. We used the anchor alarm once and it seemed to work fine.

Donna


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post #14 of 23 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

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We've used Polar Navy on a $99 netbook successfully for years. When it rains the netbook sits on the end of the galley counter, otherwise it's in the cockpit.

No issues thus far and no plans to spend 10X more on a chartplotter (which has a smaller screen) until we decide to head offshore and out of sight of land. Even then I'm not totally convinced it's an absolute must but I'll see at that point.

Have also tried SeaClear (clunky and temperamental and no longer supported) and OpenCPN (OK). I found Polar Navy the easiest to use and it has the same features as OpenCPN.
I've used OpenCPN for several years, but after looking at Polar Navy I think I'll have to give it a try. Looks nice.

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post #15 of 23 Old 03-19-2012
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Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

I use an iPad with a gps bluetooth puck. Bought a clip in holder that clamps to the rail on my binnacle and securely holds the iPad. Also have a dc plug at the helm for charging. Protection via Bimini and dodger. For software I use charts and tides (us gulf) and iSailGps.
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

I use PolarNav on my Macbook Pro to plot courses, research routes, anchorages, etc. While underway I use a chart plotter mounted in the cockpit, particularly useful when in tight quarters, along the ICW, finding buoys in the fog, etc. It is nice to have the chart plotter to forecast and verify what I am seeing around me. My laptop battery doesn't last long enough to navigate with underway, computer is not weather proof so I leave it below out of harms way.

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post #17 of 23 Old 03-21-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

I have used PolarNavy, OpenCPN, and SeaClear for the past several years. I load up an old laptop with whatever linux distribution dejour and away we go. Last year I went from a puck to a Garmin gps designed for the trucking industry ($180) and interfaced it to my TackTik system. My criteria is the system must do AIS and ENC charts. SeaClear is long gone and I don't know if it does AIS, but I don't understand the grief it takes here on this thread. Worked great when emulated under linux using Wine, much more robust, faster, and quite simple. These are all backed up with Navionics on the Android.

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post #18 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

We have a chartplotter, but use an iPad in a waterproof case and the Charts and Tides app for backup. Last season alone, the iPad became primary twice, as the plotter dumped on me. There are more functional nav apps if it really was going to be primary, but we like the above app for its offline ActiveCaptain cruising database. Try AC and you'll never cruise again without it.

Having both aboard, the iPad is much easier to handle than the clunky laptop.


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post #19 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

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... but we like the above app for its offline ActiveCaptain cruising database. Try AC and you'll never cruise again without it.
Having both aboard, the iPad is much easier to handle than the clunky laptop.
Agree about Active Captain. It is a great resource. It overlays the chart in Polar Navy but I'm on the fence about that. Opening a review only gives you the stars, not the detailed information and the details are more useful to me as they usually contain helpful navigation information. I may continue to use it as a separate web page instead of bringing it onto the chart as the icons can be distracting.

Yesterday I received my new netbook ($119 through Verizon with a 2-year contract). I see that it has a built-in GPS. I'm curious to see if that will allow us to eliminate the external GPS.

The netbook is small, so clunky isn't an issue. I do like that it can stand on it's own.

Someday I'll buy an iPad and give that a try.

Donna


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post #20 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Chart Plotter vs Software + Laptop or iPad???

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Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
Agree about Active Captain. It is a great resource. It overlays the chart in Polar Navy but I'm on the fence about that. Opening a review only gives you the stars, not the detailed information and the details are more useful to me as they usually contain helpful navigation information. I may continue to use it as a separate web page instead of bringing it onto the chart as the icons can be distracting........
All posted reviews, phone numbers, controlling depths, services available, frequencies, etc, etc are available in Charts and Tides. All offline too. No need for wifi or 3G connection. Just update periodically when they are available.


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