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post #1 of 11 Old 10-26-2011 Thread Starter
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navigational software/mac book pro

Hi all, I have recently purchased a mac book and have been looking into navigational software. Its a bit confusing to me, with all the different companies out there and what not. I was wondering how many people actually use their laptops for navigation and which software programs are the most user friendly. i was looking at the mac ENC, but i didn't get very far because I guess, you need multiple programs running over each other...Such as Fugawi and mac ENC. If anyone could put it in a nutshell for me, it would be much appreciated! I would really like to study the charts of where I intend to go, before I actually go... Thanks in advance for any and all input Sean
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-26-2011
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Not sure why you would need multiple programs.

Have you checked out opencpn.org? Free.

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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I don' think opencpn works on a mac. I have the free trial versions of GPSNavX and MacENC on my Macbook Pro and use them for planning purposes.

MacENC supports raster (available free from NOAA) or vector charts which you'd have to purchase from someplace like Figawi. GPSNavX only supports raster, but is much less expensive to buy than MacENC.

I've not pulled the trigger on GPSNavX because I'm satisfied with raster charts, but MacENC has some features I'd like to have that GPSNavX doesn't.

I've considered buying a cheap netbook just to keep on the boat and running opencpn, since I could buy the netbook for not much more than the MacENC software. I just don't know if opencpn is comparable to MacENC.

It would have been really handy when we did the Governor's Cup race to have had a larger screen plotter with own ship position. I manually entered our lat/long as waypoints through out the race but that took a bit of effort. I'd also like to integrate a low cost AIS reciever to help inform our planning to deal with commercial shipping.

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post #4 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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Not Mac-specific but these threads might be helpful:

Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

Laptop GPS

Someone in the second thread reported being able to run Polar Navy on his Mac.

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post #5 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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I have both opencpn and MacEnc on my mac...both work well, but for - IMHO, different things. Cost was not an issue, as much as functionality, ease of updates and ease of importing charts. I will never go back to purchased cartography/chips now that the charts are available so easily.

Only you can tell which suite or product works best for your needs...I still use a binnacle mounted GPS/Chartplotter and would not venture out without it. There are just too many times when the laptop (either persuasion) is not near, the weather is so bad you can not see the laptop, or you just don't have enough hands to do everything. Some are using iPads exclusively and are very happy with them, can even put them in sleeves to seal out the weather...

Whichever suite you go with, make sure you know it well enough to allow your head to be up and looking around whilst you sail.....

All the best
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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I use Offshore Navigator Lite from Maptech on my laptop for planning, then paper charts for sailing. All my sailing is Dead Reckoning within sight of land features or buoys to locate my position.

If I ever go offshore (maybe someday) there may be a need for something more complex, but I can wait until there is a need.

I mostly use the laptop on the boat for weather information when near wifi.

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post #7 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanflinn5000 View Post
Hi all, I have recently purchased a mac book and have been looking into navigational software. Its a bit confusing to me, with all the different companies out there and what not. I was wondering how many people actually use their laptops for navigation and which software programs are the most user friendly. i was looking at the mac ENC, but i didn't get very far because I guess, you need multiple programs running over each other...Such as Fugawi and mac ENC. If anyone could put it in a nutshell for me, it would be much appreciated! I would really like to study the charts of where I intend to go, before I actually go... Thanks in advance for any and all input Sean
Where do you sail? For planning and studying beforehand I'd start with a MapTech Chart Kit of the area if they cover your area. West Marine carries all of their products. They are reasonably priced and come (at least they use to) with electronic versions of the charts and software to use with it.

As a second step, I'd get a handheld GPS (Garmin pretty has the market cornered in the handheld arena) with the preloaded charts. IMHO that is the best value.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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I use MacENC.
I use it as an 'integration' program for AIS, Grib Files (Weather), Radar, etc. as well as 'vector/raster chart navigation'.

MacENC uses S57 vector charting which for USA usage can be downloaded FREE from the NOAA website PLUS NOAA 'raster' charts, also FREE download from NOAA.

I use MacENC exclusively as my 'primary' NAV tools, no need to run 'clunky' windows based software on a MAC. ... I do use a Garmin Charplotter for USA and Bahamian, etc. waters because they are preloaded with 'explorer' charting.
The probable BEST compendium of MACINTOSH based navigation, etc. solutions is found on Forum Index - MacSailing.net - Powered by FusionBB .... includes discussion and 'tricks', etc. for MacENC on a separate sub-forum at that website.
For GPS connectivity I use a 'puck-type' GPS integrated directly to my MAC. Amazon.com: GlobalSat BU-353 Waterproof USB GPS Receiver: GPS & Navigation


WEATHER/WEFAX/NAVTEX:
I also use MULTIMODE-lite-OSX for direct WeFax download. SSB (or direct shortwave HF) -->Mac with MM-lite. If you have HAM, etc. you can direct control your HF with the 'standard version' of MultiMode .....
MultiMode program page: MultiMode - CW RTTY SSTV FAX MORSE PSK31 ACARS SITOR AMTOR ALE DTMF FFT ASCII Decoding Software for the Macintosh
MultiMode download page: MultiMode Download

Only other advice I can give for an onboard MAC ..... keep it 'lit' as much as possible to prevent 'internal condensation' of microscopic 'salt crystals' --- applies to all non-marinized PCs; otherwise store in sealed plastic bag.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd3pc View Post
I have both opencpn and MacEnc on my mac...both work well, but for - IMHO, different things. Cost was not an issue, as much as functionality, ease of updates and ease of importing charts. I will never go back to purchased cartography/chips now that the charts are available so easily.
Could you share what functions you find each product does best?

I stand corrected on opencpn on a Mac. I remember now I tried to download it but never got it to install properly.

I didn't know you could get vector charts free from NOAA. I thought it was only raster charts.

I agree its great to be able to download current charts when you want and even better when they're free.

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post #10 of 11 Old 10-27-2011
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Kinda hard to imagine why no one has even mentioned Polar View for Mac. It's a native Mac app, has full vector and raster support, is completely free for 30 days (and then is only $49 for 5 computers). And of course, fully integrates with ActiveCaptain.

As a minimum, download it and try it.
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