Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-03-2013
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Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question

Greetings:

I know there have been numerous and recent threads on the topic of iStuff navigation, GPS chips, etc., so apologies if this info is available somewhere (I couldn't find it).

We are heading to the BVIs later this month and I have downloaded the Caribbean charts for Navionics app we use on our iPad2 3G - we use Navionics for tracking and for short cruises on/inside SF Bay, so I figured just spring for the Caribbean version since we're used to the application (though iNavX seems more well-liked on this forum). Our charter boat has GPS, but this will be a nice mobile version, or back up if GPS fails.

I understand the 3G has the GPS chip. My question is whether the iPad can receive GPS satellite signals for accurate positioning while WIFI and 3G are turned off.

On the water, we won't obviously have WIFI capabilities, not sure this is even relevant. But do we need to have 3G operating (i.e. NOT in Airplane Mode) in order to get a proper fix? Or can the device work with the satellites and not the 3G towers?

I'm prepared to purchase a Garmin Glo or similar device that works with the iPad, but don't want to unnecessarily if the iPad's GPS will do the trick. I'm also not clear on whether we'll be hit with $$ 3G data roaming charges if the iPad is using those signals for positioning, and obviously want to avoid it.

Lastly, will Navionics require some signal to have the chart information available at all zoom levels, or does it remain on the device once it's been accessed? I understand tide/weather/ data offered by this program will require 3G or Wifi to access.

Any information would be helpful, and for those of you who've been to the BVIs in recent months who have other relevant findings on the general topic, by all means share!

Cheers,

Neal
Tartan 4100 - SF Bay
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Old 05-03-2013
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Re: Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question

The GPS comes with the 3G model, but is a separate system. You don't need to be within cell range or have a data plan for the GPS to work.

I believe once you have downloaded the charts they are stored locally on the iPad, so again no connection is needed.

Have a great trip!
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Old 05-03-2013
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Re: Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question

I have an iPad 3 and it has a built in GPS receiver. It works very well as a chart plotter and is bang on accurate. I'm using the Garmin App and associate charts but I'm sure the Navionics system will be just as good. At times I like it a lot more than my chart plotter because it's so easy to zoom in and out.

Not all iPads have built in GPS so that part you'll have to check but you can do that by turning off your cellular connection and see if it still plots your position.

I also have Active Captain on my Garmin app which is very handy when cruising.
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Re: Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question

Wifi only IPADs have no GPS, 3G/4G IPADs do.

The ones in the IPAD work very well. The only time I have heard of needing an external bluetooth GPS is in an aviation setting and only at high altitudes with polarized windows or some other combination of events making the built in one less effective.

Most of my sailing is in and out of San Diego, which I know well and is easy the iSailorgps app was cheap and works for me within the U.S.
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question

Neal,, I will be down in the BVI May 11-18th. Look for 4 crazy women on a Lagoon 42. I will have my IPAD with the Garmin app.
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Re: Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question

All correct above. If you have the built in GPS, it will work with the 3G and wifi signals disabled in Settings. There are aviation apps that require you to do so, as the continuous search for a signal will kill the battery.

The only advantage of either signal is the time it takes to lock on to your initial position. If the device already knows what general area of the planet it's in, it knows exactly which satellites to look for. Otherwise, that first fix takes a minute or so, but has zero impact on functionality after that. No big deal.

Probably worth mentioning that there is absolutely no need for GPS to navigate in the BVI. Always line of sight down there. However, I used Garmin's app when down there in the winter. I never bothered with a route, but its nice to quickly determine distance to a harbor when enroute to estimate time of arrival. That can be helpful to decide on eating ashore or aboard, stop to snorkel, get there in time for a mooring ball, etc, without having to pull a chart and dividers.
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Re: Navionics for BVIs with iPad 3G Question

Thanks everyone - Melissa, we'll be getting there on 5/18, so will miss you, but perhaps people will still be talking about the 4 crazy women well after your trip ;-)

Minnewaska, indeed, figured we wouldn't need it to truly navigate - I'd likely use it to track as well as for soundings info like getting to the north side of Prickley Pear to anchor, where we want to anchor at some point...and for distances, e.t.a., as you suggest...
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