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thomasward00 09-09-2011 02:11 AM

Free or low cost GPS navigation software?
 
I'm looking for the best freeware or low cost marine GPS navigation software, hopefully something that will show a depth chart, I will be purchasing a USB GPS Receiver.

Thanks in advance

TQA 09-09-2011 10:56 AM

Errr if you are planning to navigate using some kind of onscreen electronic chart and rely on the depths displayed there here is a note of caution heard from the owner of a boat in a boatyard waiting for the damage surveyor to arrive.

"Well the chart plotter showed us in 42 feet of water when we went aground on the reef. "

Rely on a working depth sounder and set the alarm!

BarryL 09-09-2011 12:15 PM

Hey,

I can't comment on whether it's the 'best' or not, but Seaclear is free and seems to work well. It's not the easiest program to get started with, loading charts can be difficult at first, but it (and the charts) is free, it's very fully featured, and it does work.

You can get it here:
SeaClear GPS Navigation Software

Good luck,
Barry

jrd22 09-09-2011 12:30 PM

Navionics for an Iphone. Great program, I think it's ten bucks, good backup. You shouldn't use any chartplotter as your depth sounder IMO.

justified 09-09-2011 12:31 PM

OpenCPN. I have used both Seaclear and now use OpenCPN which I find easier to use and definitely easier to set up. Try them both they use the same charts. Just as a reminder always have your paper charts on board as your primary.

Peter

VetMike 09-09-2011 07:25 PM

"Free" is usually worth what you pay. Get a good GPS (one that shows just lat/long is all you need), current paper charts (and learn how to use them) and a good depth sounder. Electronics break down, often at the worst possible time. Yes, chart programs are expensive and it also costs to keep them current. Creating the program and keeping it current is expensive and the programmer needs to be compensated. How much would a hole in your boat cost?

DRFerron 09-09-2011 08:59 PM

Look through the posts in this previous thread which addressed the same question.

Along with my paper charts, I use Polar Navy on a netbook and have not had a problem. I use the RNC charts which mirror the paper charts.

I think OpenCPN is comparable to Polar Navy as far as ease of use is concerned and they can run concurrently (for whatever reason you'd want to).

carl762 09-16-2011 08:51 PM

I, too, use Polar Navy on my netbook, with a GPS puck. It's very nice program and easy to use.

It's backup to my Garmin 441s AND my hard copy charts.

emoney 09-16-2011 09:31 PM

I'll put my vote in for OpenCPN, but also want to echo the setiment about making sure you get a real depthfinder. They can be picked up for $100.00 new. It'll be the cheapest damage-preventer you've ever bought.

DRFerron 09-16-2011 10:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TQA (Post 772142)
Errr if you are planning to navigate using some kind of onscreen electronic chart and rely on the depths displayed there here is a note of caution heard from the owner of a boat in a boatyard waiting for the damage surveyor to arrive.

"Well the chart plotter showed us in 42 feet of water when we went aground on the reef. "

Rely on a working depth sounder and set the alarm!

I keep returning to this and scratching my head. Perhaps you can help me understand the problem with the charter plotter? The NOAA RNC charts that I use mirror the paper charts. So if the paper chart says one depth, the e chart should say the same. Since the RNC charts are updated much more often (sometimes weekly), I update my paper charts using the weekly Local Notice to Mariners.

So I wonder if the owner in your example misread the chart plotter? Or, are the charts used in chart plotters different? I don't use one, I use paper and a laptop, so I'm just curious.

Thanks


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