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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-13-2016 07:00 AM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

Originally Posted by tap View Post
You probably tried to downloaded it from softpedia or one of the other scam sites instead of from opencpn's site.
I'd like to mention that CNET became a scam site a few years ago, after being a reliable site for quite awhile. They now download "helper" or "download manager" malware before what you are looking for. Greed!

I've never had a bad experience with softpedia. Of course, you must make sure you are not clicking the advertisement buttons which show up aggressively. But the mirrors that softpedia links to have always been safe for me.

It has become my "go to site".
03-02-2016 10:49 AM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

I've started running MX Mariner on my Andriod Phone (Samsung Galaxy 5 S) and like it a lot. It has most (all?) of the functionality of my Garmin GPSmap 478, AND loads the latest NOAA, and UK Raster Charts for free, AND incorporates the ActiveCaptain database of POIs (sync's with the latest from your account), yet costs $6.99 per license.
03-02-2016 06:43 AM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

I use openCPN on a mac I have no problem downloading NOAA charts I like using it to plot my course. But once I get past Bermuda it's all blue screen until I'm like a half a day out of Culebra. Does anybody know of mac friendly charts for it that covers Bermuda the Caribbean, South and Central American coasts?
03-01-2016 11:55 PM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

Shouldn't we all have a sextant, the nautical almanac, and chronometer on board? And electronic depth sounders sometimes give false readings, so how about a lead-line instead. As for speed and distance, the only sure way to tell is with a taffrail log. Forget radar, just put one of the lads up in the crows nest to peer out into the distance and yell down if they see anything.

Seriously, it's clear that one must first use their eyes and then have multiple, redundant methods to check on position. Having said that, especially in familiar waters, there is nothing wrong with a current issue iPad, a good GPS of some sort (I prefer the Garmin Glo), and decent charting software. I always have a copy of paper charts down below, just in case, along with parallel rules and a compass. And of course a depth sounder, binoculars (with compass), and two other independent means of getting a GPS fix.

However, I say all this from the perspective of someone who has actually used a sextant while at sea and reduced the sight. I've even used a taffrail log to record distance. Even got college credit for doing it, along with learning all other types of navigation and aids. So maybe I'm assuming that everyone else has a similar respect and appreciation of how to navigate. If not, at the least take a course on dead reckoning before heading out with your new GPS.
03-01-2016 11:21 PM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

Originally Posted by tomperanteau View Post
OpenCPN and a USB GPS for around $30 is the way to go. Great for planning and real time.
I actually find it easier to plan with paper charts. The screens on chart plotters are just too small to get that 10,000 foot view.

The plotter is best for answering the question "Are we there yet?"

03-01-2016 11:12 PM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

I like OpenCPN and have it on my laptop. However, I want something more permanent. I'm thinking of installing a mini PC running OpenCPN that can drive two monitors, one in the cockpit and one on the chart table with the displays set clone mode. Pair that with a Vesper Marine XB-8000 that not only does GPS and AIS, but can also act as a wireless NMEA gateway to feed your other instruments into the PC.

The idea is that even if the PC running OpenCPN fails, the Vesper can supply NMEA data to an iPhone, or other tablet as a backup running another copy of OpenCPN, Navionics, or whatever.

Note that while the software is free, this isn't a free solution. The Vesper runs about $800 and a mini PC with a couple of marine grade monitors is about $3000. I'd probably end up spending about $5000 on this system, but I believe it would be a better setup than an all in one chart plotter solution. However, if you are budget minded, you can do the entire solution on an iPad with a built-in GPS chip (4G model). Just be careful when using it to pilot in a harbor as the built-in GPS units are of undefined accuracy.

03-01-2016 10:33 PM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

Originally Posted by TQA View Post
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!
This is not bad advice, but it really depends on where you are sailing. If you are well off the beaten path, even the paper charts are suspect.

As for cheap nav, we have moved from a fancy chart plotter to in iPad with SEAiq that allows us to use government charts (same as the big ships nav stations on an iPad). Some of the charts are free, others cheap (others costly).

Boat for sale ad removed per forum rules- Jeff_H SailNet moderator
11-14-2015 12:58 PM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
I think he's talking about the navigation software license. At least, that's how I read it in the Polar Navy thread where the same message was posted.
U R correct, Donna.
11-14-2015 08:21 AM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?


We have a Garmin 4210 on Southern Comfort which works well, but I prefer a free software program, OpenCPN 4.0 for navigating. When you are in a narrow, twisting, poorly marked channel, it is comforting to have one person drive as another studies the boat's position and assists. OpenCPN has better resolution than the Garmin, is terrific for trip planning, and has better features.

I have a 7 year old ACER netbook (Windows), a USB GPS puck, and an inexpensive mouse which I use to run OpenCPN. The charts are free from NOAA and updated regularly.

OpenCPN 4.0
Download OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage (link is external)

Nautical Charts & Pubs (link is external)
10-09-2015 12:23 PM
Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?

I think he's talking about the navigation software license. At least, that's how I read it in the Polar Navy thread where the same message was posted.
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