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Having just purchased an IPAD 3 with no data plan, my intent is to use the ipad as a back up to my existing hard/soft copy charts. Looking at the various software programs for the ipad. Does anyone have a preference, with more pros than cons? Navionics & Max Sea seem reasonable.

S/V SACHEM
 

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I have both Navionics and Garmin. Very different look and feel. Garmin includes Active Captain, but is not intuitive to me.
 

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Sachem,

If you look through the threads listed at the bottom of the page in the Similar Threads box, you'll find some other opinions on the iPad apps.
 

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I use the earthNC app. The GPS function on your ipad should work just fine while under way. You will most likely have to download the maps from the server before you head off, but that is pretty quick and easy in app. I highly recommend it.


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I have Charts & Tides, which is not robust in features, but is a good intuitive low cost backup. Also includes Active Captain data, which you can update periodically when accessible to wifi.

I also have Garmin, but find it much more difficult to use. It's like they tried too hard. I only got it, as C&T didn't have Caribbean charts. The entire east coast on C&T was $25 or so.
 

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On my various boats through the years I've used Garmin, Humminbird, Lowrance and tablets/apps such as iPad or Android with Navionics, among other navigation solutions.

I agree with jsaronson that the Garmin is not intuitive.
Your idea of the iPad+Navionics App as a backup navigation system is great! I used this setup (except on Android tablet) and it was extremely useful! The GPS works great while under way. We just made sure to download the maps that we would need while we still had Wifi. The community edits let us add to the map as we traveled (similar to active captain but more intuitive than the Garmin integration). We used the Navionics web app here to plan and play around with maps before we downloaded them to the tablet.
Here's a look at our cruising grounds on the webapp:
 

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I use the IPad apps for route planing only, with the waypoint route info transferred to the on board nav unit before departure.

My main use case is entry of courses from racing instructions ... several routes made up of different combinations of the same set of waypoints (dropped at government marks).

I found Garmin Blue Chart Mobile highly frustrating to the point that I abandoned it. One can not build routes from an existing set of waypoints, always must be done from the chart, is not possible from a pick list of waypoints. IMO very poor waypoint/route management. Too much eye candy while not delivering on reasonable functionality. And all this feedback was provided to Garmin, I have yet to see any of it incorporated.

iSailGPS is my current selection, though exporting routes to GPX is a pain in that you have to manually select each route you want exported.

I'm seriously considering buying a Mixx8 and loading OpenCPN.
 
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