electronic charting software

Navionics Boating App Updated With U.S. Govt. Charts, New Features

Navionics Boating App Updated With U.S. Govt. Charts, New Features

The "About" screen of Navionics newly released Navionics Boating app, showing version 7.0.

The “About” screen of Navionics newly released Navionics Boating app, showing version 7.0.

Do you have an iPad (with GPS) or iPhone on the boat with you?  Okay, then, no excuses:  Download the latest Navionics Boating app update from the App Store, now standard with access to the free U.S. electronic navigation charts (ENC) from NOAA.  There.  You’re not lost anymore.  You’re welcome (from Navionics, anyway).

Now, a little more objectively. . .Navionics today released the latest version (7.0) of its free app, Navionics Boating, which now includes integration with free U.S. government-produced charts for U.S. coastal and navigable waterways, plus additional shorelines of major lakes and rivers from other public sources.

NOAA ENC Charts Included

This means that the Navionics Boating app is immediately suitable for direct navigation in these waters.  NOAA ENCs are vector charts, which means they scale up and down in a completely readable way, and they conform to the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) S-57 standard for electronic charts.

Navionics Boating app showing a NOAA ENC chart for Long Island Sound.

Navionics Boating app showing a NOAA ENC chart for Long Island Sound.

They include all the primary navigation data you need — depths, buoys, beacons, harzards, channel markers and more.  Of course, you can also purchase full-featured Navionics charts with enhanced detail and features such as newly improved dynamic tide and current information and displays.  The chart on the right here of the north shore of Long Island is a NOAA ENC.

You can see the little blue circle at the lower left labeled “GOVT” which means I’m using a NOAA chart.  If you click on that you can opt for a Navionics chart instead, or load one of the cool, crowd-sourced SonarCharts.  Also visible in that screen capture is the classic “navigate” button at lowest left, camera and search buttons to upper left, zoom buttons at upper right and a distance measuring tool at bottom right.

Enhanced Features

The updated app includes several enhanced features:

  • Tracking — The Navionics Boating app uses GPS to measure and record performance data.  Speed, Trip Time, Course Over Ground, Distance and more are all displayed in a new Tracking Console.  Boaters can pause, playback and review a track, and share details with others.
  • Expanded Routing — Planning and route creation are also free with the Navionics Boating app.  Boaters can measure distances, mark waypoints, create simple routes and save data across mobile devices.  The company says wind forecasts include 3-day projections, as well.  The app includes a free trial version of a Nav Module ($4.99) that includes Estimated Time of Arrival, Distance to Arrival and more.
  • Sharing — App users can share memories of their trips with family and friends via Facebook, Twitter and email.  Using a camera function within the app, photos and videos are automatically geo-tagged while recording a trip.  Other images, such as tracking screens and stats can be shared, too.
The Navionics Boating app showing one of the menu options with the various in-app purchases available.

The Navionics Boating app showing one of the menu options with the various in-app purchases available.

Integration with On-board Electronics

As of the most previous update, v6.0, early this year, Navionics Boating includes Plotter Sync, a new feature that allows on-board electronics to connect to Navionics servers on the Internet for uploading data and downloading new charts or updates.

The company says owners of Raymarine Wi-Fi-enabled plotters — just the first of Navionics’ manufacturer partners compatible with this technology — can now use Navionics Boating as a bridge for this connection, eliminating the need to remove a memory card from the plotter to update it.  The App will sync with the chartplotter and provide the update directly.

This is especially cool when users upload and share with Navionics their fishfinder’s recorded sonar tracks, allowing the company to verify and integrate the information in to SonarCharts™ — a new high-definition bathymetry maps that reflects the ever-changing conditions boaters experience in the real world.

Updating Advice

I checked out the new version on my iPad and it’s a big change.  The inclusion of NOAA ENCs makes a HUGE difference in out-of-the-box usability.  If you’re in need of the more detailed and feature-laden Navionics charts, by all means buy them.  They’re not that expensive for most areas (at least compared to what we used to spend for charts and updates) and you won’t regret the purchase.  But for starters, the NOAA ENCs will get you going and keep you safe.  When I fired up my iPad, it didn’t offer me the app update when I went to the App Store, so I deleted the version I had (6.0.3 – the April update) and then downloaded the app again and it was the 7.0 version.  I imagine the updating will be automatic and more smooth over the next couple of days (it could also conceivably have been my own iPad’s sometimes flaky relationship with my router).  If your older version doesn’t seem to be updating, just delete it and download it anew from the App Store (assuming you don’t have any data saved that you need).

Then, when you start it up, after you acknowledge the EULA and settle on a chart area, you can download the NOAA ENC for that area for free.  I downloaded the chart for New England and it was about 68 MB, which downloaded over my Wi-Fi in about 1 minute.  Beautiful and ready to navigate.  You can see “me” in the screen capture up above, standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking Long Island Sound.  I will actually need to board the boat to navigate from here, but the readers come first!

Android Version Coming Soon

Navionics says an Android version of the updated app will be out soon, with features similar to those in the iOS version rolling out throughout the year.  You will find that version in the Google Play store; we’ll advise when it’s released.

Copyright © 2014 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

 

Posted by Tom in Electronics, GPS, Marine Electronics, Navigation, seamanship, Sonar, Technology
Argonaut Offers Android-Powered Smart MFD

Argonaut Offers Android-Powered Smart MFD

Love all those Android apps but wish there was a more integrated way to use them at the helm?  Argonaut Computer last week announced the A615 smart multifunction display (MFD) — a fully marinized Android MFD with built-in GPS and lots of delicious inputs to take advantage of all the other data sources on your boat.

The A615 Android-Powered Smart MFD from Argonaut Computer.  Image courtesy of Argonaut Computer.

The A615 Android-Powered Smart MFD from Argonaut Computer. Image courtesy of Argonaut Computer.

The A615 — a 15-inch, waterproof, sunlight-viewable unit — is also directly web-connected via its own WiFi connection, so if you are docked or have Internet access while underway, you can access live data for your apps beyond just the GPS.  Here’s a quick rundown of the specs:

  • Built In Android Processing For Web, Apps
  • Powerful Navigation App With U.S. Charts
  • Weather Monitoring with Live Radar Plot
  • Full Featured AIS App with Alerts/Status
  • On Dash Access To Over 875,000 Apps
  • Built In 2.4G WiFi Network Send/receive
  • Multiple Input/Output Signal Connectors
  • Tflex 15” Bonded Sunlight View LED
  • Precision Lock TouchPad User Control
  • Unmatched Low Power Consumption
  • Includes 48 Channel GPS Receiver
  • Shock Isolated Design, 360 Waterproof
  • Industry Leading Three Mounting Options
  • Comprehensive Two Year Warranty

The A615 is not cheap.  MSRP is $2,999, which seems like a lot until you consider that this is not just a monitor, but a fully-powered MFD, with its own Wi-Fi, GPS and waterproof, marinized construction.  That makes it on a par, cost-wise, with other stand-alone marine MFDs.  One tremendous advantage is that you can load it up with free and low-cost apps that, in many cases, are as capable as their PC- and MAC OS-based sister products.

The A615 can also be mounted in a number of different ways — surface mount it like any other fixed helm display; in an optional U-bracket, or an optional RAM arm mount.

Here’s a LINK to the detailed specs for the A615.

This is a product to consider if you’re building a new helm or looking to update one and you need a lot of bang for your buck.  It’s a great way to build in functional redundancy in your helm, or even as the centerpiece of your helm.

Copyright © 2014 by Oceanlines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, GPS, Marine Electronics, Navigation, Radar, seamanship, Technology
Navionics at Center of ICW Magenta Line Renovation

Navionics at Center of ICW Magenta Line Renovation

Last year, NOAA’s Coastal Survey Office announced that it planned to discontinue the so-called “magenta line” on charts of the IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW) because the line placement was based on data that, in some cases, hadn’t been updated since the original charts were produced in the early 20th century.  Well, that generated quite a storm of response from the user community but that response turned into something much more substantial and positive — a commitment by some companies and from boaters themselves to help get the data updated themselves.  Navionics, known for its comprehensive charts of nearly all the navigable waterways, lakes and coastal areas visited by recreational boats, decided to employ some of its latest crowdsource-supported technology to assist in the effort.

An example of the "magenta line" on a chart of the ICW.  Image courtesy of Navionics.

An example of the “magenta line” on a chart of the ICW. Image courtesy of Navionics.

Navionics is at now at the center of the NOAA Office of Coastal Survey’s efforts to reestablish an accurate magenta line on IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW) charts.  The Navionics effort involves updating the charting data on its “Freshest Data” servers with information generated by boaters who upload sonar logs and who submit edits to charts using the Edit Map function on their Navionics mobile application.  Given that there are more than 1.5 million users of the mobile apps, Don Black, global vice president of sales and marketing for Navionics, says, “We are able to deliver invaluable enhancements to charting data at an unmatched pace.”

Crowdsourcing (have you noticed how German the American English is becoming, just combining words into compound words?) is one of the hottest developments in the online world today.  The technology of “connectedness” makes it possible for users to now share local data and build profoundly more accurate databases of information.  In the marine charting world, that translates to the possibility of much safer local navigation, offsetting many years of neglect from government hydrographers who had higher priorities and insufficient budgets.

If you’re a user of the ICW and you would like to participate, get onboard with the Navionics Boating APP and get your local sonar logs and information uploaded to Navionics.  You may also contact NOAA’s Coastal Survey Office directly with input and comments. Use the link above to see how.

Copyright © 2014 by Oceanlines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Depthfinders, Electronics, Marine Electronics, Navigation, seamanship, Sonar, Technology
Marine Navigation on Android Arrives in Style

Marine Navigation on Android Arrives in Style

Well, it’s not that you couldn’t do it before, but now you can do it with Plan2Nav, a world-class app, C-MAP charts by Jeppesen, and seamless integration of critical cruising data from ActiveCaptain.  That’s the upshot of the release of Plan2Nav from Jeppesen this week.  The app is available for free from the Android Store and from “the iTunes,” as Sheldon’s Mom would say.  Obviously, if you’re gonna run it on Android, you’ll get it from the former, probably through Google Play.

Plan2Nav Marine Navigation App for Android

Plan2Nav using C-MAP charts by Jeppesen power your Android marine navigation. Image courtesy of Jeppesen.

Once you’ve got the app, you buy a chart region — and they’re truly reasonably priced — and start navigating.  Here are the details from Jeppesen:

Depending on coverage area, charts for Plan2Nav begin at $19.99 (USD) and unlock a variety of powerful features, including:

  •         Detailed harbor charts with Jeppesen’s exclusive C-Marina Port Database, marina diagrams and aerial images
  •         Dynamic Tides and Current Predictions for added safety, better fishing and more efficient cruising
  •         Detailed depth and land elevation data for a more informative, realistic chart presentation
  •         Charts that can be viewed in 2D or Jeppesen’s unique Perspective View format
  •         Accurate, up-to-date NavAid positions for safer navigation

Plan2Nav operates in north-up or course-up orientation for fully rotating visualization, while its compass rose display provides an at-a-glance graphic presentation of your current heading. Speed Over Ground, Course Over Ground, Estimated Time of Arrival and Time To Go data help you stay on top of every voyage.

Plan2Nav Screen Capture on Android Device

Here’s a Screen Cap of one of my local striper haunts, the Shinnecock Canal on the south shore of Long Island. Plan2Nav with C-MAP charts by Jeppesen. Image courtesy of Jeppesen.

One of the best things about this app is that it allows you to access the huge ActiveCaptain database of local information — crowd-sourced and verified.  This means you have the best official information complemented by the best real-world updates.  Did a shoal hazard develop in that inlet?  Has a local buoy moved?  Is there an especially hazardous current running in this inlet?  That’s the kind of critical stuff you get when you add ActiveCaptain to your navigation solution.  It’s available offline and gets updated when you are online.  Use it.  You are safer.  Period.

 

Jeppesen's New Plan2Nav Android App.

Jeppesen’s New Plan2Nav Android App. All images courtesy of Jeppesen.

Try the app and let us know in the comments what you think.  I’ll test it on my Samsung Galaxy SIII next week at the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show in Rockland, where I hope to spend some time aboard THIS gorgeous vessel!

Copyright © 2013 by OceanLines, a publication of OceanLines, LLC.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, seamanship, Technology

Northport Systems Announces Fugawi Marine 5

New Fugawi Marine5 Screenshot

New Fugawi Marine5 Screenshot

Northport Systems announced that its newest marine navigation software, Fugawi Marine 5, will be available at the end of March for new purchase and upgrade from Fugawi Marine ENC. According to the company, Fugawi Marine 5 takes advantage of the latest Windows technology, including a touch-screen control optimized for use with Win 7 and 8 tablets.

New Fugawi Marine5 Screenshot

New Fugawi Marine5 Screenshot

Northport Systems said the new software includes several specific new features including:

  • Marine Touch™ — touch-screen control optimized for use with Win 7 and 8 touchscreen tablets.
  • ClearChart™ — “ultra fast, smooth and brilliantly clear chart presentation.”
  • SurePlanner™ — “simple, intuitive and efficient route and waypoint planning.”
  • ClearDash — “instrument display for sophisticated and versatile instrumentation that integrates with the Actisense NGT-1 NMEA 2000® gateway or stand-alone instruments via NMEA 0183.”

Here’s a link to the full press release, which has lots of specific details about supported file formats, chart compatibility  and instrument display options.  It looks like a great package for cruisers using PC navigation and planning, especially since the user license explicitly allows the software to be installed on two different PCs, say one at home for planning and one aboard for navigation.

Copyright © 2012 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

 

Posted by Tom in Electronics, seamanship, Technology

Nobeltec Releases Admiral and VNS 11.1 Service Pack

Nobeltec said today it has released a free service pack update for users of the new (January 2011) version of Admiral and VNS.  The service pack offers integration with Furuno’s popular Digital Fish Finder (DFF1) Sounder, as well as a number of NMEA 2000 integration improvements.  While I don’t often simply reprint a press release, Nobeltec is a pretty straightforward company and it makes more sense to just quote it here.  I am also planning a full review of the Nobeltec TimeZero Trident software, to which I believe most boaters will eventually want to move.

Herewith the Nobeltec News:

“Nobeltec announces new hardware integration and software functionality with the service pack release of Admiral 11.1 and VNS 11.1. VNS and Admiral are optimized for safe and accurate navigation on recreational boats, commercial vessels, and mega yachts. This newest service pack adds value to Nobeltec navigation systems. One of the most significant updates to the marine navigational software is the ability to integrate with the Furuno Digital Fish Finder (DFF1) Sounder.

“Integration with the Furuno DFF1 sounder is a natural addition to our Nobeltec software suite,” Nobeltec General Manager Bill Washburn said. “We’re glad boaters can take advantage of the integration of two great products: the Furuno DFF1 Sounder and Nobeltec VNS and Admiral software.”

Improvements to NMEA 2000 integration also enhance functionality in the Admiral and VNS software. The new release supports NMEA 2000 AIS Device Priority, and the real time weather functionality has been upgraded to include Pressure, Air Temperature and Humidity inputs from NMEA 2000 sensors.

Admiral and VNS 11.1 showcase improved AIS target filtering. In the Admiral software, the service pack adds the ability to filter AIS targets based on class and both VNS and Admiral offer the option to display a target’s class (A or B).

The latest version will also, for the first time, include NV. Charts digital chart integration and support. These raster charts cover Europe, Bahamas, Cuba, and other areas in the Caribbean. The integration of NV. Charts digital charts is in addition to many other types of raster charts as well as C-MAP® MAX Pro™ vector charts already supported by VNS and Admiral.

This is the first service pack for the software since the successful release of Admiral 11 and VNS 11 in January 2011. The new release is available as a free download to customers currently running the latest version of Admiral or VNS. Customers can visit the Nobeltec website (www.nobeltec.com) to access the new service pack.”

Copyright ©2011 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Technology

New Website for C-Map by Jeppesen

New Jeppesen Light Marine Website

New Jeppesen Light Marine Website

Jeppesen, a Boeing company, said today it has launched a revamped website for its light marine business.  The new look is clean and uncluttered and looks like it will be much easier to navigate.  I’m a big fan of “white space” on websites.  It allows your eye to quickly capture the most important information, and in this case it’s the navigation links, which are all now front and center.  Kudos to Jeppesen for an improved web experience.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, seamanship, Technology
Navimatics Charts & Tides App Now Lets iPad, iPhone Update ActiveCaptain Data

Navimatics Charts & Tides App Now Lets iPad, iPhone Update ActiveCaptain Data

Image of the Navimatics Charts & Tides App Via Navimatics Website

Image of the Navimatics Charts & Tides App Via Navimatics Website

Apple has just approved the latest update of the Navimatics Charts & Tides app so that iPhone and iPad users can update ActiveCaptain data from their devices.  The update allows markets to be edited and reviews and comments to be added.  The single license works on both an iPHone and IPad at the same time, so there’s no need to buy it twice.  ActiveCaptain said this week that if you currently own Charts & Tides, it’s a free update with all new and current charts.  The big plus here is that you can update that relocated market you just discovered immediately, as long as you’re within 3G range.  Could even be a safety enhancement if you get that marker updated quickly enough that nobody else misses it.

ActiveCaptain said that Navimatics is the first developer to release an updated product with support for ActiveCaptain’s update APIs, but that other companies will be doing so with their software as well.

Our recent guest author, Christine Kling, wrote about using Navimatics Charts & Tides on her iPad in this piece.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Technology
Review: Fugawi Marine ENC Navigation Software

Review: Fugawi Marine ENC Navigation Software

Krogen 58' Delivery Route from Florida to North Carolina -- Screenshot from Fugawi Marine ENC 4.5

Krogen 58' Delivery Route from Florida to North Carolina -- Screenshot from Fugawi Marine ENC 4.5

During a recent offshore delivery of a new Krogen 58′, I had the opportunity to check out Northport System Inc.’s Fugawi Marine ENC charting and navigation software. It loaded painlessly on a new Windows 7 laptop, ran flawlessly for 3 days nonstop, and had an easy learning curve. If you’re looking for something to run on a laptop to backup your dedicated chartplotter, or for the main navigation software to run on a dedicated PC, you should consider Marine ENC for the price, competent features and ease-of-use, especially for chart management using the company’s (subscription-based) X-Traverse system.

Overview of the Software

Northport Systems’ president, Robin Martel, loaned me a copy of the latest version of Marine ENC, Version 4.5.50.* The company has a transparent and easy-to-understand process for updates and upgrades.  Whole numbers of versions are considered the “basic” product and updates all the way to the next whole number are free. Fugawi constantly releases minor updates, typically taking care of bug fixes and compatibility issues, but sometimes including feature enhancements. So, if I owned this copy of version 4.5, I would be entitled to free updates until version 5.0 came out. 

The program has a price of $279.95 directly from the company’s website, which is fairly inexpensive for this type of program. That price seems to be the norm for the other sales outlets I checked. And while you can buy Navionics charts for the program, typically for $189 per Platinum+ area, you can also use free RNC and ENC charts from NOAA. You can pick either raster or vector format for the NOAA charts and you’ll get them with all the latest information, which is a big advantage.  I downloaded a full set of East Coast (U.S.) NOAA ENCs for my test. They were easy to find and quick to download. 

Using the Program

For my evaluation, I brought Fugawi Marine ENC with me on an offshore delivery, which might not be the most difficult task for navigation software (think about running in and out of all the passes, island channels and obstructions of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific NorthWest). Nonetheless, we had some Intracoastal Waterway to navigate leaving Florida and a couple of waypoints along the offshore route to try to keep us in the core of the Gulf Stream while headed north. As we approached our destination in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, there was quite a bit of navigating to do getting in at Cape Fear and then moving over to the ICW to get to the marina.

Screen Shot of Fugawi Marine ENC Track of Fort Pierce, Florida Departure

Screen Shot of Fugawi Marine ENC Track of Fort Pierce, Florida Departure

When you first start the program, you tell it what folder your charts are stored in and the program will go and import them. In my case, it was quick and trouble-free.  I downloaded several collections of ENC charts from NOAA.  Electronic charts for U.S. waters are available from NOAA in both raster and vector format and have the advantage of always being up-to-date when you download them.  Marine ENC also supports Navionics charts, at several levels and if you use Fugawi’s X-Traverse chart subscription service you can be sure you will always have the latest available. We’ll take a more detailed look at X-Traverse in another article here on OceanLines.

Fugawi Marine ENC Supports Many GRIB (weather) File Formats

Fugawi Marine ENC Supports Many GRIB (weather) File Formats

Marine ENC is mostly intuitive to learn and use. There are the familiar text-based pulldown menus at the top of the screen, as well as a customizable series of task-based icons running along the left edge of the screen. Most common tasks can be quickly initiated by clicking on the appropriate icon. You can easily start a route track, set some new waypoints and navigate around the charts. Since I wasn’t using the software to actually navigate our Krogen 58′, I set up the program to track our route. I used a new USB-connected GPS to feed position data to the program, which recognized the device instantly. No messing with ports or USB-to-serial port translations. Had I wanted to, I could have easily fed the autopilot with steering inputs. In fact, the Marine ENC software/GPS combination I was using was more accurate than the other laptop-based system we were using for actual navigation. Nice to know.

Screen Capture of Fugawi Marine ENC Track of Arrival at Cape Fear, North Carolina

Screen Capture of Fugawi Marine ENC Track of Arrival at Cape Fear, North Carolina

Tracks, waypoints and other data are easily imported and exported and an experimental feature on my version was able to use a Google Maps overlay for yet another view of things. In fact, you could use this software for planning even if you use a dedicated chartplotter for navigation. Marine ENC will move waypoints via card or cable (as required) between Raymarine, Furuno, Simrad, Garmin and Magellan units. The first image in this story, above, is a screenshot taken of the wide-view track record of the delivery trip. It shows the dogleg we took to stay in the middle of the Gulf Stream. The program seamlessly switches charts when you cross a coverage border.

Recommendation

If you’re just getting into PC-based chartplotting, Fugawi’s Marine ENC would be a good bet, especially with a number of enhancements coming in the near future. Northport Systems’ Martel says the company is working on some major capabilities for the program, including more support for multiple manufacturers’ products aboard the boat — other radars, AIS, etc.  And although I had no trouble with the software running on a recent load of Windows 7, Martel says the next major upgrade will take better advantage of Win 7 capabilities. You are likely to see more complementary mobile apps, for systems like Symbian and Windows Mobile, in addition to the iNavX app already available for the iPhone and iPad. I think you’ll also find some interesting integration ahead with destination and local knowledge services like ActiveCaptain, although the company isn’t discussing that yet. At this price point, about half what you would have to pay for Nobeltec software, you’re not going to be disappointed with Fugawi Marine ENC. Take the free 10-day preview for a test-ride.

* (full disclosure – Fugawi is an advertiser here on OceanLines. We have an editorial policy that prohibits the practice of “trading” editorial coverage for advertising support and we are in no way obligated to positively review any Northport Systems product)

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Technology
Jeppesen Announces C-MAP Charts for Furuno NavNet 3D

Jeppesen Announces C-MAP Charts for Furuno NavNet 3D

Furuno NavNet 3D Displaying New C-MAP Charts

Furuno NavNet 3D Displaying New C-MAP Charts

Jeppesen said today that selected C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia charts are available for the Furuno NavNet 3D chartplotters. The charts come pre-installed on U.S.-based, newly purchased NavNet 3D units and the company said older NavNet 3D plotters can be updated with a free software update to be compatible with the new charts.

Jeppesen said boaters “can select from eight Wide chart regions for $300 each, including the pre-loaded WM73 (USA East Coast & Bahamas), WM74 (Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes & Rivers) and WM47 (USA West Coast & Hawaii).  Additional available Wide coverage regions include WM 72 (Canada North & East), WM48 (Canada West Coast), WM75 (Great Lakes & Maritimes), WM76 (Central America & Caribbean) and WM49 (Alaska).  Boaters can also choose from two expansive Mega Wide regions for $600:  MWM17 (Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean) and MWM18 (Pacific Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean).”

More from the Jeppesen release:

“C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia charts can easily be viewed in traditional 2D or life-like 3D presentation using Furuno’s patented TimeZero technology for a realistic and seamless navigation experience. “Boaters have long recognized Furuno’s NavNet 3D system as a revolutionary navigation tool — but one that has been unavailable until now to legions of loyal C-MAP users,” said Jeppesen Light Marine Division Director James Detar. “We’re proud of the work we’ve done with Furuno to once again bring this powerful combination of technologies to boaters and look forward to getting it into their hands,” he added.
Boaters have a couple of options to purchase new C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia charts for Furuno NavNet 3D. They can work through their local Authorized Furuno or Jeppesen dealer. Consumers can also purchase charts and unlock codes directly from Jeppesen by calling (508) 477-8010, faxing to (508) 539-4381 or emailing [email protected]

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Technology
ActiveCaptain on the iPad – Wicked Cool

ActiveCaptain on the iPad – Wicked Cool

ActiveCaptain on the iPad - Screenshot Courtesy of Jeffrey Siegel, ActiveCaptain

ActiveCaptain on the iPad - Screenshot Courtesy of Jeffrey Siegel, ActiveCaptain

I’ve been looking for a reason to have to get an iPad and I think now I’ve found it. In his latest on-the-road blog entry, Jeff Siegel of ActiveCaptain demonstrates how well the software works on the new tablet platform from Apple. Regular readers know I’m a big fan of ActiveCaptain — I use it on my Palm Centro with a Bluetooth GPS — but on the iPad it arrives at a whole new level.

As Siegel explains, ActiveCaptain will be included in an upcoming update for the Navimatics Charts and Tides software, and the app itself will work on both iPhone and iPad. He also notes that while offline, the iPad shows all of the ActiveCaptain data, and then, when Internet is available, can be re-synchronized with the live database so that you have the latest possible local information. Perfect.

He notes, as well, in a response to a reader comment, that Coastal Explorer, which ActiveCaptain now sells for a good price in its online store, will also do the synchronization. All we have to do now is get a PC maker to build a real-world tablet for us, maybe with an OLED screen and splash-proof case so we can use it on the flybridge.  And no, I cannot afford a Panasonic Toughbook. If there was some real competition for that one, maybe Panasonic would lower those prices from the stratosphere.

No, I don’t get paid by ActiveCaptain. I’m just a Believer. Go get it.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Destinations, Electronics, Industry News, Technology

ActiveCaptain Launches Major Website Upgrade

ActiveCaptain X Screen Shot Showing Marina Details in Damariscotta, Maine

ActiveCaptain X Screen Shot Showing Marina Details in Damariscotta, Maine

Jeffrey Siegel said this week that the ActiveCaptain “X” beta website, under development for the past year, is now fully launched and live, providing everything from a new user interface to NOAA charts and Microsoft Virtual Earth cartography.  The website benefits greatly from having been available in beta form for the last several months and many of the final features were suggested or enhanced through user feedback.

Here’s a rundown on the updated features, provided by Jeff Siegel:

– New interface. We have redesigned the interface to make it easier and faster for you to find information and make updates. The interface is based on a deck of cards to allow for expansion of ActiveCaptain features.

– NOAA charts. The ActiveCaptain website can now display markers on NOAA US charts making it easier to evaluate that anchorage or judge an approach.

– Microsoft cartography. ActiveCaptain now uses Microsoft Virtual Earth for the map and satellite images. We find that these images load faster and are higher quality.

– Expanded location search. A dedicated card now lets you find rivers, harbors, canals, islands – anything with a location name.

– ICW interpolation. You’re no longer limited to selecting ICW locations by NOAA’s 5-mile increments. Selecting ICW interpolation will approximate the location of any mile marker (435.6, 1072, etc).

– In-place detail updates. When you update a detail item, the data is edited right in the detail window. Submitting updates shows them right in the edited section so you know they are pending. This makes it much easier and quicker to update the data.

– Marker filtering. There’s now more control over which markers are displayed. Choose to limit your marina display to ones carrying gas, diesel, or pump out services. Turn on only certain types of local knowledge markers.

– Optional sorting. You can also choose to have fuel or slip pricing displayed with the marina list items and sort the markers based on pricing.

– Marker move/delete. Changing the location of a marker or deleting obsolete markers is now simpler. Select the More link in the marker balloon and a popup menu appears to guide you.

– Adding a new marker. It’s faster and simpler. Press and hold the mouse at the position for the new marker, select the marker type, and fill in the form.

– Permanent link. Quickly create a direct link to a location or marker in ActiveCaptain. Select More in the marker balloon, or press and hold your mouse at a location, and select Permanent link from the popup menu.
It’s easy to include the link in blogs, emails, forums, or websites.

– Hazard markers. One of the most significant additions is the new hazard marker. You can easily find problems areas, find out what cruisers are experiencing, and let others know what you’ve found.
This is especially nice for ICW migration in the Spring and Fall to alert you to the changing ICW conditions.

Siegel says ActiveCaptain gets more than 1,000 updates a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from its participants. In my opinion, there is no better place to get detailed, reliable information on everything from marina dock rates, to fuel prices, to local market knowledge.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Destinations, Industry News, Passagemaking News, People, Powerboats, seamanship, Technology

VIDEO: Active Captain Integrates with MaxSea-Furuno

ActiveCaptain Will be Integrated into MaxSea Time Zero Chart Software

ActiveCaptain Will be Integrated into MaxSea Time Zero Chart Software

Jeff Siegal of ActiveCaptain recently notified users of the fabulous online cruising database that the information from ActiveCaptain will shortly be available inside MaxSea’s Time Zero charting software. The MaxSea folks were demonstrating a beta version of the software and Jeff did a short video of the demo, which is below.

An impromptu demonstration at the Miami Boat Show showing the very latest ActiveCaptain support in MaxSea/Furuno Time Zero.

I don’t know for sure what kind of computer the MaxSea folks had in their exhibit at the Miami Boat Show, where this demo was filmed, but the chart zooming and panning are perfectly seamless.  And switching from vector to raster charts is literally just a click of a button. The best thing is that anytime the system has an Internet connection it will check, then download and cache all the updated info from ActiveCaptain.  All of this is done in the background.  Eventually, MaxSea will build in a feature so that users can simply enter their own ActiveCaptain updates right into the MaxSea software and it will be sent upstream to the database.

In this demo video from MaxSea, you can see how the software works. The video has a music soundtrack for some reason, but you get a good look at the functions. I guess it’s time to have a closer look at MaxSea’s Time Zero software, which, by the way, integrates seamlessly with the Furuno Navnet products and so would be a logical choice for a PC-based nav solution that includes black-box sensors from Furuno. Naturally, MaxSea also includes NMEA 2000 connectivity, so other brands should be usable as well.

Jeff is going to have the MaxSea software available for ActiveCaptain users (ActiveCaptain is free to use, by the way). He expects the price for the non-Navenet version to be less than $350.

If any of our readers are MaxSea users, I’d love to hear from you in the comments as we begin a review of that software. And if you’re not already an ActiveCaptain, you should be. There is no better way to find the kind of information you need to more easily enjoy your cruising, whether it’s the latest fuel prices, a marina recommendation, or info on hazards provided by the locals who know.

Update: I’ve just learned that my friend and colleague Ben Ellison of Panbo actually helped get ActiveCaptain and the MaxSea folks together. You can read more about his assessment of the new confab on Panbo.

Copyright &copy 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Industry News, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, seamanship, Technology