Easy-to-use, space-saving navigation apps for your iPad completely change the way you navigate. But who knows how closely the ads of app developers match reality? Matthew Sheahan and Elaine Bunting Taken Seven iPad Navigation Apps Sailing To Test
It is enough to try it once and it becomes clear why using the iPad and other tablets completely changes our understanding of how you can work and play computer games. After trying one of the iPad navigation apps, you wonder why you need an advanced yacht chartplotter - if the iPad does the job. It also begs the obvious question of why your built-in chartplotter and map collector is so expensive when your tablet app is much cheaper, loads quickly, and offers the same functionality.
But attention is not so simple. Indeed, tablets have made a revolutionary breakthrough, now navigation has become simple and effective, but there are certain difficulties. A huge variety of different applications and card sets have appeared, all of them differ both in price and in ease of use. Some of these apps are really great products for their price, others are confusing.
iPad Navigator Tested: 7 Navigation Apps Report
The links below show test reports from seven navigation apps for yachtsmen
- Navionics HD - The best system for buying • vector maps • the application is developed for all regions of the charter, prices differ depending on the region
- iSailor - Yachting World Recommends • Transas • Free App. Maps differ in content and price
- Imray iPad app - Imray cartography • Raster maps • free app. Cards £ 29.99
- Plan2Nav - Jeppesen C Map • Cartography C Map • Vector Maps • Free App. Cards £ 26.99
- Garmin - BlueChart mapping • vector maps • free app. Cards £ 39.99 North West Europe
- iNavx - Vector maps • Navionics cartography • free app. Cards £ 46.38
- Memory Map - Raster maps • Free application. Cards £ 25 UK and Ireland
All application developers draw your attention to the fact that no matter how well the map is made, it cannot be your main navigation tool, you should always carefully watch where you are going. In any case, tablets have already had a huge impact on the boating industry and can be good helpers for captains, especially if you frequently switch from boat to boat, as it happens on a charter.
Testing navigation apps for iPad
We decided to run the test exclusively for apps designed for the iPad. For the test, we chose applications that work on their own, without connecting additional devices.
To do this, we took a 3G iPad2 and used its built-in position sensor. It is important to know that iPads, which have only wi-fi wireless options, do not have a built-in GPS antenna, so they may not accurately determine their position. Therefore, when you are far from the coast, especially if there is no coverage of mobile operators in these places, it is important to have an iPad with a built-in GPS antenna.
We carried out our tests in Poole (UK) aboard the Nordship 430 DS yacht. It is a picturesque port, with a rather difficult underwater channel, which has many landmarks, signs and turns, it is a good place with heavy traffic and is great for testing various navigation systems.
The number of iPad-only navigation apps is growing every month, many developers around the world are doing this work, and a large number of pocket navigators are being developed for other mobile devices. After examining everything on the market, we focused on seven of the most popular apps designed for use in Europe on the iPad.
Instead of describing in detail the differences in the functions and options of each system, we decided to check how easy and simple it is to use each of these navigators in real conditions on the move at sea.
iPad Navigator Tested: 7 iPad Navigation Apps
Our guide to the various options that are important when using iPad Navigators
When we started looking for the best navigator suitable for our sailing trips, price was not the most important factor. Comparing a detailed list of options is also not very helpful in determining which is best. During our tests, we have compiled a list of options that we think are important in choosing the right navigator.
- Seamless scrolling Seamless scrolling
The ability to zoom in and out of a map on the screen without having to move to another map or folder is an important basic option.
- Swiping speed (increasing and decreasing cards)
The waiting time for loading various maps is annoying, we were surprised by how differently the maps are loaded or simply increased or decreased for each of the developers.
- Comprehensive coverage
The availability of maps for each region is very different depending on the manufacturer and the system used. At the same time, you are unlikely to need global coverage, depending on the region where you intend to travel, choosing the right map can be greatly simplified.
- Easy to work with the map
How easy is it to find and download maps for the region you are looking for? Some manufacturers such as Garmin and Navionics provide very easy access to the required maps; others assume that you know the name of the card you are looking for.
- Ease of routing
In our opinion, this is the most important thing in choosing a chartplotter. Do you have the ability to mark a point on the route simply by touching the screen with your finger or do you have to go into a cumbersome menu and find the necessary sections in it? In our opinion, the choice of points on the route from the menu is not a very convenient option.
- Ease of re-routing
The chances of getting the correct coordinates for each point on the route are minimal, especially if you are making your way through the archipelago. For example - you zoomed in and decided to slightly change the point for rotation. Not all systems make this easy.
- Distance measurement / compass
Measuring distances, not just from the boat, is by far a key function of any navigation system. Check how easy it works.
- XTE and information about points on the route
A good picture is one thing, but sometimes the easiest way to tell the helmsman where he should steer the boat is to give the direction, distance and course and mark it on the map. Again, not every system supports this feature.
- Export route
You can develop a route using the I pad, but on the go you prefer to use the yacht navigation system, in this case the ability to export a previously laid route is a very important feature.
- Information about currents
Even simple navigators have information about the current parameters of currents in a given area. The best navigators show directions and currents with arrows.
- Recording the route traveled
Knowing where you have been is very important to understanding where you are going. It is useful to keep a record of the distance traveled in memory.
- Weather data
Most systems require a separate module in order to overlay the weather data on the route, but not all. A highly recommended feature.
- Display of the current coordinates of the yacht in longitude and latitude
It was a great discovery for us that only a few navigators have this option. In some navigators, it was necessary to hover the cursor over the yacht's image in order to get the current coordinates, but this is not as convenient and informative as having the current values of your coordinates in front of your eyes.
- Interaction with yacht systems
We did not conduct such tests this time, but you will probably be interested to know how each particular navigator will be able to interact with the systems installed on your yacht, perhaps this will be an important aspect for you when choosing a navigator.
- Function - man overboard
We were surprised, but none of the tested systems had a button - man overboard.
A source: Yachting world
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