Using a smartphone or tablet, the skipper can keep all - or nearly all - of his usual navigation and weather apps close at hand. David Schmidt, Gadget Editor at Cruising World, reviews the latest software for boaters. When Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPhone in January 2007, yachtsmen may not have fully grasped the dawn of a new era. Thanks to touch screens, the proliferation of [...]
Using a smartphone or tablet, the skipper can keep all - or nearly all - of his usual navigation and weather apps close at hand. David Schmidt, Gadget Editor at Cruising World, reviews the latest software for boaters.
When Steve Jobs presented Apple iPhone in January 2007, sailors may not have fully grasped the dawn of a new era. Featuring touchscreens, the proliferation of cellular and Wi-Fi, GPS receivers, solid-state sensors and on-board memory, smartphones quickly revolutionized navigation.
A growing number of applications provide skippers with access to information that rivals the ship's hardware. Moreover, if you take a friend's boat or go on vacation on a charter yacht, you can have your already tried and tested programs in your pocket - which is damn convenient.
Here's an overview of the best navigation and yachting apps available today, as well as their most important features:
When it comes to working with on-screen maps, it is important to be able to easily create routes and set waypoints, as well as determine the distance and position of the vessel. These tasks are simple with i-Boating: Marine Charts and GPS (for iOS devices) and i-Boating: Marine Navigation Maps & Nautical Charts (Android compatible) by developer Bist... Users can choose between "light" and "professional" versions, the latter of which allows download of maps for a variety of areas. The lite version allows you to download only the cartography of a specific quadrant of the map.
After the maps have been imported, users can touch and hold objects on the vector map, triggering an “object query” that helps identify, for example, buoys or beacons. I-boating takes from the library mostly vector maps created by official cartography sources (such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA or the Canadian Hydrographic Office, CHS) and fills open areas with NOAA raster maps.
2019 Trends: New in Marine Electronics
Raster map, in fact, is a reproduction of the paper, viewed on the screen of the gadget, while vector map extracts data from various sources by compiling it electronically. Route planning consists of dragging and dropping the map and adding waypoints where necessary. After creating a route, the application displays the distance and direction between the waypoints, and, importantly, also supports offline navigation... Therefore, it allows you to navigate using previously downloaded maps in places where there is no cellular connection or Wi-Fi.
C-Map and its Embark
Long trusted in the field of electronic cartography, C-Map created an application Embarkwhich provides easy navigation. All displayed cartography is "smart", that is, automatically adjusts color and contrast, ensuring good readability in daytime, nighttime and in the sun. Users can further customize their screen views by choosing between the "classic" view of the application and its more detailed "outline" view, the latter of which is popular with anglers.
Route planning - through touching the screen and marking points. The app will calculate the distance, and users can enter their expected speed, and the program will automatically estimate how long it will take to complete the route. Finally, users Android and iOS can upgrade their app to a premium level, and receive an automatic identification system and weather information, as well as download maps for offline use (the latter is especially useful for cruising away from cellular coverage).
Boating Marine and Lakes by Navionics
Considered the "gold standard" in electronic cartography, Navionics recently compressed my suite into a universal app for seas and lakes, Boating marine and lakes... It also includes access to the community ActiveCaptain (information from sailors on various topics) and works on all devices Android and iOS... Sellers can try a two-week trial before connecting to a paid subscription.
Once registered, users gain access to features such as Dock-to-Dock Navigation Navionicswhich creates special routes based on user-specified conditions and vessel parameters; to the Community Feed, where there is various local information, such as fuel prices; Plotter Syncwhich allows customers B&G and Raymarine update your chartplotter's map libraries and share waypoints and routes with mobile devices. Anyone traveling with a fish finder can create high resolution bathymetry data using the app function Sonarchart Live... Additionally, the program has a smart grid to help identify objects, shallow water and unsafe places on vector maps.
NavX Studios iNavX
Historically, the application NavX Studios iNavX only worked with devices iOS, but this has changed with the latest version of the program, which is now also compatible with devices Android... In all cases, users download the app and raster navigation maps NOAA high-resolution for US waters, and in-app purchases allow users to buy cartography from third parties, including Blue Latitude, Explorer and Navionics... In addition to navigating from Port A to Port B and planning a route, users can view weather overlays in GRIB files, subscribe to mobile weather Theyr Premium and see the protocol data NMEA in real time using Wi-Fi and cellular communication of the mobile device. The app also works with third party AIS and GPS receivers and transceivers.
In addition, seafarers can measure bearings and distance between any two points on charts. iNavX, and the application allows users to import and export data in KML and GPX formats, both of which are quite popular among other services, for example Google earth.
TZ iBoat from TimeZeroTZ
iBoat from TimeZero available only in Apple App Store for iPadbut not for iPhonehowever this powerful navigation tool belongs to one of the leaders in computer navigation software and gives yachtsmen the choice of navigating with raster maps or vector C-Map... Skippers can enhance their maps by combining them with high-resolution coastal satellite imagery, and the app allows users to navigate in 2D or 3D perspectives.
TZ iBoat can be networked with external GPS and AIS receivers and transceivers of the vessel to improve the accuracy of displaying nearby targets over cartography. Finally, for boaters who travel with Furuno DRS4W wireless radar, the app interacts with it for real-time information. Radar information can be overlaid on top of a vector map.
Aware and Aware
To be precise, ship positions Marine Traffic for Android devices and Marine Traffic - Ship Tracking for devices Apple does not provide the same level of real-time information as the transceiver AIS... Instead, apps provide updated information from a private service. MarineTraffic AIS to users' devices. This data is not strictly navigational, but it is useful for accessing nearby traffic information from AIS equipped vessels, including the name of each vessel and a 16-digit identification number, allowing direct communication between vessels via digital select calling at a VHF station. Both apps provide real-time global wind and weather information. Users can upgrade to next-level functionality, including augmented reality functionality that helps identify AIS-equipped vessels.
How's the weather?
While sailors of the past may have spent a lot of time looking for mare's tails and other cloud formations to predict impending storms, modern sailors tend to use Doppler radar. For example like the one that suggests MyRadar NOAA Weather Radardeveloped by Aviation Data Systems... This is an application that is available in both Apple App Store, and in the store Google play, receives data from NOAA and the National Weather Service, and then processes this information using the company's proprietary software.
Users can view forecasts at macro and micro levels. You can choose between free and professional versions of the application. The paid version is ad-free, has detailed hurricane tracking and access to unedited radar information Nexrad Level LL for more than 150 US-based radar installations, including Alaska, Hawaii and, when available, Puerto Rico.
New Zealand-based PredictWind introduced two apps:
PredictWind and PredictWind Offshore
Coastal cruisers using the app PredictWindaccess weather information from the NOAA Global Forecast System (GFS) and the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). In addition, they can access proprietary predictive models. PredictWind high resolution (PWG and PWE), which are based on GFS and ECMWF data (respectively) using cellular or Wi-Fi devices.
Alternatively, the application PredictWind Offshore works with satellite or SSB connections to deliver compressed files that can be viewed in the built-in GRIB viewer, as well as satellite imagery. In addition, these applications can access the tools Predict wind for planning exits and weather on the route. And also - to the forecasts of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
Portable navigation station
Smartphone GPS receivers do an impressive navigational job, but boaters can improve information accuracy, situational awareness and safety by downloading the app Garmin earthmate (and associated NOAA maps) and linking it to the Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Communicator. 100 gram and waterproof, InReach Mini works online Iridium Short Burst Databy providing users with global access to email and SMS messages. And if necessary, it allows you to contact the private company GEOS, the International Coordination Center for Emergency Response, which works around the clock.
Devices InReach Mini exchange GPS information with connected smartphones via connection Bluetooth... Skippers can plan and track their transitions using the app Earthmate, set points, and receive critical data including real-time latitude and longitude, ground speed and compass information.
Need help choosing navigation equipment for your yacht? Contact Interparus
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