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Old 06 April 2015, 16:05   #1
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iPad Navigation Apps - Thoughts

I have just returned from an afternoon Poole-Isle of Wight-Poole trip.

I have spent a lot of time researching Navigation apps for an iPad vs. traditional charts and compasses and I have come to the following conclusions.

This is my own personal view and I would not for a moment judge anyone who may think differently and I am indeed more than willing to hear counter arguments too!

Today was a calm and clear day - so perfect conditions for using my iPad navigation app.

However, I found the following issues:

- Constant glare from the iPad
- Very quickly decreasing battery life (and thus fear of how I would cope without it on the return leg)
- It demanded a lot of my attention - staring at it and making adjustments - when my time could have been better spent keeping a look out!
- At the end of the day, it is merely reporting the 'past' i.e. a satellite is reporting back what I have been doing.

Therefore my conclusion is that you can not beat a good old fashioned passage plan - it also seems a calmer and more enjoyable way to navigate, rather than try to play a computer game of navigation.

HOWEVER, a passage plan is quite rigid and sometimes you may want to, or may need to, take a deviation - perhaps something has caught your eye you want to seek out. Or perhaps the sudden appearance of some ugly waves ahead mean you may want to take a detour. I think this is the occasion for the iPad navigation apps - for spontaneous and quick referencing in unfamiliar waters.

Just my thoughts! Cheers!
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Old 06 April 2015, 16:27   #2
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Nothing beats keeping a good watch and passage plan.
I always carry paper backups, and have a charger onboard.
The attention thing is the same with any new toy and over time you'll only look at it when you need it, in addition Ipad plotter or any other make you still be faced with the same issue.
You can get anti glare covers for the pad and they work well.

The big benefit is if you're out in poor weather, your position is real time and you can get home safely, and with Isailor you can get a pseudo AIS (web based) overlay so you can at least see where the other boats are.
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Old 07 April 2015, 02:55   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasLondon View Post
I have spent a lot of time researching Navigation apps for an iPad vs. traditional charts and compasses...
IMO, a strange thing to do (but why not?). If I might be so bold, it's a little like comparing a walking stick to a motor bike - they'll both help get you there but in completely different ways.

The nature of the comparison has lumped in all the iPad issues (battery, brightness, etc) with the Electronic Navigation issues (position lag) and compared them to paper charts, while at the same time completely ignoring the multiple benefits of a decent plotting GPS (Chartplotter) vs Paper Charts alone.

Which Navigation App/s did you actually use? Where they all using online data or did you upload proper charts? An App like Navionics will do a lot more than just tell you where you have been (past) but can be programmed with a route and then provide you with very useful information about where you should be in the future.

I never go to sea without paper charts, but I wouldn't consider doing so without some form of electronic charting facility as well - they are just too good to leave at home.
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Old 07 April 2015, 03:54   #4
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I've yet to try the setup on my sunseeker, I have the Raymarine plotter that talks to the iPad, my thinking behind this is I can get her indoors driving and I can keep an eye on her, I've never liked paper charts on a rib and my garmin plotter on the rib has all the features on it that has never let me down, the rolling road on the plotter is good if you want to go off the track to look at something


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Old 07 April 2015, 06:44   #5
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Had a go with one. Works perfectly in the house......even in a waterproof case the plastic of the case "sticks" to the screen and it just jumps all over the place if you try to touch it when it's wet.
Had the same issue with glare and gave up before the battery became an issue. I've got a Lowrance LCX15mt that I can't get charts for so the next move is to try and use my Panasonic Toughbook with Open CPN. Used it on a hard boat coming back to the Clyde from Dublin and it was brilliant however still got some problems to get round using it in an open boat. eg waterproof joystick or trackball to drive it once it's closed over. Why cant someone just come up with a PC based piece of hardware for the purpose and solve all the issues with sourcing charts.
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Old 07 April 2015, 12:33   #6
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Had a go with one. Works perfectly in the house......even in a waterproof case the plastic of the case "sticks" to the screen and it just jumps all over the place if you try to touch it when it's wet.
Had the same issue with glare and gave up before the battery became an issue. I've got a Lowrance LCX15mt that I can't get charts for so the next move is to try and use my Panasonic Toughbook with Open CPN. Used it on a hard boat coming back to the Clyde from Dublin and it was brilliant however still got some problems to get round using it in an open boat. eg waterproof joystick or trackball to drive it once it's closed over. Why cant someone just come up with a PC based piece of hardware for the purpose and solve all the issues with sourcing charts.
You can get waterproof trackballs.

However if you want to use a tablet you might be better with a waterproof Sony Xperia z which addresses the charging issue, the waterproofing issue etc. Still runs navionics.
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Old 07 April 2015, 13:58   #7
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wondering if you had set up a route? most nav systems only show you where you been until you set up way point and activate the route, then the "rolling road" type functionality becomes valid, as does CTS, XTE, TTG, and loads of other acronyms
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Old 08 April 2015, 10:54   #8
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Hi Poly

Just by coincidence, my first attempt was with a "waterproof" Sony Experia. The very first wave to throw spray over the boat it just turn black and never worked again. Re the waterproof trackball, I have seen them but I'm baulking at the price a bit (around 100).
Not given up yet though as I've just bought around 250 detailed charts (West Coast of Scotland) from Anteres and they work perfectly with Open CPN.
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