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Old 14 September 2004, 04:18   #1
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Country: UK - England
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Which chart format ?

I have been looking at the 3 main formats for electronic charts and am undecided. I need to get coverage of most if not all of the UK and W. Med, this seems to be easy with just 3 XL3 Navionics charts (199 each), about 8 Superwide+ C-Maps (279 for 2) and a similar number of Bluecharts.

From the websites and demos I have seen it seems Bluechart is not seamless and has some mixed scale issues, Navionics is a buy outright affair and C-Map more expensive but does have a library type system to swap charts for 80 a time.

There is a deadline on the free offer of a Superwide C-Map chart with Navman's 6600 during the boatshow and 2 for 1 until the end of the month from J G Tech.

It has been difficult to get any unbiased comments on the formats and the launch of the new, huge XL3 charts makes it tempting to go this route.
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Old 14 September 2004, 16:08   #2
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Country: UK - England
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I have the XL3 charts in my Lowrance 3300c and am very pleased. I have a good choice as am in the trade. Up untill now (XL3) C-map have been way ahead but of course things move on and now Navionics is just as good if not better? IMHO.

Mark
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Old 14 September 2004, 17:57   #3
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Thanks for the insight.

I have looked at the rest of the Navionics coverage and it would seem they can cover the globe in fewer charts than the other systems, nearly all the Med in 1 chart !

Raymarine will probably be my preferred choice as I have heard only very good things about them. The C70/80 seem to be good modules for building a system however they only quote the American waterproofing standard and not IPx7 as I would have hoped, any ideas on how well these things deal with a soaking ?

I was reading their literature and I am led to believe a smart sensor 'Pathfinder' gyro fluxgate thingy is required to get the most from MARPA and for autopilot, are these applications sensitive to rapidly updated heading information ? Are there any advantages in using one ?
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Old 15 September 2004, 03:08   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marknj
I have the XL3 charts in my Lowrance 3300c and am very pleased.

Me too - Lowrance 3300c and XL3 - No complaints.

Cheers

Phil
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Old 15 September 2004, 10:38   #5
TIM
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IF you want C-Map charts

I used www.vitelectronics.com and found the service great ,and I call the guy before commiting my visa card, just incase it was a ropey site, I bought about 2000 worth of stuff from them, with no problems ....

the charts slipped through customs, with No VAT......

Much cheeper than UK or Ireland
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Old 15 September 2004, 11:38   #6
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I use Garmin (GPSmap 182) and Bluecharts and think they're very good.
I use the software on my PC and then burn the charts onto the cartridges for use in the GPS. The good news is that this way, you can get all the updates off the Garmin website (free) and keep the charts upto date on the GPS too.

The bad news is that they are expensive, and you do need to buy a lot of charts (6 I think to cover the whole of the UK). I buy them and activate them directly from the US which obviously makes them cheaper with the current exchange rate ($125 each).

I haven't notice any problems with scaling as mentioned in a previous posting and they are stunningly accurate.

My opinion of course
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Old 15 September 2004, 12:13   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey
I use Garmin (GPSmap 182) and Bluecharts and think they're very good.
I use the software on my PC and then burn the charts onto the cartridges for use in the GPS. The good news is that this way, you can get all the updates off the Garmin website (free) and keep the charts upto date on the GPS too.

The bad news is that they are expensive, and you do need to buy a lot of charts (6 I think to cover the whole of the UK). I buy them and activate them directly from the US which obviously makes them cheaper with the current exchange rate ($125 each).

I haven't notice any problems with scaling as mentioned in a previous posting and they are stunningly accurate.

My opinion of course
I have asked this before but didn't seem to get a response - do the charts look the same on a 182C as they do on a PC? The 182C is limited to 16 colours - obviously the PC isn't!!!
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Old 16 September 2004, 08:10   #8
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For MARPA (mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) to work you need a good heading sensor, this will also drive an autopilot and if set up and positioned correctly will handle the rapid movement of a rib with no problems. As for waterproofing, will not be a problem as long as it is flush-mounted.

Cheers
Mark
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Old 16 September 2004, 09:21   #9
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Thanks for the input.

I shall weigh up the costs of the various options and make my choice.

Are the NMEA pin configurations consistent with all makes of kit ? I was told the colour codes are not standard but hoped the plugs would all interchange.
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Old 16 September 2004, 12:05   #10
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Country: UK - England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottyDog
Thanks for the input.
Are the NMEA pin configurations consistent with all makes of kit ? I was told the colour codes are not standard but hoped the plugs would all interchange.
You can download the Lowrance manuals from here:

http://www.lowrance.com/Manuals/default.asp

They contain all the NMEA connection information - I expect other manufacturers have similar manual download sites .

Happy reading

Cheers

Phil
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