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Old 15 April 2013, 02:28   #1
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Using an iPad as a Chart Plotter

Hi,

Are any of you successfully using an iPad as a chart plotter on an open RIB?

It has come time fore me to invest in a chart plotter and my decision lies between a purpose built (like Garmin, etc.) device at ~£400 or a waterproof case and mount systems for my iPad ~£150 + £35 software.

The iPad initially seems like a good idea as I am getting a 10" screen for the less than half the price I would pay for a 5" purpose built unit but, my concerns are over battery life and screen visibility. So, if anyone has tried it, successfully or not, it would be good to hear from you.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 15 April 2013, 03:31   #2
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Are any of you successfully using an iPad as a chart plotter on an open RIB?
Do a search on here and you'll find lots of comment.

There seems to be two big issues, which for me rule it out on an open boat:
* difficulty/expense of a reliable, robust mount
* can't be read in bright sunlight

Some use them as backup
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Old 15 April 2013, 04:04   #3
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Originally Posted by Leapy View Post

Do a search on here and you'll find lots of comment.

There seems to be two big issues, which for me rule it out on an open boat:
* difficulty/expense of a reliable, robust mount
* can't be read in bright sunlight

Some use them as backup
Thanks, I think the mount is probably OK (ram-mount.co.uk have some pretty solid looking solutions). If it can't be read in sunlight, this is obviously a major issue.
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Old 15 April 2013, 04:31   #4
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If it can't be read in sunlight, this is obviously a major issue.
Why don't you switch on your iPad GPS chip, load up Google Maps/Navionics, go out into bright sunlight and run a test for a few hours. Then come back and tell us how it went!
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Old 15 April 2013, 04:47   #5
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Reliability and robustness would be my concern. I use chart software on a PC (belfield) and iPad (navionics) for planning trips at home and for that use it is fantastic. I'm not convinced I would want to rely on an iPad when it's all going a bit pear shaped and I need to know where I am quickly.
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Old 15 April 2013, 04:49   #6
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I think (having used this technique with an ipad) that battery life would be more of an issue.
What would you do then? I know what I would do.
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Old 15 April 2013, 05:01   #7
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Not too good on a RIB, but I have used my ipad on a yacht extensively, including a 1400 mile trip back from the med. Was really handy for single handed watches as you could have it in the cockpit (plugged into a 12v supply) without needing to pop downstairs.
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Old 15 April 2013, 06:06   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willk View Post
Why don't you switch on your iPad GPS chip, load up Google Maps/Navionics, go out into bright sunlight and run a test for a few hours. Then come back and tell us how it went!
He'll probably not be able to get home - as the battery is dead

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Not too good on a RIB, but I have used my ipad on a yacht extensively, including a 1400 mile trip back from the med. Was really handy for single handed watches as you could have it in the cockpit (plugged into a 12v supply) without needing to pop downstairs.
If you can get power and keep it out the sun (e.g. a nice wheelhouse rib) then it could be a nice approach - but for open rib use I think it is not going to work reliably.
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Old 15 April 2013, 07:02   #9
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Thanks, I think the mount is probably OK (ram-mount.co.uk have some pretty solid looking solutions).
I've used ram-mounts successfully for lots of stuff but not stuff that is iPad size or weight. Or, that is attached something like a RIB that can pass serious shocks.
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Old 16 April 2013, 14:11   #10
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I have an iPad mounted to my centre console in a Lifedge waterproof case. It's not a cheap case but you can get mounting brackets which holds it well. I find its visibility to be fairly good on the iPad's brightest setting unless its a really sunny day. A fully charged battery would last all day. To be honest the iPad is a bit big for my set up. A mini iPad would be ideal but I don't think Lifedge do a case for that yet. If you already have an iPad and the space to fit it I think it's a reasonable compromise for some Nav capability (I use Navionics). If you can afford it I would imagine a proper chartplotter is best though.
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Old 16 April 2013, 14:38   #11
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Hi ,

I have on my iPad the Navionics Sea Maps installier . As mentioned earlier the iPad is a great toy and a great tool to plan trips either at home or any other convenient place .
Can somebody tell me whether I can transfer somehow the trips I planned on the iPad to the plotter - a GARMIN 720 for instance ??
Thanks - Jurgen
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Old 16 April 2013, 14:54   #12
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Jurgen,

I should pre-empt this thought with a warning! It is simply a thought as I have neither bit of hardware to test it with...

Most GPS type software will "save as" .gpx Garmin mapsource Will read gpx. (unless its older than my old "V", which the 7 series isn't).

Try a "save as" & see what happens. How you get the data from mapsource to your plotter should be in the manual.

If the iApp doesn't save gpx it confirms my thoughts on why I went android.
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Old 16 April 2013, 18:21   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushrider View Post
Hi ,

I have on my iPad the Navionics Sea Maps installier . As mentioned earlier the iPad is a great toy and a great tool to plan trips either at home or any other convenient place .
Can somebody tell me whether I can transfer somehow the trips I planned on the iPad to the plotter - a GARMIN 720 for instance ??
Thanks - Jurgen
Yes! You would need the wifi adapter for a 720 but not the new 721. The wifi adapter is supposed to be $200 but appartently you should soon be able to have one for less than $80 which is quite reasonable for making something backwards compatible I think.

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Jurgen,

I should pre-empt this thought with a warning! It is simply a thought as I have neither bit of hardware to test it with...

Most GPS type software will "save as" .gpx Garmin mapsource Will read gpx. (unless its older than my old "V", which the 7 series isn't).

Try a "save as" & see what happens. How you get the data from mapsource to your plotter should be in the manual.

If the iApp doesn't save gpx it confirms my thoughts on why I went android.
I don't think the iPad saves as .gpx unfortunately, and besides, unlike android where even unrooted you can look through the memory, you can't with apple. The main reason I moved over...
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Old 17 April 2013, 02:35   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doolally View Post
I have an iPad mounted to my centre console in a Lifedge waterproof case. It's not a cheap case but you can get mounting brackets which holds it well. I find its visibility to be fairly good on the iPad's brightest setting unless its a really sunny day. A fully charged battery would last all day. To be honest the iPad is a bit big for my set up. A mini iPad would be ideal but I don't think Lifedge do a case for that yet. If you already have an iPad and the space to fit it I think it's a reasonable compromise for some Nav capability (I use Navionics). If you can afford it I would imagine a proper chartplotter is best though.
Hi Dolally, thanks for this, it is exactly want I wanted to here. Someone who has actually tried it rather than just theorised.

I take on board all the points that people have mentioned and I think I am going to go for a dedicated system, probably a Garmin.

Rgds,

Dave
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Old 17 April 2013, 02:44   #15
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Smart move, totallydave. The ipad is best used as a backup and/or as an off-line planner.
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Old 17 April 2013, 03:04   #16
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Ipad and Navionics are compatible with Raymarine products as well - the latest units have WiFi built in or you can add it as an after market item.
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Old 17 April 2013, 03:32   #17
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I have also been contemplating the Navionics for the iPad. Singly as a toy to plot out routes and get to know the area even better. I have a handheld garmin Oregon 300 mounted on the console it's OK but small. I will eventually take off the fish finder and replace it with a combined unit but it's down to affordability.
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