Page 1 of 4 12 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 35 of 114

Thread: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

  1. #1

    Default useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I am interested in setting up a chartplotter using a 7 or 10 in. screen. I have a couple of over the hill laptops that would serve but they are too big to conveniently use on on my 1960 Chetk Princess runabout.. [~17'] I saw that NOA has a Beta charts ap for android. I am thinking of a cheap -$100.00 tablet with a gps dongle and ? chartplotter software. I would love to hear from others who have done something similar. I would prefer to have a keyboard as touchscreen on a moving platform might be ??. also a screen that is readable in daylight. Solid state HD again due to motion. Any recomendations.
    Georgel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lynden, Wa
    Posts
    3,093

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    iPads have commonly been used as nav tools. A simple mount with a power supply will suit you well. Multiple apps exist for this purpose.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Posts
    5,603

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I'm using Navionics on an iPhone, and will use it on an iPad or Asus eeepad transformer tablet as I move forward with dinghy camp-cruising. I've also played with an android app called GPS Essentials on the eeepad, but I'm not sure about the way it caches charts so I'm more interested in buying the Navionics app and charts. It works fine on the iphone as a backup chart plotter, route planner, trip tracker etc but the screen on the phone is way too small to be really useful once you put it inside a waterproof bag. An iPad, waterproofed and charging off ship's power would be great IMHO.

    The iPhone is also good for boat speed, heading, position as a cockpit info device using a free app like SailingSpeed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    19,271

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I use a notebook with Open CPN as a backup.(I'm a delivery skipper) often my unit is better than the boats Raymarine or whatever. Open CPN is open source, it will take raster charts and vector charts, (I use raster because the boat generally has vector, but raster are a bit clunky). They are free for the US. There is a free vector world map floating around the internet, but I don't like the resolution.
    Last edited by Hwyl; 09-04-2013 at 09:08 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    12,408

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I second Gareth's notebook solution. I have a tablet and iphone as well, and compared to the notebook, the battery life is very short when in GPS mode and tracking your position. You dont say what size boat--but if its exposed to the elements ( smaller boat), screen visibility is an issue with phones/tablets versus dedicated marine portables.

    If its a bigger boat, you'll likely have power source and some kind of protection at or near the helm, that obviates the hurdles I've mentioned.

    Touch screens are great on a moving boat, even a fast one in rough water... so long as they are built in. I prefer a keyboard and mouse for non installed gear. Of course if its flat calm, and your not moving above displacement speed, it doesn't really matter, so again boat type, intended service, etc, comes into play.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,496

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I use the Navionics on my Droid phone as a backup. The charts are better than what I get on my Garmin handheld, but the functionality is more basic. I've done similar to what you're thinking on a former boat - the laptop is better for planning, I've found, but a dedicated GPS is better for getting there.
    -Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    West Boothbay Harbor, Maine
    Posts
    22,533

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

    -Mark Twain

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Solomons, MD USA
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Never thought I'd own one, but I bought a 4G IPad on the recommendations of the articles on Panbo. I have Nobletec TZ on the IPad, the app was free, the east coast charts were $40.00. I have a "Lifeproof" waterproof case, and a flex mount from "Sea Sucker" (screws to bulkhead on the bridge, vacuum to the back of the IPad case). Works fine for me (I am a chart type navigator) but this thing is great. No mouse needed, just the pinch type action. The iPad display turns off after a minute, just a tap and a touch turns it back on. The battery lasts for at least 4 hours, probably 8 - I don't have the IPad power supply wired up to the bridge yet. You have your position whenever you need it (4G IPad has GPS - at least for coastal use, my use), plus you can take the IPad home to do trip planning with TZ. I'M still learning, but for $700.00, it is a powerful capability. Newer IPads are a piece of work.

    Joe

  9. #9

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Ipad is out of my price range. But the Navionics or CPN solutions sound doable. My Boat is a 17' lapstrake runabout. I do have a canvas dodger and full cover for it for shelter when anchored and it is currently powered by a 7.5 HP Honda 4 stroke. So it is limited to displacement speeds. I am finding small automotive Garmins that will accept a blue seas card for -~$50.00 on ebay. + a BS card for another $25.00. I do have older laptops that could be used at anchor or in port but are too unwieldy to use under way. I like the Idea of an Android Tablet as they are cheap and come in convenient sizes.
    George

  10. #10

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I am currently looking at an lenovo android tablet on E bay for $90.00 with GPS and wifi/ Noaa has released charts for android . Has ny one tried them?. There are units with G3 or G4 as well. Of course all of the G stuff would require some sort of access to the cell towers. So I am not sure they are worth the tariff. I already have a GPS dongle that works with MS and some non proprietary OS. But as to Android ??.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Victoria BC, Canada
    Posts
    445

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I used a cheap (obsolete?) notebook with Open CPN on a trip last spring. Both raster and vector charts worked well, however the screen could not be read in the daylight. I had to go into the cabin to be able to read it, so it isn't so useful single handing. I hear the tablets don't have this problem but haven't tried one.



    Jamie

  12. #12

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I have a Nexus 7, Google's own Android tablet, which are under $200 new. Has a built in GPS antenna, and my charting app of choice is MX Mariner at a whopping $7. Gives access to all NOAA raster charts, plus Brazilian an Australian I believe. Charts are layered beautifully and autozoom as you go. Includes basic functions like route plotting, waypoints, etc. It is hard to beat for the price.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    12,567

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I'm gonna have to join the new century soon.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Cape Fear, NC, USA
    Posts
    2,686

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I am a Mac/iPhone/iPad user and ziplock HD freezer bags are all the waterproof case you need.

    However, for price/performance where you don't care about the Apple ecosystem and all the apps, music, movies, college lectures, podcast on all topics, etc that is easy to access and has a uniform interface . . . . . unlike android . . . . . . .

    I suggest going with the Google Nexus tablets. You will be dealing with the originator of Android and are less likely to get left out in the cold when OS updates happen and some carriers and HW makers are slow to support them. Also you are again dealing with the originator (Google) when you look for apps and and go to the Google App store or what ever it is called. There is some other good inexpensive tablet hardware out there but unlike Apple where they all work the same way, in the android world you have to be a bit more of a hacker type and figure stuff out on your own.
    Amazon Kindle is a great tablet and well supported but it is "it's own unique forked version" of android. I am not aware of marine navigation apps available on Kindle from the Kindle app store and I am not sure if a Kindle can run any and all generic Android apps ??
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
    E. Cayce

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Place
    Posts
    733

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    On Android the thing to do is find the way to root the device (which means becoming the admin user), and then install something like Cyanogen Mod or MIUI in place of the Android version that comes with it. The original install can be backed up by booting into Recovery Mode, and you can go back to any backup you've saved, when you reboot it will be exactly like it was whatever day you backed up, contacts, texts, etc. In my case, I can revert my phone back through several hacked versions of Android plus the original version in case I want to sell the phone. All stored on the SD Card that iDevices don't offer, which means my several-year-old phone can now store about 70 GB of stuff. Like charts if I wanted to...ahem.

    Plus, you can carry the installer for whatever build you're using and other builds as well, essentially being able to redo the phone from scratch, from the SD Card in the phone, so self-contained reload, in minutes. No needing to be plugged into a Computer with iTunes or being trapped with IOS7 when you want to go back to 6 or whatever, it's your phone once it's rooted. The builds are free downloads. Many of them incorporate tricks to dramatically lengthen battery life, increase responsiveness, and other things you didn't even know how much you needed.

    This all sounds a bit techy, but if I could learn it at my age from having no clue, so can anyone. I do need reading cheaters to find my way at times. If not interested in learning, find a handy 13-year-old and buy some good take-out. :^)

    Point is, if I am buying an Android device, one of the first things I do after deciding I'm interested is see if it can be rooted and if there are other builds for it, esp Cyanogen since many builds start with that. And if it takes an SD Card and has a changeable battery. The rest can be solved in software...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Port Stephens
    Posts
    14,776

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Quote Originally Posted by saml604 View Post
    I have a Nexus 7, Google's own Android tablet, which are under $200 new. Has a built in GPS antenna, and my charting app of choice is MX Mariner at a whopping $7. Gives access to all NOAA raster charts, plus Brazilian an Australian I believe. Charts are layered beautifully and autozoom as you go. Includes basic functions like route plotting, waypoints, etc. It is hard to beat for the price.
    I have Navionics on a Nexus 7 and an iPad. Both are excellent, providing accurate detail for my area (Australia). I also have MX Mariner but it lacks the detail of Navionics.

    Rick

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    South Devon UK
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    We go cruising in a 15 foot open sailing dinghy. The last couple of years we have used Navionics charts on an IPAD for navigation. Before that we used next to nothing - just head south to go from UK to France, north to come back. It was actually more fun that way, IPAD makes it almost too easy. Yes, IPAD and Navionics is a wonderful combination for navigation but there is one BIG problem that no one here has mentioned yet - the IPAD stops working when there is water on the screen. I don't mean when water gets inside the IPAD - that doesent happen because we always keep it in a waterproof case and the case doesent leak. The problem is that it is a capacitative touch screen and it reacts to drops of water on the screen as though each drop were a finger touching the screen! Not hard to imagine what that does. This is true whether or not the IPAD is in its protective case. We keep having to dry the screen with kitchen towel or similar, then restart the Navionics because drying the screen also tends to upset it. Chances are that sooner or later a big wave will come over the top of the boat and soak the whole supply of kitchen towel, then its back to old style navigation so we can have fun again. Even if the screen is dried with kitchen towel it can be tricky to use the IPAD when your hands and all your clothing are wet. Obviously I am talking about a small open boat, could be different matter in the chart room on a super yacht. I think this problem would apply to other tablet devices as well as IPAD. Not saying you should not use IPAD for navigation, but you should be aware of this limitation.

    Battery life has not been a problem for us since we dont leave the IPAD running continuously, we just switch it on when we feel we need a 'fix' and steer by compass between 'fixes'.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I have rooted my 7" Kindle HD and feed GPS data from my android phone. The battery on the kindle is fantastic and the picture is amazing.

    Ron

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I have used iSailor on by iPhone with decent success. Block Island to the Canadian Border, the full chart book, is only $5 and the app itself is free. Not a bad deal when you consider that the actual book is $125-$200 depending on where you shop. I have been thinking about picking up a cheap laptop (non-mac) and using it exclusively for some really nice navigational software, like Nobeltec or something. In this day and age that amount of fragile electronics on a boat seems ridiculous but when properly cared for and used it is well worth the money/trouble/effort.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by..."

  20. #20

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Quote Originally Posted by saml604 View Post
    I have a Nexus 7, Google's own Android tablet, which are under $200 new. Has a built in GPS antenna, and my charting app of choice is MX Mariner at a whopping $7. Gives access to all NOAA raster charts, plus Brazilian an Australian I believe. Charts are layered beautifully and autozoom as you go. Includes basic functions like route plotting, waypoints, etc. It is hard to beat for the price.
    I have a cabin on the coast that is accessible only by boat. Actually, you could access it by float plane or helicopter but I have a boat. I run the same 12-mile route probably two dozen times each summer. It is a bit of a tortuous route - 4 miles of open water and 8 miles of snaking through passages and up a fjord. When foggy, I use an old Garmin GPS (old as in pre-2000) and a Ritchie magnetic compass to navigate my route. But that old GPS is starting to fade. It is an LCD screen and some of the rows are dead. I was looking for a backup and wondered, since my tablet has GPS, can it be used as a chart plotter. Then I found this thread.

    It is an android tablet so I downloaded MX Mariner and the appropriate NOAA charts. For $7, it is pretty slick. Sure, the charts are the normal NOAA charts and not the fancy after-market charts and maps that can be used with spendy chart plotters. And, it is not nearly as smart as a chart plotter. But, it serves my purpose. It displays the range and bearing to the next waypoint, which is all I need and all that the old GPS displays. But MX Mariner also displays the chart, my route and my location, which gives a warm fuzzy feeling when you are in dense fog with no visual reference to confirm your location. It stores waypoints, routes and tracks, and has a distance measuring tool. And that is about all it does. Fairly bare bones at a steal of a price.

    We had a chance to test it the other day when we awoke the morning of our departure to pea-soup fog. My wife was nervous but the MX Mariner display calmed her nerves. About 95% of the way, the battery ran out on the tablet. She began to worry but I told her, "Don't need it anymore. I can see land. That's the harbor entrance."

    I thought this $90 android tablet would be a useful thing to have. Turns out that before MX Mariner, the tablet was farily useless to me. All I used it for is playing solitaire. That is why I joke that the tablet is the world's most expensive deck of cards. Now it is the world's cheapest chart plotter.

    The big question I have is - how long will the tablet last in a cold, moist salty environment?

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Port Stephens
    Posts
    14,776

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Perry View Post
    We go cruising in a 15 foot open sailing dinghy. The last couple of years we have used Navionics charts on an IPAD for navigation. Before that we used next to nothing - just head south to go from UK to France, north to come back. It was actually more fun that way, IPAD makes it almost too easy. Yes, IPAD and Navionics is a wonderful combination for navigation but there is one BIG problem that no one here has mentioned yet - the IPAD stops working when there is water on the screen. I don't mean when water gets inside the IPAD - that doesent happen because we always keep it in a waterproof case and the case doesent leak. The problem is that it is a capacitative touch screen and it reacts to drops of water on the screen as though each drop were a finger touching the screen! Not hard to imagine what that does. This is true whether or not the IPAD is in its protective case. We keep having to dry the screen with kitchen towel or similar, then restart the Navionics because drying the screen also tends to upset it. Chances are that sooner or later a big wave will come over the top of the boat and soak the whole supply of kitchen towel, then its back to old style navigation so we can have fun again. Even if the screen is dried with kitchen towel it can be tricky to use the IPAD when your hands and all your clothing are wet. Obviously I am talking about a small open boat, could be different matter in the chart room on a super yacht. I think this problem would apply to other tablet devices as well as IPAD. Not saying you should not use IPAD for navigation, but you should be aware of this limitation.

    Battery life has not been a problem for us since we dont leave the IPAD running continuously, we just switch it on when we feel we need a 'fix' and steer by compass between 'fixes'.
    This is why I'm looking for a dedicated chartplotter for our cruising yacht.

    Rick

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Solomons, MD USA
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I posted to this thread back in 2013 touting the advantages of the iPad with Nobletec TZ app. Everything I said was true, but time passes on...
    Now, for the same $700, you can get a Simrad NSS7 chart plotter with US charts and internal GPS, and it is touch screen. I have one of these on Altamira now,and the display is WAY brighter than the iPad, also hooks up to vessel 12 VDC. Additional advantaes are the NSS7 works as a sounder upon addition of a transducer, and will work great on the Simnet (NMEA 2000) network, so you can add engine monitoring, autopilot, even radar if you want, plus some other capabilities. I now believe the NSS7 is a better deal than the iPad, at least for me - we have other PC computers on the boat. YMMV.

    Joe

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,426

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    bump

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Auckland ,N.Z.
    Posts
    23,347

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I ended up buying a Samsung galaxy tab S . Great little thing, has a USB port .....'magine that.
    Navionics seems to work OK , Its just a backup for the plotter but , its good. has a USB port , did I mention that.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Port Stephens
    Posts
    14,776

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    I have Navionics on a Nexus 7. Cheap and effective. But I bought a chartplotter too.

    Rick

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Auckland ,N.Z.
    Posts
    23,347

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    I have Navionics on a Nexus 7. Cheap and effective. But I bought a chartplotter too.

    Rick
    Where does that unit get its position from Rick , it has a gps inside it?

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Port Stephens
    Posts
    14,776

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Yes, same as an iPad, as far as I can tell.

    But the idea of any tablet with water is hard to swallow, don't you think?

    Rick

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Auckland ,N.Z.
    Posts
    23,347

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Its only the cellular ipads that have gps in em as far as I can work out Rick. The other ones have assisted GPS ( I think its called ), which is just pinging off cell towers. Not much good at sea. I bought a cellular samsung for the same reason.
    I need to get a lifeproof case for the tablet.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Port Stephens
    Posts
    14,776

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    The Nexus 7 has real GPS. I used it with another nav app across the Tasman as Navionics wasn't available for Android then. It worked well. It's funny - the iPad I used to have with Navionics had GPS but it was actually owned by my employer, so when I retired from that job, I lost it. Meanwhile, I'd bought an iPad for my mother-in-law but bought the cheaper one without GPS as she didn't need it. But she couldn't use the iPad so I bought a Kindle and swapped it for the iPad. So now I have an iPad without GPS. Not too keen to pay $800 or so for another one! The Nexus will have to do.

    I haven't installed the chartplotter yet so I can't say much about its performance. It's a Simrad NS Sport. Uses C-Map. Has an 8 inch display and hybrid (touch and twiddle) controls.

    Rick
    Last edited by RFNK; 05-21-2015 at 06:18 PM.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Auckland ,N.Z.
    Posts
    23,347

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    You buy a separate GPS dongle for the Ipad, o wait ... no USB port.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Port Stephens
    Posts
    14,776

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    You have a mean streak. Oh, that's right, it's rugby season ...

    Rick

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Posts
    5,603

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    My ASUS Transformer android tablet has GPS and runs Navionics well. Good battery life as it plugs into the keyboard module with its own battery. Never heard of a tablet advertised as 'with GPS' but only has pings from cell towers. I'd have thought you'd need a cell function and a SIM card to be able to ping a cell tower. I'd love to see a list of 'assisted GPS' only tablets so we can avoid them for this use though.
    When I first joined WBF they made me write a book to prove I was a real yachty. I was so gullible.
    Paperback E-book

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Auckland ,N.Z.
    Posts
    23,347

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    My terminology may well be wrong but that's how I understand it works. Ricks I pad might have a map function that helps him around the cities , but will be useless at sea. Whereas a cellular Ipad , not on a plan and not being used as a phone or to get 'etherspace' internet away from wireless signal will get a proper gps fix.

    I'd like an old one one of those , there's a program called something like I nav x that my cruising friend uses and likes . he's in Fiji waters, and you need accurate stuff there.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Port Stephens
    Posts
    14,776

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    My terminology may well be wrong but that's how I understand it works. Ricks I pad might have a map function that helps him around the cities , but will be useless at sea. Whereas a cellular Ipad , not on a plan and not being used as a phone or to get 'etherspace' internet away from wireless signal will get a proper gps fix.

    I'd like an old one one of those , there's a program called something like I nav x that my cruising friend uses and likes . he's in Fiji waters, and you need accurate stuff there.
    My iPad has no mapping functions at all. It can pick up wifi but nothing else.

    Rick

  35. #35
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    SP,ID
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: useing a tablet as a chart plotter.

    Here's one external GPS for use with an iPad, I think there are several more options as well. I can't vouch for performance as I haven't personally used it. It uses the bluetooth interface to connect.

    http://gps.dualav.com/explore-by-product/xgps150a/

    Bill
    Last edited by wlitsch; 05-22-2015 at 10:06 AM. Reason: additional information

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •