Sunday, 4 March 2012

An Embarrassment of Options

There is such a thing as too much choice in electronic navigation. In the best possible world I would have have a continuous, detailed history of the boats position from launch to haulout, readily accessible on all my various devices, but I could spend an enormous amount of time, money, and electrical power doing that and it's way more than I need for practical navigation and documentation.

For safe operation, I need to be able to:
  • see where I am on a chart and which direction I'm going
  • monitor position at anchor and generate an alarm if it changes too much
For navigational convenience, I want to be able to:
  • know how far I am from my immediate waypoint
  • know how far I am from today's planned destination waypoint
  • ETA is convenient, but I can divide by speed in my head
For fun, I want to be able to:
  • show a pretty map of where I am now
  • with a track of where I went today
  • or a track of where I went this week
  • or a track of where I went this summer
So I am playing with iNavX on my phone and Navionics on the iPad  to see how the "pretty map"part of the charting works out. Navionics will only record a track while it's the active application and fills in a dotted straight line while it's not. iNavX appears to be doing a good job of listening and tracking in background, while sucking down the phone's battery.

A new app for called Drag Queen (really!) seems to provide a pretty comprehensive anchor alarm, with a better UI than my old GPS 76 and an audio alarm siren much more likely to wake me.

New C-Map NT+ charts for the Navman should provide good coverage at the helm in Lakes Huron and Michigan.

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