Chart Plotters

Chart Plotters

Postby Phillip » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:34 pm

Evening All,
Especially Dave of Wild rose, Kevin of Wayward Lady and Mark of Storm Petrel.

I have been looking at the price of paper charts....
:o :o :evil:

I have always used charts to navigate with, even when flying, so for my upcoming voyage to Tasmania I will need some 26 charts and maybe two or three more if I return via Port Phillip!

Cost.... $1000 plus :shock:

Now I can get away with about 4 large charts [$100] if I use a chart plotter as my detailed chart for navigation close inshore.

But the question is: as a long time user of paper charts, will I be able to get the same detail on a
chart plotter. Living in the country I cannot just run down to Whitworths etc to view them and get an unbiased opinion so I'm asking for comments.

I've been looking [online] at a combined Chart Plotter / Sounder [is this the best way or value?]

I've looked at [online] the GME G142CFD and the Garmin 551s

What I can't figure is which one of these comes with the charts included and are the charts as detailed as paper charts? Are the screens large enough to use for navigation.

Some of you may remember that I already have a chart plotter, but, I have never had charts for it.
I actually won it in a Cruising Helmsman subscription promotion many many years ago. :D

Hoping there are answers out there as time is flying and at the present rate I might just finish Seaka's refit just before Xmas!
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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby Wild Rose » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:49 am

Hi Phillip,
I will start off with the note that I have not done lots of nav using the CP.(but I Will)
I found that as you zoom in on your location most of the details come up ok.
I chose not to use it as a sounder so to have the whole screen just for maps. That way i dont need glasses to read it.(i also have a separate sounder)
Paper back up is allways good, especialy detail harbor maps but CP is easer to use on deck than paper.
It took me some time to convert from paper to GPS in my flying but now i am a convert.
There should be some one up your way who will let you play with their CP?
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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby Rod » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:03 am

Hi all,
Slightly transgressing but I have bought a Holux chartplotter. It is sold with the charts as a package. Apparantly I can load the charts from DVD to two PC's and 2 mobile devices. The reason I bought this unit was because I was informed that it is easy to download things etc. The charts/chartplotter application can be downloaded to my smartphone. It all looks very good and I have seen the application on others fones but buggered if I can work out how to do the downloads etc. Phil, if you have better computer knowledge than me then this might be a good inexpensive backup for you.
You can work out stopovers, waypoints etc in the comfort of your home and then load them onto the mobile device for use later. If anybody just happens to be driving by Yass, NSW and would like to say hi (and help me load the bloody thing) that would be greatly appreciated. I am a shift worker so days off do change. Just got my copy of "Two in a Top Hat", can't wait to get stuck into it.
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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby lockie » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:22 pm

Re paper charts, you could look into the A2 sized folios. For a few hundred or so you get the whole of SE Oz bound in a folder. Google and you'll find them.

Without wishing to highjack the thread onto "are paper charts still necessary", I think that if you're going a long way, they are an essential back-up against plotter/GPS failure .

cheers, lockie
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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby Tales » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:49 am

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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby Phillip » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:23 pm

Evening All,

OK I've dumped the idea of a combo unit and just going for the chartplotter. :D

Question: Resolution? Some units are shown as 234 x 320 and some as 480 x 640 Pixels.

Is there a great difference in the screens of these two resolutions apart from the $200 difference?

Is there any difference between Bluechart G2 and Navionics XL9 Gold?

Lockie, yes I will get a couple of large scale charts to cover the area of Tasmania and Bass Strait.

Had a look at those charts Tom, but they have a poor coverage of Tasmania [unless you gross in at 100,000 tons!] so it's on with choosing a chartplotter.
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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby RodM » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:01 pm

I've been having a look at some of my charts. The N Australia chart - Dampier WA to Cairns Q (1:3,500,000) - is good for memories, planning and dreaming, but not so good for navigating. The North Moreton Bay chart, used by hundreds of Yachties & Fishers for general navigation, is 1:115,000. Inserts on that chart - Eg. entrance to Manly Marina, are 1:15,000.

All current Electronic Chartplotters willl zoom in and out further than the charts I've mentioned. All Chartplotters use the same Dataset, by either scanning in info from paper charts or using the data on which the paper charts are based. They then tweak the presentation / artwork, plus add bells and whistles (lures) to attract buyers - quite like fishing:)

On my last boat I had a Garmin 400 series with G2 Visoin map of Eastern Australia which was great. I'm just upgrading the Top Hat system with a Garmin 500 series chartplotter, and I'll get the East Australia G2 Vision on Ebay, total package well under $600. You do need the G2 or G2 Vision chart - none of the pre-loaded charts are detailed enough to navigate by.

I do keep paper charts, but increasingly they're in the cabin for planning/reference. Paper charts don't like being folded & re-folded... mine don't last long in the cockpit.

Cheers, Rod M
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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby storm petrel » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:48 pm

I agree with Rod. I also have paper charts but I suspect I will be using them as backup now I have a decent chart plotter and electronic charts.

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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby Jeremy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:36 pm


Why dump the idea of the combo? They are great and you can use the transom transducer 'in hull'. Cheap depth sounder, they have an alarm, what more do you need?

(Disclaimer) I formally worked in Whitworths for some years while studying at uni and have had some experience in sales of chartplotters including some hands on training from Garmin, Furuno and Raymarine. My family has Raymarine A50D (5" 640x480 combo) bought from Whitworths when these were being run out for the new units.

The preloaded charts these days are the same as the ones in cartridge form. Lowrance sell the cartridge in the box, Garmin and Raymarine are preloaded with G2 or navionics gold charts.

There was only one instance where a customer found G2 charts did not have the same detail as Navionics - but this was a rarity and in 99.99% of cases they are the same. + they are always being updated (until you buy one). As mentioned previously, the charts are essentially based on the same data.

To answer your question re resolution. there is a massive difference between 234 x 320 and 640 x 480. 640 x 480 will alow you to fit almost double the information on the screen (regardless of screen size). That said, screen size is important too. When planning routes, or identifying hazards further in advance, the higher the resolution and larger the screen size the better.

My advice, dont by cheap. The processors cant handle the data. Raymarine is my pick of the bunch, closely followed by the very sleek Garmin touchscreens (which raymarine have now introduced). If you can go to Whitworths/Bias/ the boat show , it is really worth comparing the cheap and cheerful with the mid range units (not to mention buying from an australian dealer who takes the time to show you these units).

If you have an ipad/ipod or android, buy the navionics app and compare the charts with paper. its only about $20 and worth every cent to have either on the boat (I use it offshore) or in the loungeroom.

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Re: Chart Plotters

Postby Miker » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:32 am

I'll second what Jeremy says about the iPad. I don't have a dedicated chart plotter, only the iPad. To protect it, I have a dry cover and it runs the Navionics App, available in iTunes. The maps are free, or we're when I bought and you simply download them when and where you need them. I have the whole East coast stored.

When I went thought the Swansea channel, I could check the accuracy very easily, as there are plenty of channel markers to refer to, and each one I checked was exactly where it said it would be. Worth checking out, if you already have an iPad, but the beauty of the iPad as well is that you can check the forum on your travels!
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