Chartplotter on the cheap... via droid..

212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
I'm going to employ a 9.5" droid tablet as a chart/plotter/gps this week.. It has both internal GPS and external GPS+antenna, and I will wire it directly into a 12vdc power source, and temporarily mount it to the windshield via suction mount, but if it works out I will rotorip a location at the helm for it..


are any of you going this route? If so, what software do you recommend?

So far I've used MXMariner and NutiChartsLite... I think I want to move away from Raster charts and move toward Vector's.. it seems to make more sense for purpose, and the Raster's are horrible for zooming.. So, maybe a vector won't be as bad.. NOAA has an app in beta testing, you can see it here, that may hold promise..

Any experience with this wallet friendly venture to share? Thanks in advance!


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    LaReaLaRea Member, Moderator Posts: 7,626 mod
    I would say the wisdom of this approach depends on how you use your boat.  Your tablet is not designed to withstand the moisture, salt, shock and vibration it will see on a boat - at least, not for long.  Personally, I would not trust my boat and crew to electronics that are not designed for a marine environment.  But that's because I often boat in situations where a failure could affect safety (e.g. driving at night, in unfamiliar waters etc.).  If you only do day trips in familiar waters with no need for radar, maybe you could get away with it.

    By the way, does it have a way to dim the screen for night use?  
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    212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
    it does have a dimming feature... and anti-glare glass.. I've got a way to protect it from elements, even if I permanently mount it..

    I won't be using it as a true chart plotter- and in my neck of the coast, it's pretty difficult to get lost.. the primary reason I want it is for night time navigation, where I can basically follow back the same route I trekked out on.. avoiding shallows.. If I'm somewhere I lose sight of land, I've done something verrrrry wrong. :-)

    it would be nice, however, to refer to a chart while looking out over an unfamiliar flat to see if there is a channel.. see sand bars... ect..
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    BoatAwayBoatAway Member Posts: 179 ✭✭✭
    i use an app on my iPhone in the rare circumstances that I go to new places. but this is just in our little river (both shores are always visible). works great. tracking and such as you mentioned.
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2013
    I agree that it depends where you are boating.  Marine life is tough on electronics: vibration, moisture, critters growing on electronics not sealed, etc.  I know being out and night and new locations even in the day I prefer my chartplotter & radar.  Bigger trips I hand plot on paper charts too in case electronics fail and then make progress notes as I go along so I can always locate myself pretty close if needed.  My trips are all on Lake Michigan so far, but go out a few miles and lose the shoreline and it all looks the same.
    Post edited by Black_Diamond on

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm getting a lifecase for the thing, and if it works out the way I hope, it will be permanently mounted on foam between it and the panel... I'm not real worried about that, anyway.. it is just a $45 google tablet.. if I get a season out of it, I'll be happy.. the life proof boxes do a good job of protection.. i'm thinking it will be okay, as it is..

    i'm not getting it to rely on it- it would just be nice to see across a flat out of polarized glasses range and see what's ahead- as well as (and the primary reason) plotting a return course straight down the center of the channel by simply approximating the outbound leg... the markers are a good distance apart in places, and sometimes hard to see even in daylight.. most aren't lighted on the ICW around me- so i'm hoping the charts will be of assistance trekking home from an eve on the waterfront having dinner or something of the like. 
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    Dream_InnDream_Inn Member, Moderator Posts: 7,594 mod
    Drew, it sounds like it will be much better than what you have now & you obviously know its limitations.  Show us some pictures when you get it installed.

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

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    212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'll be more than happy to do so, Mr. Inn.. :-D

    Does anyone have any experience with available aps/software? Mr. Boat away, what ap for the ios are you using?
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    brianluckbrianluck Member Posts: 174 ✭✭✭
    When I was using my iPhone I was using the navonics app not sure if droid has it
    1994 300fv "General Madness"
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    mvnmvn Member, Moderator Posts: 744 mod
    edited July 2013

    Navionics has a version for Android.  Just pick your area and device...one version for a phone, the other for a tablet.


    Good,  fast,  cheap.... pick two. 
    2019 MTX20 Extreme

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    checkmatecheckmate Member Posts: 131 ✭✭✭
    I also use Navionics on my droid.   Just used it on 150 mile week long trip.  I pretty much knew where  i was going on the trip(having done the trip from last year), but i went into a few new ports and it helped me avoid some lower water areas safety.   All my travels were during the day though.   Ive been thinking about getting the app on my tablet for the same simple uses but bigger screen. 
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