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Ipad Limitations?

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There has been so much talk over the Ipad and its limitations and so much talk about how many things that it can do. Should you use it as a primary navigation tool? Many people feel that it is not reliable enough to do so....why? PC navigation has been around for quite some time....what makes the Ipad different? I know the Ipad is new and lots of people want to hook up a transducer to a bluetooth for a fishfinder, some want 3D bathy charts, some want weather overlay. I hear people that want to connect their radar to a black box to show radar with overlay. Imagine the possibilites!! Garmin has great charts...Raymarine has great charts etc etc. Maxsea Zero is fantastic as well. Cant they put that into an app? Having the freedom for quick scroll and zoom is huge! Email, internet goes on and on. I am getting addicted to the Ipad (obviously) and would like to know what is in development as we speak!! I need to know what has worked best for you and what kind of secret tricks that have worked as well. An app that can work with all wireless sensors where the user can custom create his own navigation screen(s). Who will be the first to deliver this technology? I love the imux idea, does anyone have it? I just imagine walking around the boat with an Ipad showing me radar, bottom contour, nautical charts with weather overlay, compass heading, fishfinder, 3D bottom and surroundings. It can be done, but who will do it best and who will do it first?

8 Replies

  • I'm not that impressed with iPad. Have one, it's too heavy and too large and only of max benefit on wifi. It's not water or shock proof, and I don't like touch screens for marine use. It's a cool coffee table Internet access device, but only a novelty plotter. Also think we waste too much time playing with gadgets when we go boating, myself included. It's about R&R time on the water, nature and all that stuff, thought we are trying to escape the busy world, what's the point in a busy dizzy helm. We need to get out more.

    Ps. The absence of flash and an SD card are basic let downs.

  • The iMux from Brookhouse let's one interface multiple NMEA-0183 instruments to an iPad (via WiFi) ..

  • Being slightly allergic to Apple, I've been feverishly following the Android Tablet market, which is coming to a boil this season. Samsung has introduced a very fine example in the Galaxy Tab, available with data plans from all the major US cell carriers. Its pricey [not surprised] but has an internal GPS in some iterations* that works with Navionics Charts. Navionics has not certified its use because their software doesn't scale up to the Galaxy's 7" screen in terms of resolution and distortion. But the Galaxy feels like a quality piece of hardware, and could be weather-proofed with a simple wide rubber band. There are other possibilities out there, all made in China, many simply relabeled with different internal components, in tribute to the early days of PC brands. Buyer beware if you must, but run if you can.

  • It's early days yet for the android tablets. I've used the samsung and was not impressed, clunky software and hardware. I thought the pricing tied to mobile contracts was nuts. While the iPad is a super coffee table Internet access tablet, the lack of flash on news web sites has driven me to nearly throw it out the window. Current consumer tablets for secondary marine nav seems more a novelty than a serious tool. Now a marine toughened tablet that is waterproof, can be dropped 20ft, and have a truck driven over the screen and keep working, then we've something to talk about, but not consumer toys like iPad and A devices like samsung.

  • The only tool on any of my boats that could survive your criteria is a pry bar, whose facility as a navigation aide has yet to be demonstrated. Perhaps we could make a special exception for navigation devices to,say, whatever a plastic sextant, a chart, a watch and a set of tables could survive? I think we should allow the use of a big baggie and avoid common nautical solvents.

  • Tut tut, a plastic sextant :)

  • Back to JK's original question, to whit,"what's wrong with using an iPad for primary navigation?"

    Without reverting to Old Salt Snobbishness, My principal objection is it is not built for the marine environment. It is not protected from salt spray, salt-laden humidity, or the physical abuse from use on a rocking, bobbing boat. In an unattended moment, it could slide off a three foot high table and make you blind. Most marine chart plotters would survive. Further, most would be permanently mounted, with waterproof connectors, and would survive several green-water inundations.

    There are fixes; a big baggie and some duct tape being the easiest. I'm only assuming that the touch screen would work inside a plastic bag.

    You may be willing to gamble on using it for lake and inshore sailing. I would not want to tell a friend it's a good idea.

  • What if the Ipad was fitted into a marine grade shock absorbent hard case with multiple mounting options....I think that would do the trick for 90% of the Marine Ipad crowd!!!