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aardvarkash10

What is the latest wisdom on tablet gps?

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As a new yacht owner with way too many bits of IT hardware hanging around I'm keen to repurpose stuff if it effective. 

Does anyone have informed comment or advice from recent experience on using an android tablet as a chart plotter, with or without an external aerial? 

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That depends. For what? - local day sails, or around the world?

IMO tablets are better as backups or repeaters than as a primary nav system. Most have limited batteries, poor sunlight visibility, too bright at night, and are vulnerable to moisture and physical damage. Proper marine plotters start at about $1k so there is not a huge $ saving. That being said, I do use a tablet for convenience, and mobility on board, but it repeats the primary plotter - its own systems are potentially a useful backup, running opencpn for andriod.

A rugged tablet might be a good local option, with a bracket and power from the boat, if that can be done while maintaining watertight integrity...

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I agree with Island Time 100 %. I ran OpenCPN on a tablet as a primary for a short time but relegated it to back up system fairly quickly.. It did however run opencpn well and was accurate with only an internal arial.

I then ran a dedicated marine chart plotter but because of the relatively small screen size I also ran a laptop below decks for planning..

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59 minutes ago, Island Time said:

That depends. For what? - local day sails, or around the world?

IMO tablets are better as backups or repeaters than as a primary nav system. Most have limited batteries, poor sunlight visibility, too bright at night, and are vulnerable to moisture and physical damage. Proper marine plotters start at about $1k so there is not a huge $ saving. That being said, I do use a tablet for convenience, and mobility on board, but it repeats the primary plotter - its own systems are potentially a useful backup, running opencpn for andriod.

A rugged tablet might be a good local option, with a bracket and power from the boat, if that can be done while maintaining watertight integrity...

Local stuff thanks.  Plan is to slowly expand from Hauraki Gulf up to BOI then around NZ as experience and ability allows.  5-year plan. 

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Even though I do Marine Electronics for a living, and I have a reasonably up to date B&G system on my own boat, I still use a PC as the primary tool offshore. It has been updated during lockdown, now windows 10 on an Intel NUC, with a 14 inch touch screen below and a 15 inch screen at the helm. My current primary tablet is an Ipad in a lifeproof case, but only because I need that for the Navico pricebook app!

Most long term offshore cruisers use a PC or mac, just for versatility... Some (Like Black Panther on here) are happy with a phone. I'm not! A decent integrated system gives you lots more options, and will transfer waypoints etc between devices as both a backup, and to avoid re-keying errors that can happen.

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Once you have used a fully integrated system (all data to a MFD or PC, incl Charts, sounder, AIS and Radar) you'll not want to go back. Those who have not experienced it in trying conditions often don't know what they are missing! It certainly reduces the risk of a navigation mistake, or collision at sea. IMO relying on a phone or single GPS is foolhardy, but many do. 3 sources of data that all agree keeps you safe. One can be your eyes!

When crossing an ocean, modern electronics will see other vessels before a crew member on watch will, almost all the time. Currently in the south China Sea, there are deliberately introduced GPS errors - effectively governments hacking the GPS system. A phone wont show you that, but a radar overlay will, and so can sonar, or a multi source  marine GPS antenna that can use the  Chinese, Russian, or even the Japanese systems. Your phone does not do that.

Each to their own, and each skipper must decide what risks that they are willing to accept. Commercial vessels of any real size are required to use ECDIS systems for these reasons.

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Certainly all true but still even the phone when cruising locally is so much better than we had years ago which was compass error  Paper charts bearings dead reckoning etc.   Sailing solo its nice to be able to quickly check my position while still keeping an eye on surroundings and sailing the boat. On an offshore trip I would want back up gps whatever the main system was. 

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