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Which Chartplotter Chip for Bahamas/Florida-Simrad NSSEVO3

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Capt J, Aug 11, 2019.

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  1. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I just did the Exumas on a new boat with the Simrads mentioned, and I bought a Navionics+ chip for Central and South America which includes the Bahamas and Florida in the coverage area. Well, the chartplotter shows only about half (if that) as many soundings as the Garmins that have been on the yachts I've been running lately, the other issue I've had is the shading sucks, like 3 shades of blue between 20ish', 10' and shallow. Also, there were a lot of erroneous readings showing a shallow sandbar near several islands in the Exumas (between Highbourne Cay and Staniel Cay) that simply did not exist compared to my paper Maptech chartbook as well as the Garmin bluechart in my Ipad mini...….and by watching a 100' yacht transverse right over one of them and me doing the same afterwards based on double checking both my Garmin app and paper chart (West side of Shroud Cay for example).

    SO, what electronic chart is everyone using? CMAP? Navionics? or what for Simrad chartplotters? ALSO, is Garmin taking detail out of the Navionics chart chips for non Garmin products, as they now have chips only for Garmins, and other chips for everything else?
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    We ve been going to the Exumas a lot inthe last 12+ years and not just the typical boring NAS Highborne Staniel NAS run but gunkholing all the way to Gtown and beyond. The best chart are Explorer charts both paper and echart.

    Cmap has Explorer charts which I have bought and installed in our NavNet3D black box. They are available for a number of other plotters. We have a Simrad in the tender with awful charts. I need to call Cmap and order a chip for it

    Explorer charts are also available in Aquamap which is a great iOS app. We use it as a back up as well as in the tender on iPads.

    Garmin Bluechart Mobile was great but no longer supported. Their Bahamas charts back then were excellent as they used Explorer data

    The last thing you want in the Bahamas and especially the Exumas is Navionics. They have dozens of errors which will either get you aground or will stop you from going to places you safely go to

    Is this the spot you’re taking about west of shroud? Navionics shows 3 to 4’ where Explorer shows 2.5 meters. I ve been thru there dozens of time and never seen less than 9’ MLW. 27C98899-88FD-471F-8C04-772A8762DEB8.jpeg
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    CADF94B6-7D6E-443E-A311-D908D3DB2CA7.jpeg CADF94B6-7D6E-443E-A311-D908D3DB2CA7.jpeg Here is another side by side between Navionics and Explorer: Pudding Cut at the north end of Great Exumas. It’s a very useful cut to get from the bank side to the area off Barraterre when the sound is too rough.

    Navionics doesn’t show a shallow shoal, which I have seen and know to avoid. Explorer on the other hand shows it.
  4. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Senior Member

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    Garmin no longer allows Explorer charts. That is the sole reason I went with Furuno when I redid my electronics.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Pascal- yes the area West of Shroud is exactly the area I was talking about. There is another similar issue like that on the bank side, West of Compass Cay's entrance channel. I found a good 5 shoals on Navionics that simply do not exist. The Navionics was SO bad, that I simply stopped using it and was using my tablet primarily with the Garmin bluechart. Granted all of my routes are ones I have been running for years, based off of paper charts, BUT I deviate from those to go in and out of places to anchor such as Shroud, Wardrick Wells, etc. I too have done the Exumas A LOT in the past 15 years, this trip we anchored a lot...….also at Sampson...….with stops in Staniel and Highbourne and Atlantis.

    I have the Garmin bluechart on my ipad mini and it is excellent, but eventually will have to switch to something else when it comes time to replace the ipad.

    Are the CMAP charts also available in Feet instead of just meters (like the explorer charts all are?)

    The problem I'm having with CMAP is that their website just absolutely sucks. You go to zoom in to see what the chart looks like and the chart just freezes, or only half of it loads, etc. Also, nobody stocks CMAP and has to be ordered.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    What happened is that out NavNet3D BB crapped out and I bought a new used one which only had US charts. I believe I couldn’t get anywhere on their site so I called them to order The Cmap Explorer charts over the phone.

    I don’t believe Explorer charts come in feet in any format but multiplying by 3 is closer than Navionics :)

    We ve been running on the bank side of places like Cave, Rudder, Lee Stocking, Children’s Bay, etc. or down into Moriah Cay and inside little Exumas to sandy Cay... thru pudding to Lee stocking or Barraterre when guests fly in and the sound is too rough to get to Gtown... Navionics just doesn’t work.

    I remember one time picking up guests off Barraterre at night and running Pudding At 2am because the sound was a mess... that shoal you can see above on Explorer ... better know it s there :)
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Furthest I've been on the bank side is Cave and Musha Cay, then it gets very skinny South of that. I've cut through Galliot cut several times.

    What I don't understand is, the Garmin chart plotters comes preloaded with excellent charts in them for the US and Bahamas (same as the Bluechart App), but they're certainly NOT Navionics, so who made the charts Garmin preloads into their chartplotters in the first place considering they own Navionics.
  8. rtrafford

    rtrafford Member

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    Pascal, check out Embark app from Cmap? I've switched over to CMap chips on my systems, and I'm much more comfortable overall with their charting. Nothing beats your local knowledge, though.
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I spoke to Bluewater Books and they said to try updating the Navionics chip online as Garmin has been fixing some of the issues. That being said, they said that they have both chips on a computer there (CMAP and Navionics) that you can go there and use them at their store and see the detail and so forth for each one and they can burn the CMAP chips on site. So that's what I plan on doing. I may try updating the current chip first, but I can see the updated navionics chip in their store and then see CMAP back to back.
  10. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    Is that Navionics chart by chance displaying either fathoms or meters instead of feet?


    What's your impression of Embark?

    We've used C-Map charts on various platforms over the years, most recently NOT on our NN3D but rather on tablets in the earlier Plan2Nav app. The Embark map colors actually look a bit better to me, and my impression is that Embark is trying to add ActiveCaptain-like features to crowd source some info... In any case, I haven't actually made a switch yet from Plan2Nav, partly due to inertia, partly because we already also use TimeZero (NOAA raster and vector charts as on the NN3D MFD), iSailor (Transas charts), and MX Mariner (NOAA raster charts, with ActiveCaptain markers).

    -Chris
  11. rtrafford

    rtrafford Member

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    I'm a fan of Embark as a tool. Auto course/route, mapping detail, useful asset. Trust but verify, but it's really a nice assistant to the planning and research process. I'm becoming addicted to it.
  12. rtrafford

    rtrafford Member

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    Also, my Cmap chart collection has both a high definition version as well as a raster chart, too.
  13. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Simrad just sent me a sales sheet describing the new C-Map technology.

    "Introducing the complete C-MAP Reveal chart line-up! Our most detailed maps to date"

    Anybody messed with this yet?

    I'm a Simrad fan, just can not afford to go all there yet.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I looked at the reveal charts on Cmaps website, unless you're fishing canyons, they should underwater mountains and such more than actual depths. Hard to read at a glance.
  15. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    Thanks. Have only glanced at Embark so far... and hadn't noticed the auto-routing. I do all our planning in TimeZero, so I can use that to load the plotter... but then again, I don't do much very detailed route planning in advance, anyway.


    C-Map makes raster charts?

    What physical platform(s) are you using? Is this -- high def and raster -- all within Embark?

    -Chris
  16. rtrafford

    rtrafford Member

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    My SD chip was loaded with both a high definition chart as well as a raster, yes. Running these on a Ray glassbridge. Embark is pulling its own CMap chart. I'm still playing with the basic Embark. Premium gives you AIS traffic and weather as well as the ability to load charts on your local drive.
  17. rtrafford

    rtrafford Member

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    To be clear, I'm using the 4D Max plus charting packages.
  18. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    Sorry to maybe seem so obtuse...

    I think you're saying your using two systems, one being a Raymarine unit with 4D Max+ charts, and the other being Embark (which uses it's own C-Map charts) on some other device. Yes?

    Do you mean the 4D Max+ charts when you say "high definition"?

    And you have raster charts withing the Ray package? Are they really made by C-Map? Or are they maybe NOAA raster charts giving you an option to select either vector (and seeing C-Map) or raster (and seeing NOAA)? Or...?

    I looked at the Autoroute feature in Embark. Interesting, but the particular target I picked was a no-brainer. I'll have to look at it using something like Manteo and Currituck Sound or similar to see how that works in maybe more "difficult" areas.

    I watched a small, fast boat -- that was transmitting AIS -- cross our bow once. The difference between what I saw on the plotter and what I saw in person (Mk I* Eyeball) was dramatically different. He was across our bow and 400 yards past by the time his next transmit occurred. Hard to imagine how Embark AIS could be at all current. And then there are all the AIS transmissions that never get picked up and repeated by a shore station. Also hard to imagine how they could deliver AIS reports to a WiFi-only tablet underway... without leaping through some cellular-hotspot-to-enable-WiFi solutions or some such. Or maybe they think Embark on a (small) smartphone would be useful. Not having gotten around to trying their "premium" trial obviously colors my initial thoughts...

    -Chris
  19. rtrafford

    rtrafford Member

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    Sorry for the confusion. Yes, Embark on phone/pad. SD chips on Raymarine GS195's. No, I have not entered the fray on the premium version. The usefulness for me at this point with Embark is in planning, strategizing, fuel/time, etc. I don't really care about AIS as those ventures are in the future, not real time. CMap does impart auto charting as well, but a lot of my research is on Embark, and then I go to the Ray to lay out the plans with greater accuracy and detail.
  20. ranger42c

    ranger42c Senior member

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    Thanks.

    I just tried a "macro" autoroute trial in Embark (not premium), from Annapolis to Manteo. The suggested route goes oceanside, way south, then in and back north. Tried to same thing from Annapolis to Coinjock, same route only further north at the end. At quick glance, I didn't see a way to focus on AICW options.

    I guess Embark's AIS thing might attract some customers, but I don't see it really being all that useful in any kind of time-sensitive way. (And around here, probably way less than 1% of boats transmit AIS anyway.)

    I started using C-Map charts almost 20 years ago, partly because they were decent enough, partly because that was the option on the Ray plotter we selected at the time, and partly because C-Map incorporated marina info... which meant we didn't necessarily have to rummage through all the guides to find options ahead for a night. This was of course way before ActiveCaptain. And we've not been aboard in the Bahamas, so the Explorer chart inclusion -- which sounds useful -- hasn't been one of our requirements.

    More recently we've only used C-Map charts on tablet/phone apps as tertiary back-up to our plotter and TimeZero... and that back-up has been using Plan2Nav. We haven't yet decided to switch to Embark for that purpose. And I just now notice marina info in the non-premium Embark (at least) doesn't even include contact info. And our marina is mis-identified.

    In the meantime the Transas charts in iSailor seem to be useful, but without built-in marina contact info and without ActiveCaptain markers. Latter available through other apps now, anyway.

    Apologies to OP for digression.

    -Chris
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019 at 10:38 AM

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