Marine nav software for mac
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Tips on marine safety gear, boat-handling, and emergency procedures. Insightful letters from sophisticated sailors. Do-it-yourself projects and reader feedback on a wide range of boats, marine manufacturers, and sailing products. Photos by Ron Dwelle Testers trialed four software programs during months of cruising. When Apple converted to its current Unix-type operating system—OSX—in , there were suddenly no navigation programs for Macintosh computers. What We Tested There are still not as many marine navigation programs for the Mac as for the PC, but their quality often matches that of PC software, and their cost tends to be lower, ranging from free up to about half the price of a top PC program.
The first two are only compatible with a Mac computer, while the last two are available in PC and Mac versions. Look for a full review of the program in an upcoming issue. For this evaluation, we used OpenCPN during two three-month cruises and Polar View for a little over a month during another cruise.
Overall, we can report that all four programs perform basic chartplotter functions well and vary mostly in user-friendliness and ancillary functions, such as connecting to other onboard instruments and receivers. The price includes all future updates, apparently forever. The year-old program has been updated numerous times, so it is totally stable and pretty much free of glitches and problems.
The latest version is set for Mac operating systems Three of the test products offer raster above and vector image below charting programs. Here, you can see the difference in the charting types when using the MacEnc navigation software. As with most products for Macs, installation is simple and straightforward. Note that the non-NOAA charts can be quite expensive. You can also download a free demo version of the software, which has some functions disabled but does a good job of showing how it works. Anything not covered in the help section is undoubtedly covered on www.
Also, the company is well-known for answering emails quickly. A second window shows either chart info date, depth units, datum, etc. Overall, very little practice is needed to become proficient in using the program, including setting waypoints, creating routes, setting tracking, and so on. Waypoints, routes, and tracks are easily exported or imported in several formats. There are also keyboard shortcuts for most actions, but the program pretty much sets the standard for ease-of-use with the mouse.
It has all the famous characteristics of user-friendly Macintosh programming. The program can also connect to other onboard instruments—such as an Automatic Identification System AIS receiver, autopilot, radar, speedo, etc. Our only two quibbles about the software: Creating routes seems a bit awkward to us, since you need to create waypoints first, and then add them to the route. When moving, the software automatically opens the next chart when your boat moves on to it, but for planning, you have to search for the nearby charts in the sometimes long chart menu.
The one glitch we experienced: If you open the program and then plug in the GPS, the program might not recognize it.
Bottom line: Overall, this is an excellent, user-friendly navigation program. MacEnc MacEnc differs from GPSNavX in that is uses vector charts S and S as well as raster charts, and the screen and some of the functions selecting charts or creating routes are presented differently. MacEnc is a more sophisticated program and can be compared to the most expensive PC programs. Also, these charts cannot be used on other machines such as a chartplotter—you buy them for use only on two Mac computers.
For example, in planning a route, you can drag the screen to a different chart area and the chart will open automatically. This may not seem like much, but in several years of using both programs, we find ourselves gravitating to MacENC rather than GPSNavX, even though we use mostly raster charts.
Bottom line: MacEnc is clearly the Best Choice marine navigation software program for Macintosh computers. It can go toe-to-toe with a sophisticated chartplotter, and if you keep it below at the nav station, it is an excellent backup and repeat station. Even at the high price, it is so much cheaper than stand-alone chartplotters that you can cover a good part of the cost of a MacMini or MacBook Air and get a sophisticated computer in the bargain. PolarView PolarView is the most recent entry into computer chartplotting software for the Mac.
It is produced by the Florida company Polar Navy, which like the MacEnc company, is pretty much a one-person operation. An email to Polar Navy will get a very rapid response from the programmer, Gene Antsilevich.
You can download a day trial version that has most functions; paying the purchase price will get you a code that activates all functions. The versions operate virtually identically. One peculiarity is that you have to download a second program for free called PolarCOM and open it when you open PolarView. It connects the GPS to the program, which otherwise would work only as a chart viewer and planner.
Testers liked that PolarView includes Active Captain info, but would have preferred that its operation was more intuitive. Another feature not available on the other Mac programs we tested is the inclusion of Active Captain info. Once you subscribe to Active Captain free , you can download the information and store it on a computer. NOAA raster charts and S vector charts can be downloaded free. Other raster charts, like the Canadian BSB charts and the international S charts, must be purchased. The S vector charts are the same format as the S charts but are encrypted so that companies and foreign hydrographic offices can charge a fee for their download.
Plan your trips from your fingertips and save your fishing spots at a click. Learn more. Tailored training sessions to better manage your navigation software Thanks to a close relationship we maintain with our international partners, we are able to offer tailor-made training sessions. Whether you are a professional or a recreational boater, we put at your disposal our knowledge and know-how to help you optimize your navigation. Contact us to book a session.