Portable Navigation Solutions from Digital Yacht

More and more navigators are wanting a portable navigation solution either to move from boat to boat or have on their main vessel as a backup or easy installation solution.  The availability of low cost tablets and notebook PCs has made this really affordable and Digital Yacht have some great solutions to deliver professional navigation solutions from a portable package – and at great value too!

GPS Positioning – The Fundamental

A good quality GPS sensor with accurate positioning is the backbone of any modern navigation system.  Digital Yacht’s GPS150 DualNav GPS/GLONASS sensors provide highly accurate position, course and speed information with super fast updates and the GPS150USB makes an ideal positioning sensor for a notebook based navigation system.  It’s also powered directly from the USB port so there’s no extra cabling required.

smartertrack express rhs

The picture above show the GPS150USB with Digital Yacht’s SmarterTrack software running on a notebook PC.  More details HERE and also on SmarterTrack software which is a great solution for a PC allowing Navionics chart cartridges to be shared between PC and plotter.

Tablets, iPads and GPS…

Many tablets will have a GPS built in but some are very poor quality or use wireless assisted services which will not function at sea.  Also, once below, the GPS in the tablet may not function as the antenna is obstructed by the deck and the use of internal GPS massively decreases the battery life of the tablet.  A dedicated sensor is therefore by far the best solution and will give much better course and speed readings too.  While some Android tablets can take a USB GPS connection via an OTG cable, trailing a cable to the tablet is messy so a much better solution is a wireless link.  Digital Yacht’s NMEA to wireless products (detailed HERE) are ideal for connecting to existing systems

Nomad – True portability and includes Class B AIS…

A tablet or iPad makes for a great navigation device – lightweight, portable and with a touch screen they are easy to use and there’s a massive selection of charting and navigation apps which generally are a fraction of the cost of sophisticated PC software.  Digital Yacht have now introduced Nomad – a portable Class B AIS transponder (send and receive AIS data) with a wireless interface and portable antenna plus built in GPS.

nomad and vhf antenna

Nomad features a wifi and USB interface too which also provides power for the unit so you can utilise any 3rd party USB power bank or outlet for true portability.  Find out more HERE or download the information pack from HERE

Great new portable navigation solutions from Digital Yacht


NavLink Ireland App – Happy St Patrick’s Day

Just a reminder that our lovely new charting and navigation app called NavLink UK for the iPhone and iPad includes detailed charts covering Ireland.  You buy it direct from the app store and it includes detailed charts of the whole of the UK and Ireland.  Features real time navigation capability, routes, tracks and waypoints plus support for all our wireless products for AIS data overlays and more.  Just £19.99 – Get it from here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/navlink-uk/id775979776?mt=8

navlink ireland

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Using an iPad for marine navigation – a Digital Yacht white paper

We’re all familiar with dedicated electronic chart plotters for navigation afloat.  Since the introduction of GPS about 25 years ago, dedicated marine plotters have become the back bone of modern electronic navigation systems.  But whilst smaller 4 and 5” plotters have tumbled in price, larger 8-15” devices remain stubbornly expensive.  The cost of the electronic cartography can also be high and you’ll often be hooked into a closed or proprietary “eco” system for accessories, upgrades or extra features.

Consumer devices like the iPad do offer an alternative and with iPad sales now over 270 million units to date, they bring an economy of scale but also, importantly, a network of software developers making niche apps – many of which can be useful for marine utilisation.

navlink key screen shot landscape

The core iPad hardware revolves around a high resolution 7.9” or 9.7” touch screen display.  With screen resolutions now at 2048 x 1536 pixels for the latest iPad Air, it outpaces dedicated products by a mile yet costs under £400 including vat – even cheaper if you’re in the US.   They also feature wireless interfaces to allow integration with other on board devices and systems and with internet connectivity can bring a host of “cloud” data to your boat – from the latest weather reports to charts updates or crowd sourced data.

Whilst an iPad isn’t waterproof, there’s a variety of protective cases now available and of course 12v chargers, adaptors and mounting options.  Sunlight viewing can also be challenging in very bright conditions but this document outlines some good solutions to this problem.

At Digital Yacht, we firmly believe there’s a place for consumer devices integrated into a boat’s system and we have a wide range of wireless hardware and applications that make this a reality.  We’re determined to offer better value in boating and electronic navigation, safety, communication and entertainment afloat and the iPad revolution is a big step forward here.  Download our latest White Paper (June 2015) guide here iPad Navigation Afloat – a Digital Yacht White Paper