Anyone who’s familiar with the latest in marine electronics or who has read Augmented Reality: New Features in Navigation Apps knows that the navigational abilities provided by cell phones and tablets are evolving and advancing at a blistering pace. The latest? Dock to dock autorouting. Navionics piloted this ability with iPhones and iPads, and yesterday announced that they’ve developed it for Android.
Boaters can choose their destination simply by tapping on the screen, and the Navionics app does the rest of the work for you. You’ll need to have the latest version of the app installed (v8.0.1), and if you’re not already a subscriber, right now you can download a free two-week trial version prior to in-app purchase (specific pricing varies by region, but begins at $9.99 for the US and ranges up to $79 for Denmark and Greenland in HD). Or, maybe a subscription should be added to your list of perfect last minute holiday gifts for boaters?
Along with the dock to dock nav functionality, the app will also estimate fuel consumption for your voyage, show distance and ETA, and highlight precautions along the route. Points of interest such as marinas, fuel docks, and restaurants, also appear in the autorouting menu. Naturally, the other highlights we’ve already grown to love about the Navionics app are present and accounted for in this newest version. You can still depend on it for full navigational functionality a’ la chartplotter, you still get full weather and tide data, and if your electronics system is up to the task you can integrate with your boat’s MFD brain via WiFi.
Even more impressive is the ability to access data from—and also contribute to—the community layer, which includes mapping updates that flow in from other users. You can also synch your device with your fishfinder/chartplotter MFD. Then, the app gathers every ping and coordinate the MFD collects and constantly updates your own charts, on-screen. Read Chart Transplant and Crowd-Sourced Chartography: Lowrance Insight Genesis Evolves to learn more about how this and similar self-sourced charting updates work.
While there’s a number of phone- or tablet-based charting options out there (read 10 Navigation Apps and Smartphone Hits for Powerboaters to learn more about some of the top picks), Navionics has established itself as the leader in this new navigational nation, and claims to be the world’s most popular marine and lakes app. Having tested the app extensively while on a fishing trip in the mangroves near Marco Island last spring—an area with minimal cartography data—we can attest to the fact that this popularity is well deserved. We found it easy to self-chart areas of low data, navigate through the maze of islands, and even locate good potential fishing spots via the bathymetric data. Stay tuned to boats.com for further updates, because in early 2017 we'll be joining Navionics for more on-the-water with their latest technologies.
If you haven’t experienced app-based navigation just yet, visit Navionics and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.