Saturday, May 21, 2011

EarthNC Marine Charts

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Functions: Marine Charting Navigation and POI
Cost: $9.99
Rating: ***

EarthNC has had a presence on the web for quite a few years. They are a Florida based company comprised of boating enthusiasts.  Following the introduction of Google Earth this company saw a way to add additional data overlays to the Google Earth maps.  I have been following them for a few years now and am impressed with the web viewer.  They have now entered into the mobile app market with the introduction of EarthNC Marine Charts for both the iPhone and Android devices. Their version 1.75 has added many usable features that put it into the top five of my Best Marine Charting Apps

I had reviewed the previous Android version several months ago and was not too impressed.  EarthNC has stepped up it's game and with the new version 1.75 for iPhone and has made some notable additions.  Most apps do a decent job in displaying charts and giving the user realtime tracking with a GPS signal.  What I look for in an app is what additional features does it have beyond the basic charting function.

  • Online and offline support. Charts can be downloaded and stored on the device
  • Charts include NOAA coastal, Great Lakes, USVI and Puerto Rico
  • Charts can be stored for use offline
  • The app provides realtime positioning and heading
  • Online support of integrated weather overlays, tides, buoy and airport weather data
  • Up to date marina, anchorage and bridge information from, Marina Life and Waterway Guides
  • Create waypoints by selecting the on screen icon
  • Select your preference of several different nautical units
  • Supports several different overlays for street maps, topographical maps
  • Export of GPX data
  • Map overlays of Google maps, MyTopos USGS, and OpenStreet Maps
Once you have opened the app five soft keys are located on the bottom. Map, Trip, POI, Saved and Settings.  The screen also has five more soft keys on the top right of the display.  All these keys make the display rather busy but they do have a feature to hide the soft keys. Simply select the red arrow and they are hidden.

The Map key allows the user to show EarthNC NOAA charts, MyTopos or OpenStreetMaps.  The different maps or charts are selected in the Settings feature.

Realtime radar weather overlay is a powerful feature. To get this feature to work you will of course need an Internet or cell connection for your device.  This shot shows a storm just northeast of Omaha Nebraska.

The current position is located on the bottom along with the course information.  The red arrows allow the data to be hidden if you want to de-clutter the display.
The Trip soft key brings up the tracking function which provides recording of your track.

Tracking is a basic feature that all app should have. It provide a log of each trip and can be played back or brought up and retraced.

Additional data about the track are recorded including time, distance and speed data.  It also provide a nice graph of your speed during the duration of your trip. 

Date, time, actual speed and max speed are provided for each trip.

The POI key provides a list of anchorages, marinas, bridges and ICW alerts and problems. This is connected to to provide the latest up to date information for boaters.

The Weather POI shows available weather report from airports and buoys.

Tides shows the available tide stations in the area. You can select any of these for tidal information.

Selecting Points of Interest will show you all of the available POIs near your current location.  

The Saved function allows you to manage your saved tracks, waypoints, charts and maps. EarthNC gives you the ability to delete or export any or all of your tracks and waypoints.
The Settings key allows the user to select the various setting for the app. These include map type, turning waypoints and NOAA places on, selecting coordinate type, units and distance.

As you can see EarthNC has made many nice improvements with this latest version. The one area where the app could improve is the charts. The NOAA charts and topo maps are very accurate and usable but are not the quality of the Navionics charts.

I am excited about the new features and look forward the more improvements as EarthNC Marine Charts matures. If your looking for a nice functional app with the addition of POI, EarthNC may work for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment