Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garmin Bluechart Mobile App

Application: iPhone, iPad
Function: Marine Charting and Navigation
Rating: ?
Price: Free

Garmin International announced yesterday during the Miami International Boat Show that they have developed an iOS app for the iPhone and iPad to showcase their marine navigation software and charts. Garmin has been taking it's own sweet time entering the Marine app arena.  We have all been waiting patiently and will only have to wait a little longer.  Garmin plant to release their BlueChart Mobile app this summer.

I can't wait. I have used several Garmin products over the years and have found them be very well designed and functional.

The BlueChart Mobile app will allow the user to plan and create routes and waypoints on the iPad or iPhone and then transfer them wirelessly to their onboard Garmin chartplotter.  Real time navigation and plotting of the boats position on the charts can take place.  The app can also access the internet to provide real time weather information and overlays.

The app will bring the highly accurate BlueChart data that we have come to love on our Garmin chartplotters right onto your iPad/iPhone. Charts will show shaded depth contours and tidal zones with spot soundings and points of interest.

Garmin promises the ability to plan trips and view points of interest with access to the Active Captain Database.  Additional features allow you to keep track of weather conditions, temperatures, dew points, wind direction/speeds, radar and cloud cover. You will be able to graphically overlay all of this data on your charts. 

The app will use the same vector oriented data and seamless charts as their award winning chart plotters. The app is advertised as free with the ability to purchase charts for an additional cost.
Garmin also talked about the ability to network the iPad app with your onboard Garmin chartplotters. I understand that you do not need to have Garmin hardware to use the app but if you do, there is some added functionality. This will most likely be the ability to transfer data to and from your yacht's chartplotter.

I received an email today from the Active Captain group announcing their collaboration with Garmin to supply the Active Captain points of interest database in the app.  They are understandably excited and promised the same great service even with the expected increase in users. With all the new Garmin users, they expect their traffic to double from what it is now.  Active Captain plans to synchronize the database with the Garmin servers so the app will not load up the Active Captain servers. The BlueChart Mobile users will communicate directly with the Garmin servers. See the Garmin press release.

The Active Captain database will give all the BlueChart Mobile user an easy way to search for and find marinas, anchorages, fuel stops, restuarants, supply stores, hazards and a ton of other user generated marine information.

I can't wait to see this app in action. If you own a Garmin GPS or chartplotter it should be a seamless transition to using this app. When it does come out, I promise to bring you all the details.

~~~Sail On~~~

*All images from Garmin

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