I am usually a pretty positive guy, so I prefer to look at these additional features much like an ala carte menu. I am free to pick and choose only the features I want and don't pay for the ones I don't need. I guess no one is making me purchase these additional features. The base app will work without any of these additional bells and whistles.
Navionics USA HD app for my iPad a few years ago and have used it extensively. I paid a premium of $49.99 for the app. It is the most expensive apps I own. Then they started with the add on features which they make available through in app purchases.
First they added the Nav Module which should have been included in the original price. They charge $4.99 for this iPad upgrade. Next came Auto routing for $4.99, Advanced Map Options for $4.99, and last Navionics Plus for $24.99.
Lets take a look at each of these to see if they are worth the additional investment.
In their quest for a better routing solution Navionic's introduced the Nav Module.Nav Module was developed to enhance the route creation and trip information of the Navionics apps. It provides the user the ability to easily create routes consisting of multiple waypoints.
A route can be created by tapping on the Route selection at the bottom of the chart. Use the crosshairs to create the starting point for your route. Additional intermediate waypoints can be added to a route by simply tapping the route segment. Routes have the option of being reversed. You can create up to 99 waypoints per route on the map and save up to 1000 routes.
Once you are on a route, hold your finger on a waypoint to adjust it's location. Indicators show you the present leg of the route, the time and distance to the end of the route. Additional route details on the information bar at left show your estimated time of arrival, distance to arrival, heading to waypoints and even fuel consumption.
Auto Routing is another in app purchase that will cost you an additional $4.99. It appears to me that you will need the Nav Module before this Auto routing feature will work. This is a new feature to help you quickly create routes with multiple waypoints automatically. It requires that you enter some boat data including draft into the app. Select your destination and with a tap on the map and it will chart your course. There are all kinds of disclaimers so I would be careful using this feature. Most of the time the route created will be less than optimal. The user will have to go in and edit each point manually to optimize the route.
As I see it, this feature is not really needed because you can quickly do this all by yourself in the Nav Module. Simply analyze the chart and place waypoints manually where you want them. Pay attention to depth, course and other possible obstructions while creating the course. I would rather create the route myself and not rely on the app to create it for me.
Selections include Highlight Shallow Area, select Depth Shading, filter Depth Contours, adjust shoreline to selected Water Level, view Seabed composition (select areas) and toggle Fishing Mode to locate key fishing areas.
If your a fisherman it may be worth it to have these additional features to show detailed depths. As a sailor of power boater, I do not see much advantage to having these features on the chart. Most of the time I am just concerned with channel marker and making sure I have enough depth beneath my keel.
You also get their new SonarCharts. SonarCharts is an HD bathymetry chart that reflects up to date water depths and contours. SonarCharts is not currently available for Canada, South America, Greenland, West Africa, India, China, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands or the Bahamas. Again, I don't see the need or a benefit to view bottom detail and sea bed contour details. Not all areas are covered so check the Navionics website for details in your area.
All Navionic's users can contribute to the updates of the Sonarcharts. Anyone with a sonar device can record marine depth data and upload the data to the navionics.com website. The revised charts are then available within 24 hours.This whole process of crowd sourcing data seems like a great idea. It does however cause me some concern. How do we know the data being recorded is right? Someone with an inaccurate depth sounder might be off several feet causing the rest of us to run aground using the updated chart. I am sure Navionics has a process to verify the submitted data before it updates the chart. Crowd sourcing data is a great idea as long as the data is vetted for accuracy before use.
Navionics is one of the leaders in the marine industry and continues to provide innovative solutions to charting like the Navionics HD charting app. Let me know if you are using any of these in app purchases and what your experiences have been. I would love hear from you!
~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)