Captn. Jack’s Maptech/Garmin bundle, a winner
Last Fall I tried Captn. Jack’s Garmin 76Cx bundle, and liked it a lot because it not only includes a Maptech Waterproof Chartbook of your choice, but comes with all the printed waypoints already programmed into the GPS. Turn it on, pick the desired waypoint from a list, and—bada bing—you have a solid connection between a traditional chart and electronic positioning. Given your distance and bearing to the waypoint, you can simply eyeball where you are, helped out by all the course lines Maptech lays out (bigger picture here), or you can use dividers and parallel rules for more accuracy.
I think this is the nuts for beginners and traditionalists, not to mention small boat navigators and lazy old coots (like me). And whereas Chartbooks also come with a CD of digitized pages and a basic charting program, and you can get full detail charts for the 76Cx (or the larger Garmins in the other bundles), this kit gives you a couple of ways to grow. It’s also a good example of how a retailer can add serious value to some already good products. All of which is why this was one of my Sail magazine Freeman K. Pittman Award picks, just announced today. I notice that Motor Boating included it in their “Gear of Year” too. Now, wouldn’t it be cool if Maptech, and other chart/guide publishers, made their waypoint files available for anyone to download? And it might sell more printed products, so there’s some motivation!
Do I understand you to correctly to say I must purchase the proprietary Garmin BlueCharts seperately for the same region already included on the Maptech Chartbook Companion CD? Hmmm.
I completely agree with you Ben! If Maptech would publish the waypoints on the internet, in a file format that is easy to upload to the garmin (or any other) unit, they could sell more paper charts! I had an idea a while back to create a wiki style website that allows the public to save waypoints with tags (flickr and del.icio.us style). Then other users could download the waypoints in an easy file format for upload to their GPS. If the website had tags and notes/description information, the website could also become like a wiki style online cruising guide. It might be neat to export pages to PDF so that you could print your own cruising guide. Does anyone know of a website like this that already exists?
That’s true, but you know it won’t be long before a handheld this size comes with all U.S. charts built in, and no one much cares if they’re proprietary, as long as they work.
I had a similar idea about a wiki for depth profiles. Depth surveys are usually pretty out of date, particularly for more remote locations. Wouldn’t it be great if you could capture the depth profile (a feature that is an “extra” in most nav s/w unfortunately) and post it to a wiki. We could very quickly build a database of updated surveys. There are of course problems with reference depths and calibration.
On the waypoints idea, I would pay for sets of waypoints from a reputable chart publisher and it would certainly encourage me to buy more paper charts since it would tie the paper and electronic charts together with much less pain.
It’s a good idea. If you decide to do it, I would include a feature by which points are validated by users and then those points are “locked”. Other non-validated points are labeled as such on the web site.
I’ll look around and see if I can find something like this.
I had considered the idea of verifying the waypoints. As more people verify a waypoint, you can be more certain that the lat/lon are correct! I do not think it would be a good idea to “lock” a point. In some areas where sand and bottom changes constantly, navaids and/or waypoints will need to move also. If designed correctly the website could account for that situation. I had also thought the website could assist the United States Power Squadrons Cooperative Charting Program. It could help the USPS by making their mission easier, and add legitamacy to the website. I registered the website address waypointwiki.com a few years ago, but never got around to writing the website.