Garmin BlueChart g2 & g2 Vision 2010, lots new?


Today Garmin announced that updated 2010 g2 and g2 Vision BlueCharts are now available, apparently with some interesting changes.  If you recall, the company got pretty excited about the 2009 edition, but then suffered some grief when a processing error caused a global recall.  I’m not sure the 2009 charts ever got out, but I’m darn sure that all new editions go through some serious quality control.  I can’t really tell from the screen shot above what the “redesign” talked about in the press release is like, because it largely involves “transitions between zoom levels” and other possibly valuable improvements that you need to see in use.  But I did immediately recognize that busy harbor as Little Creek, VA, because I once departed to Bermuda from there, and there are a few new features that print can describe better…

For instance, while the new g2 and g2 Vision charts are available on pre-programmed cards right now, starting in April customers will be able to download regions of either flavor to their own SD cards. There’s also a new feature in both chart levels that allows a user to add contour shading to all depths below a selected figure.  Which sounds like what both Furuno and Raymarine have been offering for a while, and which is a valuable aid to situational awareness.  Both chart levels are also going to include animated current arrows.
   But I was rather struck with this screen shot of the new g2 Vision’s 3D Fishing mode, because I’ve never seen it looking so good on my test 5212.  But actually I haven’t used that mode much recently and when I fired up the machine in the lab this afternoon, it turned out that one or another of the recent software updates has made it a lot better.  That’s Garmin style.

In fact, I learned that somewhere along the line Garmin added the ability to show fish symbols as colored balls in this view, color dependent on signal strength I’d guess, and that they’re saved for a while so that when you circle back on a “school” they’re still hanging there at the depths originally targeted.  The image below was taken with the 5212 in simulation mode, which is why the target depths don’t match up with the chart based depths seen in the transducer cone at left. The fish symbols on the right were saved from my last pass, and the black lines up there at the surface are my simulated tracks.  Besides making me feel a bit like a fish myself, I’d call it a very unusual, and rather cool, fishfinder view, except that I saw something similar five years ago.  But that’s not a bad thing; some good ideas have to get repeated before they stick.
   And, yes, as hinted at the bottom of the screen, I’ve now got a Garmin GXM 51 on the NMEA 2000 backbone, and I’ll write about that soon.  There’s also significant news from Navionics about their fishing charts and planning software.  All good.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

12 Responses

  1. steverow says:

    Ah Great…Ive been waiting for this since I bought a Garmin 551S in December it came with 2006 charts.
    I have complained to Garmin support and was promised that it would be looked at on a case by case basis for a free upg. All the buoyage in my area has significantly changed due to shifting sands, so the unit as it is, is pretty useless to me.
    I spoke to the Garmin Rep at the Birmingham Boat and Caravan Show and apart from trying to sell me the new 6000/8000 series MFD just released here, he promised me a free upgrade. Not keen on MFD’s anyway…screen down …all down. Seen it happen before on Raymarine stuff, but the new Garmin does look to be the bizz. Stunning 3D rolling road screen.

  2. Russ says:

    Following up on Dan’s forum post – are these 2010 g2 charts compatible with the handhelds, like the 76CSx? If so, come April then we can load them into MapSource and download them to a handheld?

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Russ, I think BlueChart g2 (but not g2 Vision) work with all these:
    GPSMAP� 192, 198, 276C, 278, 292, 298, 376C, 378, 478, 2100 series, 3000 series,
    60Cx/CSx, 76Cx/CSx
    I don’t know what the mechanism will be for using the 2010 edition in a 76CSx, but suspect the micro SD card.

  4. George R says:

    Are there any clues about the license policy for the downloadable regions? I have a 5212 on the main boat and a smaller Garmin unit (400 something) on my dinghy. It apparently used to be possible to create two chips from the CD for one licensing costs. I could take the chip from the main boat out onto the dinghy but given that it has all of my charts do not really want to risk it when I am way in the middle of nowhere.
    I would also ding Garmin slightly for not offering a small region Vision chart of Puget Sound. The cheapest chart for someone who wants Vison so they can fish between Olympia and Seattle is the $321 Vancouver to San Diego chart. This is about the cost of one of their smaller chartplotters with a built-in basemap. I’m not sure how many people will actually use their fancy 3d features or their routing if there is that significant of an up charge to enable them (the basemap doesn’t have the high-res data to do those features.)

  5. JesperW says:

    On a side note, the chart rendering comparison that I promised to make last time there was a discussion around chart plotting is now complete. It shows raster and vector renderings of Panbos home turf from 10 different charting packages.
    It is at:
    It is quite eye-opening actually…

  6. Andre says:

    I, too, am a Puget Sound boater and was a little surprised by the price. Especially since they offer two cards that cover the Seattle area – one “regular” size card which covers from Vancouver, B.C. to San Diego (that seems like a large area??) and one “large” size card that covers Puget Sound, north to Port Hardy. The “Large” card (translate – more expensive) seemed to cover a geographically smaller area then the “regular” (cheaper) card. I asked Garmin about this in an email to their cartography department – here was their responce:
    From: Cartography Mailbox
    >Sent: Mar 12, 2010 9:49 AM
    >To: Andre
    >Subject: RE: Bluechart G2 Vision 2010?
    >They are different. All it really amounts to is size of geographic coverage usually. A “large” will just cover more area than a “regular” vision card–usually.
    >The resolution, features and the rest are the same. It’s just geographic area size.
    >The reason that US card is a regular (even though it covers a huge area) and the Canadian one is a Large is the price of a large is higher AND Canadian hydrographic office royalties are high and have to be covered.
    >Bottom line is there is so much Canadian HO content in the Canadian card.
    >Not just core nautical charts go into all this, obviously–data from a lot of different companies go into each card (US, Canadian, etc). But in the core chart part of these (and that is a bit part of it all, clearly) the CHS charges pretty significant royalties and NOAA does not. That’s why that difference.
    >Thank you again for your interest in Garmin!
    >Best regards,
    >Garmin Cartography Admin
    >1200 E 151st Street
    >Olathe, KS 66062
    >[email protected]

  7. Anonymous says:

    Noticed the chart comparson used some really old versions… Like Time Zero is currently at Version 1.8, yet 1.6 from almost a year ago was used. Considering it is a free upgrade, you would think the tester would be using current software/maps.

  8. John Whitehead says:

    I am really pleased that the new Garmin 2010 charts are now available, and that the UK Garmin site is telling us that animated time tidal streams are now included, which is great news.
    Tides are very important feature for a lot of UK and European navigation which impinges on most of us. Cutting across the swatch ways in the greater Thames estuary. The Dover Straits probably the busiest shipping lane in the world regularly has streams of 2.5 kn and occasionally 3.5. In the Channel Islands and Brittany the tidal range and flow is enormous.
    Ben, this is a really important topic for European sailors. I suspect many other readers of your column would like to see more discussion on this topic. What is the quality of implementation between the different plotters, chart suppliers and of course specialist tidal planning programs

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jesper: That is a fabulous page you put up! I completely agree that chart quality is the ignored element in plotter evaluation. When you’re dependent on the charts because you’ve never been to an area, chart quality trumps a lot of other plotter features.
    I hope that both boaters and manufacturers will take a good hard look at that page.
    It probably deserves a magazine article by Ben!
    Thanks again for your efforts!

  10. bwp says:

    Ben …..
    Here are some pictures and videos I posted on The Hull Truth. It’s easier to post this link than trying to the videos/pictures individually.

  11. Kelvin Franks says:

    Hi, I’m looking for three Garmin BlueChart g2 Vision cards. US021R, SA008R & US031R. Links to cheap sources, used or new.

  12. Sandy Daugherty says:

    I don’t see a direct impact on their Marine Charts, but Garmin had just acquired a street navigation charting company, Navigon. here may be some technology at Navigon of interest to Garmin; they produce highway apps for Iphone and Android.
    “This acquisition is a great complement to Garmin’s existing automotive and mobile business. Navigon has invested significantly in the European automotive OEM business, and we feel that we can rapidly expand our automotive OEM footprint and capabilities through this transaction,” Garmin president and COO Cliff Pemble said in a statement.
    “With Navigon, we are also acquiring one of the top-selling navigation applications for the iPhone and Android platforms — something that we expect will help drive revenue for the combined company going forward. Combining Navigon’s and Garmin’s strengths also improves our competitiveness and standing, particularly in Europe,” he added.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published.