Garmin Homeport, excellent but revealing

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.

11 Responses

  1. Anonymous - II says:

    Forgive me for being dense; but are you saying that Anon has an outboard powered boat that draws 9 feet at 25kts? And that this vessel is trailerable?? Is this a Macgregor or something?
    What am I missing here??

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    No problem, and sorry I wasn’t clearer.
    It’s fairly big for a trailerable boat, but otherwise normal. What he hit was just deep enough to catch his outboard lower unit but not his hull, maybe two feet. It’s pretty obvious from the track points, especially the rapid loss of speed (;-), that it was the “crib”, even though Garmin shows it as sticking above the water. There are several stone cribs in that area, left over from some industrial use, and I think they’re slowly coming apart and disappearing, which is a challenge for chart makers.
    The recorded depth points apparently missed the split second when the transducer passed over the crib, which makes sense. If you look at the first screen you can see the variation in speed/distance/heading from point to point. I think they show how the Garmin tries to make rational decisions about when to record track points when in automatic mode.
    When fully zoomed in, the track details and charted crib don’t add up perfectly, but I suspect it’s just a matter of GPS accuracy at 26 knots, or maybe even chart accuracy. But how often do we get to look at a situation like this in such detail?

  3. Score one for us dinosaurs. But not really. Stuff happens (as he said after his rudder fell off 130 miles northwest of Bermuda).

  4. Sandy Daugherty says:

    This argues for a discrete CYA button, possibly on the back of the chart plotter, that scrambles the recorded data sufficiently to create an aura of plausible deniability. Sometimes the evidence is too clear!

  5. bwp says:

    Here is a video of the features Ben tlaked about.

  6. Peter McCorison says:

    After all the praise of this software, I bought a copy. I can indeed load tracks & routes etc from my 4208 plotter into my pc and operate on them. Cool stuff.
    BUT I’ve been unable to reverse the process. I’ve used the method in the help file and the method specified by the item in the knowledge base (neither of which match what I’m seeing on the screen) without effect. No data is transferred to the plotter.
    Has anybody made this work? How?
    Peter McCorison

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Peter, I had no problem either merging or overwrting HomePort created user data to a 5212. But I do recall that it took me a bit to understand how to drag and drop data to the SD card.

  8. PENPE says:

    There is free alternative to Garmin HomePort.
    I have been using MapSource to build routes on my PC to load to my GPS. The routes were useful but crude due to lack of MapSource map resolution. And building routes on the GPS is too tedious.
    Now I’ve downloaded the free PolarView from to use with the free NOAA ENC charts. I can now build accurate routes quickly and easily. I could also import track histories, although I haven’t tried that.
    PolarView seems to have most of capability of HomePort but eliminates the need to extract charts from your chartplotter, plus it will work with other makes.
    Comments from other users?

  9. denny-o says:

    The problem with electronic charts and gps is that they are so darned precise…
    The reality is that the electronic charts are transcribed from paper charts or other surveys and you have no immediate information as to the age of that survey, whether it has been properly shape corrected to WGS84, whether positions of obstacles were proven or estimated, etc… Also, the bottom of the river/channel may have shifted sideways (very likely in fact) since the original chart was made but the obstacle will (usually) stay stubbornly in one place…
    There are any number of books out there that talk about charts and the new age of electronic charts and the inherent accuracy of a chart (or very real lack thereof), but this is dry technical stuff that 99% of us ignore – until we hit something…
    For instance, your spiffy new electronic chart of Bermuda has base data that comes mostly from an Admiralty chart done in the 1780’s, and not updated since… Further a vector chart can move plotted positions of objects a significant amount when the chart data is transcribed, compared to a raster scan of the original chart…
    Depending on a GPS position that has 15 meters of accuracy when plotted against data from a paper chart that maybe had an accuracy of 150 meters plotted onto an unknown earth shape (well, that information was ‘known’ on the original paper chart), is a recipe for an ‘interesting day’…

  10. HMS Lancaster says: – Beta version released now with full version out later for monthly subscription. Have used it a couple of times now and it does what it says on the tin. I know what you mean about precise (and slow) but this solution seems to not suffer from any sluggishness; just takes a wee bit of time to download.

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Garmin now has MAC version of HomePort planning and logging software:

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