i3 type 3, eye-yi-yi!
A bonus of my trip to Annapolis was getting to try Maptech’s third generation i3. I first saw this system back in 2001, when it was being developed as the Sea Ray Navigator (and it’s still going on many new Sea Rays under that name, despite parent Brunswick’s own move into electronics). Last summer I enjoyed a live demo of the second generation system, which Maptech had begun to market on its own as i3. By then the developers had added radar plus optional touch screen versions of Weather Channel Marine and SkyMate. Now Maptech owns the contractor that actually builds the i3 hardware, and the new Type 3 is a significant upgrade. The screen is more stylish, more colorful, and brighter, and the software flys. Plus there are many interface improvements (besides the 3D fishfinder option). In the screen above (bigger here), notice how the radar range rings can be shown on the 3D screen to make better sense of relative scales. Notice too how the 3D is automatically exaggerated to make the good, and bad, sections of this relatively shallow river (hey, I live in Maine) obvious. Look at how well the radar is synched to the chart, despite the fact that there is no electronic compass in this particular install and we’re doing 26 knots (which is why the depth sounder isn’t reading; the transducer needed better fairing for high speed). It’s not shown but Type 3 also lets you remove the side menus, or make critical info semi transparent, so you get more chart on the 12” screen. And, finally, there’s now a 15” screen version too. i3/SRN is not just a unique concept; it’s an evolving family of functions.