Raymarine LightHouse II, the chart goodness

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. CME says:

    Hey Ben did you know that the new Lighthouse Charts are available on the DragonFly too? They too got a new software update.

  2. Ben, it seems pretty clear that the readability of the Lighthouse Chart doesnt stand up to the Navionics. Take a look at the daymarker at the Northeast Point passage. The type covers the critical gap between the markers. If I was looking at the Lighthouse version I wouldnt be inclined to try the passage but as we know it is pretty safe as long as you really know where you are. Who know what else is covered by type.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Allan, but it was dumb of me to suggest making a judgement based on a screenshot. That LightHouse clutter around Northeast Point goes away if you change zoom level, change course, change chart orientation, or change the chart detail or overlay text settings in the menus further above.
    It’s a lesson, I guess, in how dynamic smart (vector) charts are. And the screen where you can see the raster chart of N E Passage shows what cartography looks like when a human draws it, even if raster charts are as dumb as a sheet of paper 😉
    On the other hand, I think NOAA made a mistake when they turned Northeast Pt into an island. I even photographed both sides at high tide trying to persuade them that it’s more isthmus than covering bar, but they stuck with their thermal photography technology.
    Incidentally, I meant to mention that I wasn’t actually cruising around the bay. Gizmo is still under shrink wrap and surrounded by ice drifts now getting rained on. But I’ve got a neat simulator set up in my lab that I’ll detail in the next LightHouse entry.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, CME, I did not realize that the DragonFly also got a LightHouse II style update. But it reminds me that the DragonFlys — there’s now a 7-inch version too — run an operating system that’s purportedly very close to what’s in the a, c, e, and gS series, even if the interface is quite different.
    Raymarine seems impressively disciplined in this regard. I’m not sure that any other manufacturer currently has such a unified code base. Which is why new features generally apply to all MFDs (DragonFlys the major exception because of more limited hardware and different marketing goal, but apparently still running the same chart engine and more.)

  5. Rob says:

    I have just recently started using Garmin BlueCharts on an iPhone in addition to Raymarine / Navonics. I am writing this anchored in Green Turtle (Bahamas). The BlueCharts are astonishingly better than Navonics…. far far more detailed and accurate. Some examples in just the last three days of crusing:
    – the pass at memory rock looks not doable on Navonics yet easily doable with great detail on BlueChart. The bluechRt depths very closely matched our sounder readings.
    -the reef in the middle of crab Cay anchorage is shown on Navonics as deep ( but when zoomed in max it shows a 5′ sounding). Blue chart has it as a red hashed Don’t Go area. Its super easy to hit and looks like a keel ripper.
    – enterence to green turtle is clearly charted in detail on bluechart and matched our soundings closely. Navonics is not nearly as clear or useful.
    I have the feeling ill have lots more examples in another week of crusing. My next chart plotter will have to have bluechart support or there is no way ill buy it.
    Does b&g support bluechart ?
    If so , as well as garmin ?

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Rob, but the Bahamas have what’s possibly the most confusing charting situation in the world. There is little official data to license but there are several “mom & pop” survey operations that have done great work and also some companies like Navionics and NV-Charts have apparently done their own surveying in some areas.
    Garmin licenses Explorer Chart data for at least some of the Bahamas, apparently through Jeppesen C-Map, which holds the master license. But the Explorer folks don’t seem completely pleased with how Garmin is using their data:
    At any rate, you should see data detail similar to what you’re seeing in BlueChart on C-Map charts which can run on Navico B&G plotters, as well is in apps like Plan2Nav. (Though they won’t look the same because data presentation is a different subject.)
    But please do not assume that the better charting you’re seeing around Green Turtle applies elsewhere in the Bahamas, let alone outside the Bahamas. It just doesn’t work that way. Explorer is not the only good data source and, as best I can tell, no single private survey operation has covered the entire Bahamas.
    Furuno and MaxSea now support both C-Map and Navionics data display and they showed me once why it’s good to have both in Bahamas:
    Fortunately, lots of MFDs now let you use more than one chart type, and it’s also easy to do with tablet apps.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Interesting. Another Bahamas chart maker, Wavey Line, seems to license data to every electronic chart company:

  8. SecondChance42 says:

    We have the same very bad experiences with Navionics in the Bahamas. Between Foul Cay and Guana Cay (south Elizabeth Harbour) Navionics shows 8 foot depth AND “Center line of Recommend route” through it. It is I fact a reef with maximum 3 feet at high water.
    Talked to another cat owner who broke both his dagger boards pulling into a bay to anchor in bad weather and bad visibility after a long bad crossing, which was shown deep and as an anchorage in Navionics. It was filled with coral heads near surface.
    Many other examples like this in The Bahamas. Navionics is often just plain wrong, not missing details.
    North end of Elizabeth Harbour it shows a passage with plenty of water that showed breaking waves yesterday in just a small swell with no wind waves. Must be just inches deep at low water. There was a grounding there 4 days ago. The boat is a loss.
    We have to use the Explorer Charts on paper to navigate I. the Bahamas.

  9. Rob says:

    So do I understand correctly that c-map charts for Bahamas are as good as Garmin on iPhone?
    Will it work with my E80 Raymarine MFD?

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Rob, your E80 uses Navionics chart cards, so if you want the Explorer data for the Bahamas you will need an app or PC charting program that can show Garmin or Jeppesen C-Map charts.
    Interestingly, C-Map now makes two Bahamas chart portfolios. One is based on a mixture of Explorer and Wavey Line data, the other all Explorer. I have no idea which is best.

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    More Raymarine chart choices! Early next year owners of Ray Lighthouse II displays will be able to use C-MAP 4D cartography cards (C-Map’s highest level). This is particularly good news for Bahamas cruisers who prefer the Explorer data that C-Map has licensed over Navionics data.

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