Raymarine news: Axiom Plus, new Lighthouse charts, and more
Raymarine had a busy Monday announcing new and updated hardware, software, and cartography. They unveiled an update to their Axiom MFD called the Axiom+, all new LightHouse charts, LightHouse Premium subscription plan, and a new companion app called RayConnect. Raymarine recently presented the new functionality to members of the media (and I asked a lot of questions) allowing me to share some more details about all this news.
The Axiom+ offers more memory, higher resolution, and brighter screens than the comparable Axiom models while maintaining the same price points. The new displays also feature HydroTough, an impact-resistant glass that repels water, oil, and smudges, and the built-in, 10 hertz GPS sensor has been improved, making it four times more sensitive. Built-in memory has been increased from 8gb to 16gb leaving more room for apps and allowing cartography to be stored on the MFD in addition to on a MicroSD card inserted into the card reader. Axiom+ is fully compatible with all MFDs in the Axiom line, though they all need to be running the same software version.
Raymarine’s LightHouse (LH) 3.12 software release — named Dartmouth — adds new apps, an audio control sidebar, new rulers for measuring distance, significantly updated gauges, and a new chart rendering engine to support the new LightHouse charts. Previously I’ve noticed frustrating inconsistency in what data is available where in LH 3 which I’m hoping will be improved with this release.
New LightHouse charts
The new LightHouse Charts are a complete overhaul of Raymarine’s in-house cartography option. The charts are still based on official government hydrographic office data but the level of customization they’ve applied, plus the additional data that can now be overlayed, are a significant step forward. The charts allow day, dusk, night, and bright sun color palettes with granular control over how the data is displayed.
Raymarine offers two chart presentations: what they call a “Leisure” (recreational) visual look or a more official S52-like “Government” style. The S52 option utilizes smaller icons for aids to navigation (ATONs) and points of interest (POIs) while the leisure presentation offers more prominent icons with user-controlled detail on the charts. Plus, all LightHouse charts have fishing intelligence from Raymarine’s Fishing Hotspots. Auto-routing with LH charts won’t be available initially, but it’s being worked on and planned for a future release.
LightHouse premium and RayConnect
Along with the new charts, Raymarine introduced LightHouse Premium, a subscription based service that offers additional POI data, satellite imagery and frequent updates to the charts. Marina, fuel, service, and more POI data comes from Marinas.com and Reeds Almanac and Marina. Satellite imagery can be overlayed on land or land and water and is provided by MapBox. LH Premium will be bundled with all new chart purchases for one year and then cost $49 per year.
RayConnect is a brand new companion app for the entire Axiom MFD line. It allows purchasing and updating LH charts directly from the app plus you can add or remove coverage areas as needed. Currently RayConnect manages the chart purchase, download and update process but doesn’t offer route planning or MFD companion functions. RayRemote and RayControl will continue to work with all Axioms to give you remote display and control capabilities. I’ve confirmed RayConnect updates LightHouse charts while the Navionics app continues to update Navionics charts within the MFD. There’s currently not an app-based option for updating C-Map charts.
Axiom+ MFDs will begin shipping today, LightHouse 3.12 Dartmouth will be available later this week, and RayConnect and LightHouse charts covering France, Canada, Italy, US, and UK are expected to be available in July. Pricing for Axiom+ is the same as the Axiom models being replaced but with nicely upgraded hardware. LightHouse Charts will range from a $49 add-on when bundled with a new MFD to $149 for a retail packaged chart.