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Author Topic:   NAVICO Computer Navigation Software
jimh posted 05-24-2013 01:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
NAVICO have recently released a software application that runs under several varieties of the Windows operating system that allows a personal computer to perform navigation planning. An application of this type is nothing new, but what makes the NAVICO Insight Planner software particularly interesting is the ability to work with the actual digital chart cartography that is used in Lowrance, Simrad, and B&G chart plotters. With Insight Planner software you can perform route planning, waypoint creation, and other pre-cruise navigation functions on your Windows computer using the same charts as you will use on your boat's chart plotter. This is a very nice feature.

According the the NAVICO website, Insight Planner software can work with digital charts in the following formats:

--Insight charts including Lake, Nautic, Topo and Genesis

--C-MAP by Jeppeson

--Navionics® Platinum+, Platinum, Gold+, HotMaps® Premium, and HotMaps Platinum charts

--S-57 nautical charts (e.g. NOAA ENC®, Army Corps iENC)

--S-63 Encrypted ENC charts (requires user permit)

--BSB Version 1 through 5 raster nautical charts (NOAA RNC™, MAPTECH™, CHS, NDI DigitalOcean, Fugawi, GPS GmbH)

--NV.Digital (BSB/EAP from Nautische Veröffentlichung Verlagsgesell)

--TRAK Maps

Exactly how one gets the digital chart data onto their personal computer is explained in the user guide:

quote:

You may import the following types of charts:

--Charts from the Insight Store

--BSB version 1 through 5 including NOAA RNC.

--Vector S-57 including NOAA ENC.

--Vector S-63 with valid cell permit.

--Navionics Gold, Platinum+, HotMaps Premium charts on media cards. Must be nTag enabled (Navionics cards manufactured after April 2010).

--nv-charts, CHS, Maptech™, Swedish Marine Charts. and more!

Charts are often encrypted and copy-protected. Follow any instructions your chart supplier provides for authorizing charts for use on the computer.


Cf.: http://www.lowrance.com/Root/Lowrance-Documents/InsightPlannerGuide.pdf

I have some experience in using NOAA charts in both BSB and ENC formats, and there is little problem in copying these charts to your computer and having chart software open them. These formats from NOAA are not copy-protected. I also have experience in using BSD charts from other publishers, such as the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), whose charts are provided in encrypted files. These chart files are a bit more awkward to use, as they must be copied to a particular computer and can only be decrypted on that computer (due to the copy protection mechanism), but once installed have worked well. To be clear, my experience with these charts was with another application, not Insight Planner, but I wanted to mention how using BSB and ENC charts is not much trouble.

As for the Navionics charts, I note that only charts on memory cards made after April 2010 are compatible. I don't know of further details on how these are to be used. My impression is the data on the memory card is encrypted, and generally is not useful on computers. My inference is that the Insight Planner software must know how to read those files and decrypt them. This is suggested by the requirement that the Insight Planner software itself must be purchased and is licensed for only one installation on one computer. I suspect that this is done to prevent opening up use of encrypted Navionics charts to more than one installation of the software.

As for the Insight Planner software itself, I cannot offer any advice or review, as I have not tried it out. I don't think there is a demo-version available. The software is priced at $50 on DVD and $30 for a downloaded file. It seems like a reasonable price for a software application that can actually use the same digital chart data on your NAVICO chart plotter. For boaters who have a recentl model NAVICO chart plotter and a computer with a compatible operating system, the Insight Planner software may be a good way to do cruise planning.

As in any software, there are many factors that affect the utility of the software. Some applications seem to be able to provide ease of use and a fast learning curve. I have no idea how Insight Planner will rank.

As for getting the pre-planned navigation data to the boat chart plotter, I assume this is to be done with the usual file transfer using removable memory cards. This process is not completely explained in the user guide.

For more information see the webpages at

http://www.lowrance.com/InsightPlanner-en-us.aspx
http://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-US/Products/Cartography-listing/ Insight-Planner-en-us.aspx

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