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Author Topic:   Chart Plotter with Cartography with Soundings for Inland Salt Marshes near the Gulf of Mexico
Alphonse posted 11-01-2009 11:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for Alphonse  
I [plan] to outfit my new Montauk with a combination GPS [receiver], chart plotter, and depth sounder. A sales person at Bass Pro recommended the Lowrance over the Garmin. The Lowrance was a model HDS-5.

I am looking for [chart cartography] that would cover inland salt marsh on the Gulf [of Mexico] coast. So charts with depth profiles are very important.

What is the experience of this crowd here?

Thanks for your help.

SJUAE posted 11-02-2009 02:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    

Both are very good and there is little to choose between them IMO especially for cartography

There have been several debates recently and a lot of relatively unfounded comments on customer support

Personally I think the Lowrance is stronger on the sounder aspects, especially in shallow water and fishing modes.

This is why I bought the HDS-5; others may prefer the Garmin for its plotting capabilities.

The Lowrance is very competitively priced especially if the bundled maps cover your grounds and Garmin are near if there is a voucher available.

The compactness of the Lowrance maybe more appealing if you intend to gimbal mount on your new Montauk

Generally I think it’s splitting hairs and minor personal preferences that persuade you to go one way or another.

Have a play and see which one seems the most intuitive to use and don’t get too excited by flashy 3d modes, there more fun than anything else.

Also consider interface with your VHF and have a look at Raymarine A57D and Standard Horizon CPF300i


Ps this should of been in small boat electrical

Feejer posted 11-02-2009 06:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
Both seem to make good units. I personally have a garmin 498C which works very well. Lowrance has the new Structure Scan coming out very soon which looks very cool.

You might want to check out this thread

tedious posted 11-02-2009 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
I'll be getting a Lowrance over the winter, having had good luck with one on a previous boat - either the HDS-5 or HDS-7, depending on how the bank account is feeling. Can anyone explain the options:

- which transducer I should get, for water depth up to 150 feet or so.
- what base mapping options - use is mostly coastal New England, but also some New England lakes.
- is a separate map card needed, or are the ones included sufficient? I needed a Navionics card on our previous model to get enough detail.


jimh posted 11-02-2009 04:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Topics of small boat electronics are best discussed in SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL, and this thread will move there shortly.
SJUAE posted 11-02-2009 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    

There is little technical difference between all Lowrance HDS models with the exception of screen size/resoliution and once you go to the 8"and above the extra mode buttons at the bottom of the screen make slecting options easier and the selection wheel rotates to make scrolling easier.

I can't comment on US maps but I have both standard and plat navanoic charts and see little diference in standard 2d mode just extra info not essential for navigation on the top end.

The world map is too simple for local nav IMO


Basshole posted 11-03-2009 12:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Basshole  Send Email to Basshole     
Somebody correct me if I am wrong but the HDS 7 works with Lowrance's cutting edge broadband radar but the HDS 5 does not. I went with the HDS 7 and love it. The new Lowrances are really nice. The colors on the displays are very bright and vivid. I think Lowrance has really stepped it up with these units and they claim to be improving their customer service after having some issues with that aspect. Garmins are really good as well, I think they may have better GPS than Lowrance, but I prefer the Lowrance fishfinder. Either way I don't think you will be disappointed. It just comes down to personal preference.
kwik_wurk posted 11-03-2009 12:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for kwik_wurk  Send Email to kwik_wurk     
I installed the Garmin 545s on my Montauk. I compared the HDS-5 against the 545s (comparable units). When I looked at these units I found some small differences. I sure there are more than I mentioned, but these were the ones that stuck out to me.

The 545s is smaller and more compact unit. Even though the differences aren't big on paper, I found this a big deal when dealing with the limit space on a classic console. 5.9" x 6.4" x 2.9" vs 5.7" x 7.2" x 4" (H x W X D)

The 545s has a slightly better screen: 480 x 600 versus 480 x 480 (VGA vs 256 TFT)

The HDS-5 has NMEA 2000 connector, which really is the way forward if you have other devices onboard.

The HDS-5 supposedly has better sonar software. But there is no hard quantitative way to evaluate this from my perspective (or at least from a general consumer trying to decide what product to by). It's more word of mouth.

Garmin tends to be very active in updating there software, and developing new features and providing releases to the general public. I don't have any experience with Lowrance.

Either way I think you'll be happy.

SJUAE posted 11-03-2009 03:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    

The broardband radar will work on all Lowrance HDS (5,7,8,10) Lowrance_BROADBAND_RADAR.pdf


I think Lowrance are ok on updates when you look at the support site. The last update around 310Mb includes the new side scan sonar. This as far as I know is the the 3rd this year.

The only obvious thing on the sonar with Lowrance was the fishing modes that can be selected.

I think the Garmin PC based route planning may be cheaper or easier to do


tedious posted 11-03-2009 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
Thanks for the info, guys. I'm really interested in knowing:

- which of the 2 Lowrance transducers to buy - I want the one that's best for shallower depths
- which Lowrance included maps to buy - the lake, coastal, or US. These seem to be bundled with the base unit, and the prices are not the same. Alternatively, if I'm going to need a separate mapset anyway, I'll buy the unit without any bundled maps.


jimh posted 11-04-2009 12:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Accurate hydrology for inland salt marshes may be hard to find in any digital cartography.
tmann45 posted 11-04-2009 07:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for tmann45  Send Email to tmann45     
For my area, south Louisiana, the Garmin Coastal cartography is straight from the NOAA charts. But with all of the marsh we loose every year, especially those with hurricanes, the charts are way out of date. I run over land every day using them. However, Garmin's Inland Lakes charts look like they come from fairly recent satellite photos, much, much better.
Jefecinco posted 11-05-2009 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

I assume you are planning most of your boating the Mobile Bay and Delta area. I know of no cartographic from Navionics, Lowrance, nor Garmin which provides detailed coverage of the waters off the rivers.

The installed maps on my Lowrance GPS provides very adequate coverage of the area but some local knowledge is required. The coverage of the bay is quite good and I believe accurate. The rivers are good as well. The bay and river charts that come with the basic Lowrance units have all that is needed and mimic NOAA charts. The other available charts are no better.

There are a couple of things you can do to learn your way around those areas where depth data is not provided. First just go exploring but keep your speed down for when you ground. Use a stainless steel propeller so you won't have to have your propeller overhauled every time you go aground. It's useful to go out with someone who can show you around in the areas that most interest you.

If you have not yet availed yourself of the Coast Guard Auxiliary safe boating course do so as soon as possible. They also put on a good course on GPS use.

Finally, I recommend Lowrance because I believe it provides the best value. Bass Pro would not be my first choice for a source of a GPS. You will probably get just as much technical support from an on-line retailer but at a better price.


Alphonse posted 11-05-2009 08:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Alphonse    
You're correct about my plans for Mobile Bay and the Delta. Also thinking about some fishing north of there for crappie come spring.

Thanks for the great advice.

Alphonse posted 12-01-2009 11:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Alphonse    
I ended up with the Lowrance HDS 5. I have been out with it twice now and the charts have helped a great deal in Mobile Bay and the rivers. It mounted well on the center console of my Montauk and I didn't have to drill but one hole for a mounting pivot.
thunderpaste posted 12-11-2009 11:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for thunderpaste  Send Email to thunderpaste     
Good inland charts dont exist. I fish Delacroix, Biloxi marsh, and the Rigolets and run over land regularly.

I have the digital photgraphy overlays on my Raymarine and they help.

SJUAE posted 12-11-2009 12:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    
I think as long as your chart plotter is a recent model(regardless of make) and takes the newer high end charts like Navionics Plat+ you can use digital photgraphy overlays, if supported/supplied on that chart.

Alphonse, congrats on your Lowrance HDS 5 now comes the fun part, which colours etc to use :)


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