Anyone use a tablet computer in the everglades for navigation?

Discussion in 'Power it up with Electronics' started by browndogrods, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. browndogrods

    browndogrods I Heart!

    I need to order a GPS for my boat and I'm leaning towards a tablet rather than a traditional marine GPS. I've read that Apple's ipads have a gps receiver tied in with the mobile receiver but there are too many questions weather or not it is reliable in places there isn't cellular reception, like in whitewater bay. The Samsung tab supposedly has the lasted GPS receiver and works with out cellular reception, but I have not confirmed it. I'm looking for someone that can report yeah or nay on this subject. Otherwise I'll order up a Garmin 547.

    Thanks, Ken
  2. cutrunner

    cutrunner Cert. Yamaha technician

    As long as you use the navionics app both Samsung and apple stuff works. I've had both and they both worked the whole way to the bahamas

  3. chesfisherman1

    chesfisherman1 I Love!

    Used andriod galaxy 3 all over Charlotte harbor...offline.

    GPS on G3 is poor in offline mode.

    Used sony xperia 10" with much better results. Great GPS. Must have anti glare also water proof.

    Your tablet is ios or android or windows...your answer is important.

    I have an android app called MX Mariner. It has noaa maps...good nav modes...waypoints/trails/ is around $7.00. Some issues with zoom in multiple charts...high res next to lower res.

    Navonics is $50 for their boat app.

    Extensive testing required prior to a way way way back trip.

    water proof tablet?
    Case for tablet? Block gps?
    Battery life?
    must ensure all testing done with WIFI+mobile data turned OFF!

    I know a great windows program but requires real pc and link to gps on phone/tablet via bluetooth.

    Upshot...some geek level highly recommended.

    buy garmin/simarad/raymarine with navoinics gold/plus minimum.. (not sure levels of bluecharts) sis a safe path...hey can also go out so a backup offline phone/tablet is good idea.

  4. zlenart1

    zlenart1 I Love!

    I think that the apple devices will not start up without service and you need to load them while still in service but I could be wrong. I have a samsung galaxy S5 and it works great, althought the screen can be hard to see with polarized glasses on
  5. Les_Lammers

    Les_Lammers Well-Known Member

    IMHO, get the Garmin 547. Pads and phones can overheat and eventually salt water will ruin them in an open skiff.
  6. anytide

    anytide Administrator Staff Member

    i use my WP8 all the down to turkey key easily then it fades off. then down to broad river i pick it up again from homestead tower im guessing.
    Verizon yo !
  7. Marshfly

    Marshfly I Love!

    The Apple devices pick up GPS signals fine with no cell service. You can't put it in airplane mode though. I use mine as a flight chart in my airplane all the time. Just go into the menu and turn off cellular data so that it doesn't suck the battery down searching for a signal. And it has to be the cellular version. The GPS receiver is built into the cell chip.

    Again though, the glare is horrendous, even worse with something on the screen. The backlight isn't bright enough to see well in the sun and they aren't waterproof.

    Around here, Standard mapping makes GPS maps that are actual aerial photos that have been georeferenced that work on Lowrance GPS units. They work amazing if they have coverage for your area.
  8. Slingblade01

    Slingblade01 I Love!

    Here in the Georgia and SC coast I use a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 lite on a X-mount with the Navionics app and the free NOAA charts with no problems at all. I also picked up a waterproof case to protect it from the elements.
  9. jmrodandgun

    jmrodandgun Well-Known Member

    I tried and tired to make a tab work as a chartplotter. It worked surprisingly well all considering. I think it's biggest advantage was the battery and it's biggest draw back was being able to read the damn thing in direct sunlight.

    When it was all said and done with, I opted for a Elite 7. Factory refurb Elite-7 HDI unit from Lorwance is $400. By the time you get a tab and a waterproof case the price difference is negligible at best and you get the option to use the sonar as the unit ships with a transducer.
  10. ekimmicroskiff

    ekimmicroskiff '14 EC Vantage

    My Garmin 740s GPS failed a couple of weeks ago as I was pulling out of Islamorada headed for Flamingo.  In a pinch, we used the Navionics app on an iPhone 5 and actually worked extremely well for navigation and was surprisingly accurate.  The one exception was a left I took in the dark (around 9:45PM...pitch black) on the ocean side coming out of the channel by Bud and Mary's and heading north....thank goodness it was just sand.  The Navionics app was off by about 3-7 yards. 
  11. DWJensen

    DWJensen I Love!

    We carry a Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet on board our big boat as a backup to our Garmin 7012.  The tablet is a WiFi  only model (no cell) and has a great GPS that works everywhere.  It's an Android device and we use the MX Mariner app which gives great info.  One of the things we really like about MX Mariner is that it incorporates Active Captain info so you have current (as of you last synch) info from other boaters.
  12. MSG

    MSG I Love!

    Look on the florida sportsman forums for egret boat forum. Look up the Florida Marine tracks thread. FMT is a special chip with incredible imagery (better than anything else out by alot) as well as routes and shortcuts for the entire state. For the everglades especially - there is nothing like it. It will show you all kinds information due to the quality of the imagery - however - it only works on navico units. I have it with a simrad nss7 evo2 -and it has found me lots of new ways to go and new spots. Keep the phone for a backup, get a navico unit and FMT for state of the art.
  13. Backwater

    Backwater Fly Fishing Shaman

    I'll have to look into that since everything I've used past a certain point in the Glades becomes unreliable.

    Most GPS apps with cell phones/tablets uses cell tower signals. You guys who use them around Charlotte Harbor etc and around Florida, fine, they world great because you have some cell signal. There is nothing in the middle of the Glades. Sure there is some signal around Flamingo, but heading north it get's spotty in WWB. North of that, forget it. There are some towers around the south tip of Florida and upper Keys which covers a wide area of Florida Bay, thought there are a couple of dead zones between Flamingo and Key Largo on the inside. Coming from the north side of the Glades, from Marco to Everglades City, there are cell towers that reach most areas of the 10k islands. Like Anytide says, there are tower signals that can reach Pavilion, Plover and New Turkey Key. But from NTK south to Lostmans, Highlands Beach, Broad, the Shark system and towards upper WWB, and inside from Lostmans bay 5, south past Rogers River, upper Broad southward, forget it. I've yet to find anything reliable since there are absolutely no towers along 41 between those areas, plus even if there were, those areas are so far away from 41, the signals couldn't make it. So anything I do in those areas are by sight and land marks from running down there for years. I've even had Garmins and Navionics fail in those areas for some reason as well. The satellite imagining was still there, but it seemed as though they were way off and just guessing at that point. lol Even if it was as close on target as ekimmicroskiff said (which I've found to be nowhere close as that), missing the mark in the interior of "Middle Glades" by 7yrds can be the difference of you either getting back to the dock or campsite by nightfall, or spending the night, lost in an area where you have no earthly idea where you made a wrong turn at.

    I know this is off topic, but it reminds me when my wife and I went to Barbados. We had absolutely no cell or gps signals of any kind. Couldn't even find a real map on that island! After a half a day of searching, we finally found that exotic beach (I previously found via Google Earth before we went on the trip) we were looking for where she could sun/ swim and I could fly fish based on rumors of bonefish in that area. We only did that on one day for about 2 hrs total and wasting the day looking and then trying to find our way back out of there. BTW, no bonefish! :confused:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So staying around both ends of the Glades, those apps work ok. Just remember with electronics, they don't mix well with saltwater, even light spray in the air and Murphy's law can always come into play.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  14. fjmaverick

    fjmaverick Well-Known Member

    Actually you can get a stand alone gps like the garmin glo which will connect to your device by bluetooth and you can even shut off cell data if you want. This works with non data ipads also and lets you gps anywhere.
  15. CurtisWright

    CurtisWright Light, Strong, Cheap. Pick Two.

    I went from chokoloske to flamingo last fall with an iPad and navionics with a national geographic trails illustrated map and compass back up. No problems getting to the cheekees back in wwb.

    I like that you can recharge it off the boat battery and don't need a ton of AA batteries
  16. jdpber1

    jdpber1 Well-Known Member

    dipping to a few month old thread but i figured i would chime in.

    I use an iPad Mini in a Life Proof Case on a Ram Mount. it is wifi only. so i have a Garmin Glo reliever in a small (i mean tiny PELICAN case). this set up is like gold with the Navionics charts.

    I will yield this warning to those using the 3G built in GPS not he iPads. this receiver is not a satellite based receiver like the Garmin Glo. The iPad 3G receiver uses triangulation via cell towers. SO if you are deep in the Glades or Bahamas you will be SOL when signal skips. I have tested the accuracy of the Garmin Glo vs the cell triangulation with my phone and pad next to each other. And hands down the Garmin Glo is superior in pin point accuracy.

    My brother and i duck hunt in some old old abandoned rice fields and the drainage canals are 5-6 feet wide most of the time. and the GLO will keep you spot on the set tracks saved that we have made based off of old achieve maps.

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT if you are needing accurate navigation the Garmin Glo is $90 on amazon and with a $10 pelican clear top case you are $100 for a blue tooth rechargeable receiver that will get you to your remote locations.

    yobata likes this.
  17. fjmaverick

    fjmaverick Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the review. I have been on the fence for a while about getting a glo.
    jdpber1 likes this.
  18. jdpber1

    jdpber1 Well-Known Member

    i have had mine for well over a year and absolutely love it!
    Scored the Lifeproof case on Amazon for $40 shipped for the iPad Mini 2
    and i use a iPad clamp mad by Ram Mount (absolutely love Ram Mount systems. I pop the mount from the big boat to the kayak and will have a ball mount on the skiff when it is redone this summer. Also have a suction cup for the window in the truck so that my son can watch movies. So the full turn package was better money spent and it gets used all of the time compared to the money a touch Lawrence 7 with Navionics would have cost. Plus this is 1/4 the weight.

    Pelican Case 1010 with clear top


  19. fjmaverick

    fjmaverick Well-Known Member

    I see navionics now supports raymarine wifish. That will probably be the route I go with the same setup you have.

    I already have the ipad mini and ram xgrip mount.
    jdpber1 likes this.
  20. jdpber1

    jdpber1 Well-Known Member

    The X group is so perfect. I have one for the iPad and iPhone. Absolutely love my little setup. I try and spread the word when ever I can.