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Fine line between recreation and degeneracy.
1978 mako 17
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It looks like everyone is running simrad. I grabbed a discount 7” garmin CV a few years back right before the model change. I have zero issues down in flamingo. But I think everyone has way higher expectations for their plotters than I do. When I first started going down to flamingo we would just use navionics app on the phone. But I have no problems navigating with my unit. And I want to say it was $450 when I picked her up.
 

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I run a Garmin 94SV. The mapping is absolutely worthless in Hell's Bay and the deep reaches of the rivers emptying into Whitewater Bay. It's difficult to tell how accurate the mapping is on any particular brand of GPS without actually having it "on location". You might specify the areas that you routinely fish and perhaps members from your area can post useful recommendations.
 

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BBA Counselor
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After playing with my friends I went with Lowrance elite-9 ti when it went on sale last year. You should be able to get the ti2 now in 7 or 9 inches for pretty cheap. They come with both C-maps, and Navionics platinum, but can run FMT if needed. Side scan, down scan..... all that stuff too.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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If you don’t need NMEA2000 capability, look at Simrad Cruise9. Very good unit and on sale at West Marine
 

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If you don’t need NMEA2000 capability, look at Simrad Cruise9. Very good unit and on sale at West Marine
The Cruise is nothing more than a Lowrance HOOK in a simrad Box. Probably the least capable units in the market with very limited software. And they are incapable of running any charts that have imagery. It runs cartoon maps only. It is an entry level unit best suitable for beginners who are not serious boaters.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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The Cruise is nothing more than a Lowrance HOOK in a simrad Box. Probably the least capable units in the market with very limited software. And they are incapable of running any charts that have imagery. It runs cartoon maps only. It is an entry level unit best suitable for beginners who are not serious boaters.
So you are saying you don’t like it? :rolleyes:
It has a micro SD card slot and can run Navionics+ charts. 9” color screen with CHIRP transducer for $500-600. OP asked a very broad question. I gave an option on the less expensive side. Having a zillion dollar charting unit with satellite imagery overlay to run your boat does not qualify you as a “serious boater.” I hope it never has an issue and goes out.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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I have a Simrad Go9 XSE and would not get another.
 

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So you are saying you don’t like it? :rolleyes:
It has a micro SD card slot and can run Navionics+ charts. 9” color screen with CHIRP transducer for $500-600. OP asked a very broad question. I gave an option on the less expensive side. Having a zillion dollar charting unit with satellite imagery overlay to run your boat does not qualify you as a “serious boater.” I hope it never has an issue and goes out.
People who are truly serious about anything where equipment is commonplace rarely would choose the cheapest equipment option because you always get what you pay for. But as you note, having more capable equipment doesn't necessarily mean you are serious let alone knowledgeable.
 

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Simrad Evo 3 has a good user interface and can run FMT. However, their reputation for customer service sucks the worst of any manufacturer so hopefully you never a problem with them.

Garmin has exceptional customer service but you're limited to Garmin maps. Would I use Garmin base map? Absolutely not but the Vision maps seem to have worked fine. In fact, I may be in the minority here because I somehow have navigated a 21' flats boat thru Flamingo, Chokoloskee, and 10K islands for years with Garmin Vision maps without killing myself or tearing my boat up. I'm still convinced guys that need aerial photos are not comfortable reading topo maps at speed in a moment's notice.

Now, if Isla mapping is more accurate than Navonics Platinum + charts and Garmin G3 Vision charts and you can turn off the photos to better see the contour lines... then that would make me very happy. (Yes, I already know the purported answer)

I love the Raymarine Axiom chartplotters too but they are expensive and don't work with FMT either.
 

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Would I use Garmin base map? Absolutely not but the Vision maps seem to have worked fine. I'm still convinced guys that need aerial photos are not comfortable reading topo maps at speed in a moment's notice.

Now, if Isla mapping is more accurate than Navonics Platinum + charts and Garmin G3 Vision charts and you can turn off the photos to better see the contour lines... then that would make me very happy. (Yes, I already know the purported answer)
Garmin Topo maps you can use to navigate anywhere with in the 10,000 islands with no other user provided data added to it to follow? Now that is funny. And using something like that, particularly created by Garmin, in lieu of quality hi res images of what is actually there and trying to make a case that a topo map alone is a superior aid to actual imagery? Respectfully, I have to say that is laughable. These Garmin chart creators are responsible for motivating hundreds of threads on numerous blogs by hundreds of boaters over about 10 years with a title something like "my garmin shows me running on land". If you use it to make navigation decisions in the 10,000 islands when you can't see well, you will really will be on the topo for sure.

Garmin Vision charts are dangerous in many areas because they are inaccurate in so many places and severely lacking in all kinds of important detail in the Everglades including hundreds of navigational hazards and aids. Even the poll and troll zones are totally missing. It is not opinion. It is what it is as any side by side comparison shows. Even if you did turn off the photos on the ISLA charts, the contours and accuracy of the many thousands of bars provided just in the 10,000 islands alone totally blows away any Garmin controlled chart.

It has been my experience, that Garmin chart defenders who say they find it adequate, when questioned, really are not actually using the charts much at all. Rather, they are actually navigating based on their own data they put on top of the chart. Their own tracks and waypoints are added to the chart and chart just acts like a placeholder or canvas. Without their own added data, the chart does not provide the information needed to know exactly what to do. So it is not really the chart that works. It’s their own data they added to it that works. That is really something right there that so many people with a Garmin actually have to make their own chart data to know how to safely navigate because they can't make it without it.

High quality imagery in shallow water areas that you can zoom into with great clarity will always be far more accurate and easier to read on the fly than any topo chart. And Garmin provides so few contour lines in the Everglades it is not even worth trying to discuss how they could actually be used to safely navigate any reasonable distance. The detail they provide is a joke and that is no joke.

Here is a test for you that is full proof. When the tide is low, turn off all of your own created tracks and waypoints and use only the chart. See if you can leave Choko and hit the S curve at night or in poor light and run a few miles of wilderness waterway and creeks without running aground and not idling the entire way. An even better test would be to take someone else who never made those runs before and see if they can do it. If you or even better a person unfamiliar can do it running primarily on the chart, the chart is a good chart. If you can’t use it to accomplish that without following your own waypoints and previous tracks it is not a good chart. If the chart works well, you should never need to see your own created waypoints and tracks as a navigational aid.
 

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Egrets Landing,

Look, I think you have a quality product and I'm not putting the product down. In fact, I may go Simrad next in order to use it. It's natural that you are proud of your product. However, it should stand on it's merits without criticizing other users' products as "laughable". You may think it's laughable that I can navigate the backwaters of 10K islands and chokoloskee and flamingo with a Garmin but that is exactly what I've been doing for years now. At some point when you were running your Egret around to develop FMT you were doing so without the benefit of your now mature FMT product. Not much different than me running my Egret around now.

As I've said in several other posts... I may be interested in FMT if I can turn the photos off if I decide to do so. You have answered that I can do that so I'm looking forwad to trying it out. A friend of mine bought a Simrad just for FMT and I'm looking forward to trying on his skiff prior to spending $4K switching chartplotters.

Maybe I have a different perspective due to flying Army scout-attack helos day and night at tree top level and below for over 25 years using topo maps for navigation. When we upgraded our software around 2004 to have high-res imagry just like your FMT imagry, it actually hindered cross-country terrain flight navigation at speed so guys would turn them off. It was actually more dangerous due to the amount of information on the screen that actually added nothing to safety; it was more a false of security and a distraction than useful. So, like I said.. maybe I'm more comfortable reading topo maps than your average guy who really doesn't understand what he's looking at.

Another advantage to countour lines in a little deeper water is that I can visualize the shape and slope of river bottoms, holes, and mounts better than I can see with 2D aerial images. That helps in identifying deeper areas that I hope may be holding fish. No, it doesn't show rocks, logs, and structure but it does indicate the shape and slope of the bottom as long as it is significant.

In summary... if Isla charting is more accurate and you can turn off the photos or use the photos if you wish than it is indeed the best of all worlds and you have my money. Though, I do believe a lot of guys are enamored with the "wow factor" of looking at a pretty image because they don't know a sadlde from a ledge or how to read contour slope.

Your last paragraph about low light routes you've never run before does have merit and those red lines would come in handy. It's those vetted red lines that I belive makes FMT so valuable not the high-res photos. Give me the red lines on an accurate topo chart without imagery covering them up and I bet I would be happy! As I understand it, FMT red lines shows the safe route and the yellow lines show the edges of hazards but it doesn't do anything for the area off the vetted red line away from the yellow lined hazards. In that situation those aerial photos nor 1' contour lines help much where you can't tell if the water is 6 inches, 12 inches, or 18 inches at mean low tide. You just have to read the water at that point which is exactly what guys have been doing for generations.

Something never discussed when these threads pop up is that navigation is not the sole function of a chartplotter. Whiile this may be microskiff and there are guys out there regulary sightfishng flats on the pole, go out to 10K islands or flamingo and the vast majority of guys are blind casting mangrove shorlelines (same as salt marsh up north). We spend about 30 minutes running to spots on any given day and then spend 6-8 hours blind casting to areas we hope hold fish.

While Raymarine and Navico unit's have a more usefull sonar visulaization for offshore guys than Garmin, for inshore guys Garmin's Live Scope mounted on the trolling motor last I checked had far superior performance to any live sonar offerings from Lowrance or Simrad. Point being, there is more to catching fish and more to consider in a chartplotter than the charts it runs to get you there. If that is something a person wants then you can't currently beat the Garmin.
 
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