Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple Charts

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: Marine Charts and navigation
Cost: $9.99
Rating: ***

Simple Charts is a newly released navigation app for use by the weekend or professional navigator. The app delivers a simple and easy to used interface that allows the user to seamlessly navigate using NOAA raster charts.  Fisherman, sailors, cruisers or kayakers can make use of this app to keep track of their favorite fishing spots or find their way home through the fog. There are plenty of GPS tracking apps out there using the NOAA raster charts. This one has a few additional features that you might enjoy.

  • Real time GPS tracking on the charts.
  • Includes digital compass
  • All US NOAA charts are included for offline use. No need to buy additional regions or charts.
  • Charts are very nicely stitched together for seamless transition from one to the next. Zooming in or out of a region brings up the proper chart.
  • Charts cover all US Coastal Waters, Great Lakes and US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
  • Charts are updated automatically every 7 days. No need to download or buy new charts.
  • Use the charts off or online. Browsed charts are downloaded and cached on the device and are available for use while not connected to the Internet.
  • Waypoints can be added and saved for later use. Simply tap and hold your finger on the screen to create waypoints. Coordinates can also be added to create waypoints.
  • Displays real time statistics of latitude, longitude, heading, speed, VMG, DW and TTG.
  • Calculate the distance and time to a waypoint
  • Share your position data through email.
  • Includes additional map types including Google maps, Openstreet Maps, and Open Topos.
  • Metric, imperial and nautical units
  • Decimal and DMS coordinates
The app does a great job in providing features that make it very usable without a lot of clutter. The basic features of GPS tracking and waypoints makes it very functional.  I found it easy to use and I had no trouble creating a few waypoints and tracking my position while I navigated to them.

The compass and instrument data are displayed under the Instruments soft key at the bottom of the app.

Different units for Latitude, Longitude, Distance, Speed and map overlays can be selected under the Settings tab.

I like the app and would suggest it to the casual user. I am making it number 8 on my Top 10 best charting apps. If you need additional features like points of interest, more instruments or weather overlays, check out some of the Top 10 Best Charting Apps on my site. The $9.99 price might be a little too high compared to some other apps with more features on the top 10 list.

Sail on /)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Captains Tool Box

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: Marine Reference
Rating: **
Cost: $4.99

The Captains Tool Box is loaded with tons of information and resources for the rookie or professional mariner.  This is the ultimate reference app for your iPhone or iPad.  Ever wonder who has the right of way at sea or what those lights at night mean when approaching other ships. Now you can pull our your phone and access this information quickly.

This app will replace your library of resource books and manuals and allow your to quickly and easily access a host of nautical information while on the water. All data is stored on your device so it can be viewed and used offline.


COLREGS - The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 
The app contains the digitized version published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  The app provides easy access at sea or for study on land. It’s easier to use and more assible than the paper version and always at your fingertips.

Maritime Navigation Lights and Shapes

The app has an interactive and comprehensive collection of navigation lights and shapes both the USCG twilight images and zero light graphic renderings from each prospective. This tool is designed for instant access at the helm or when studying for your COLREGS exams.

GPS Position

Quickly determine your longitude and latitude if you are running this app on your iPhone.

Navigation Chart Symbols

Every symbol the USCG uses is listed here in an easy to use wheel selector. Simply spin the symbol wheel with your thumb and the definition of the corresponding chart symbol will be displayed in the window below.

Maritime Flags

Ever wonder what that flag means over on that other boat? Just spin the flag wheel, stop on the flag in question and the definition will be displayed instantly. We have also included the description common uses for these flags in modern day etiquette.

SOLAS Symbols

SOLAS symbols, stickers and signs are listed here along with their meaning for use on-board or to prep for your IMO exams.

Marine VHF and SSB Radio

Procedures, examples, phonetic alphabet, channels and frequencies for VHF users in the USA, Canada and internationally (MCA).

SSB users will enjoy fast access to frequencies for Marine SSB, Marine Distress R/T & DSC, HF Ship to Ship, Simplex HF, Yachtsmans Nets, HF Coastal Stations, MF & HF Global Coastguard Stations (MRCC) and Distress & Safety (SAR) communication.

Unit Converter

Every conversion you can think of and a hundred more. Whether it’s a simple fuel conversion from UK Gallons to Liters or a complicated Flow-Mass calculation, this tool has more conversions than any master mariner or naval architect will ever need

Glossary of Maritime and Yachting Terms

1383 terms used from ocean going ships to lake boats have been compiled in this fast and easy to use index.


This image catalog boasts real photos of common cloud formations along with their meteorological definitions, and what can be learned and predicted from reading these atmospheric phenomena

Morse Code

Help in decoding those dits and dahs. Either search the Morse code tool by graphics or alpha numeric.

Weather Wind Barbs

Offers quick reference to common wind charting systems. This tool boasts wind speed cross reference between Knots, MPH, direction, etc

Sound Signals

Quickly reference and learn all the sound signals needed for maneuvering and passing situations both on the high seas and inland waterways.

The app is a very useful tool to access almost any reference material needed while navigating at sea or in coastal waters.  For $5 bucks it is well worth the price.  There are free apps out there providing some of this information. This app combines them all in one place for easy access.