Navionics Marine & Lakes is an inexpensive Android app that like a chartplotter shows you your boat's position on a chart, assuming your Android smartphone or tablet has an internal or external GPS receiver, and offers several navigational and other functions.
For its relatively low price, Marine & Lakes provides a wealth of features and functions. It saves space on your device by using vector charts (rather than raster charts such as in Memory-Map and MX Mariner), so you don't have to download charts unless you head for a new region. Vector charts have less information and labeling, however, and many sailors prefer raster charts (as used in the Memory-Map and MX Marine apps for Android) that match the appearance traditional paper NOAA charts.
Version reviewed: Marine & Lakes: USA Version 2.2 - $9.99 (Canadian version also available - $14.99)
Tested on Lenovo A1 Tablet running Android 2.3
- Price includes entire US coasts and Great Lakes vector charts (download for offline use)
- Shows boat's moving position on chart (on GPS-enabled devices) with optional line-of-course projection ahead
- Chart screen always shows current speed (but not heading)
- Zoom and pan, always automatically scaled for appropriate level of detail
- Can show and save track logs, routes
- Routes easily made and saved
- Share photos, tracks, and routes online (social media)
- Chart overlaps include points of interest and "community" layer
- Tool for measuring distances between points
- When online, includes wind and tide information
- Search for marinas, shops, restaurants, tide stations, etc.
- Can download Google maps and satellite views to overlay on charts
- Includes basic help screens even when offline
- Vector charts show much less information than raster charts - practically no land features or place names (compare screen shot above with same area in Memory-Map)
- The method for accessing information about chart navigational markers and community data is clunky and slow (have to drag a chart object into crosshairs and make a couple more taps)
- Waypoints can be added only within routes, limiting usefulness
- No "go to waypoint" or follow-route navigation functions
- Some users complain about the font size used for depths that is unreadable on their device
- Users have complained about buggy performance in previous versions (and having to pay for a version upgrade) - but the present version functioned fine on my test device
Navionics Marine & Lakes is a fuller plotter app and has much better features than free apps like NutiCharts Lite and Marine Charts Lite. Most important, you automatically have full charts for the area and gain additional chart information such as soundings as you zoom in.
On the other hand, while it has lots of bells and whistles like posting track logs or routes to Twitter or Facebook from within the app (I can't guess who actually needs to do that?), its actual navigation functions are much more limited than Memory-Map, my favorite app for both Android and Apple devices.
Here’s a comparison of 5 Android apps for boat charts and navigation to help you choose the one best for you.
This app as described here is available for Android devices. For Apple devices, check these apps.
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