Thursday, November 03, 2011

iPhone Nautical Chart Navigator

Opening page

I have two GPS handheld chart plotters; they are an Etrex Legend by Garmin and an Expedition ‘C’ by Lowrance. If they were both to fail, I could resort to using a GPS application I downloaded to my iPhone. In practice, this plotter is very good indeed, and I would like to tell you about it.

Firstly, it’s cheap. For only £13.99 you have an application giving coverage for UK waters, including those around the shores of Ireland. As far as I am aware, charts are updated on a regular basis, with no further expenditure. The name of the app is, ‘Flytomap GPS Map Navigator. You can download it directly through your iPhone from iTunes Applications. My phone is a 3G model, but I’m sure it will work with the 3Gs and probably a 4.

Offline moded

Fytomap Chart Navigator offers four operating modes: Offline, Streets, Outdoor and Hybrid. The ship’s position is represented by a red arrowhead. As she moves, so does the symbol. Charts can be zoomed in or out, and they all have a nautical mile distance scale. With the flick of a finger, you can pan charts in any direction, and for landscape or portrait viewing, simply orientate the phone to be horizontal or upright.

Hybrid mode

In all modes, the Navigator depicts coloured Admiralty style charts containing their usual features, i.e., soundings lines, buoys, navigational marks, water depths etc. By pressing an icon that resembles a stereotypic satellite, the yacht’s latitude and longitude can be ascertained, also her speed and heading.

It is not necessary for the phone to be connected to the Internet to obtain chart data. You simply have to have the phone in Offline mode. Incidentally, in this mode, there are no charges for downloading data, because all necessary information is programmed into the phone’s memory.

Street mode requires Internet access through GPRS, which provides Google road maps and associated information. Tap your finger on a feature, and a popup will appear with pertinent information; for example, it will inform of a buoy’s shape, its purpose and colour, along with the name.

The Outdoor mode adds roadways, footpaths, horse tracks, railway lines, woodlands - similar to Ordnance Survey maps. In Hybrid mode the screen resembles Google Earth with most of its features. You can zoom in and out for as much or as little detail you might want. The application has other features, such as geo-tagging for photos, marking favourite places, inserting waypoints, calculating your ETA, navigate to a location; it even has a live compass providing true direction.

Bear in mind that an Internet connection is required for all modes of viewing, apart from when in Offline mode. Unless you have a good GPRS connection, none of the additional features via online modes are available, but for general navigational purposes, everything is there for you to navigate. Keeping your iPhone dry can be a bit of a problem, but there are waterproof containers specifically designed for iPhones. (See links below)

I recommend ‘Flytomap GPS Map Navigator for iPhone, because it is easy to use and it gives value for money.


I get no financial reward for doing this review. I have no vested interest in ‘Flytomap’. Please accept that if you try the application and it doesn’t work for you, that is entirely your own risk. I cannot be held accountable or responsible for what you may do. On the other hand I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Text for the Day

1 Corinthians 16:13, 14 ‘Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.’


Description of the Application

iDry Waterproof iPhone Case

iDry Waterproof Phone Case for 3G/3Gs Review

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