Next month I'll profile the exciting new Raymarine G-Series and Furuno NavNet 3D systems, both of which are actually powerful PCs, though dedicated almost entirely to navigation. Maptech pioneered this concept, along with the touch-screen nav interface, way back in 2001, first with the Sea Ray Navigator and then its own i3. Now the latest generation of that software is being offered on either a Motion tablet PC or a Samsung UMPC (ultra mobile PC) by Maptech's sales subsidiary Captn Jack. I tried the $2,799 Motion system and thought the software ran smoothly with its stylus, though I look forward to the day when Motion can combine its extra-bright 12-inch screen with both stylus and finger control, finger being easier to use at a bouncy helm. Nonetheless, the package, with its wireless Bluetooth GPS and exceptionally intuitive interface, is a pleasure to use on a boat or most anywhere else (street mapping and standard home/office programs are included). Maptech also discontinued the i3, making partner Faria the sole manufacturer of dedicated hardware for Touch Screen Navigator (see "Gauges to GUIs," June 2007), a good idea that will hopefully give Maptech time to add more features like AIS plotting to its pioneering software.
This article originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.