If you’ve ever taken a plotter—handheld or otherwise—onto lakes, you probably know how inconsistent (sometimes nonexistent) freshwater mapping is. And you shouldn’t hesitate to try HotMaps Explorer, a $20 teaser product consisting of Fugawi’s full-featured PC planning program along with 10,000 Navionics lake maps, all on one DVD, plus a coupon to download one of the many High Definition Premium HotMaps that Navionics has created using its own high-tech survey technology. Explorer may well tempt you to purchase a HotMaps chart card usable underway or Fugawi’s GPS-enabled Marine ENC program, but its planning functions are not crippled to push you that way. It’s great for viewing and printing the maps, even creating routes that can be uploaded to many plotters. Fugawi, incidently, is the first to support Navionics’ new Platinum+ chart cards on a PC and Navionics used its survey system to create its new Bahamas Special Edition, available in all three of its current card formats. Finally, a teaser of my own: Navionics has agreed to survey a lake in my hometown that hasn’t been mapped since 1948 and to let me ride along and share the experience.
This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.