Free, charts start at $40 per region; www.nobeltec.com
I haven’t actually cruised with the Nobeltec TimeZero iPad app yet but I was able to preview it before it made it to the iTunes store last week and I have already seen its excellent (Bad Elf Pro-powered) tracking while underway in car and dinghy. The “most advanced marine navigation app for the iPad on the market” claim is quite bold, and I always tend to think that such judgments are quite subjective, but TZ is remarkably able and polished right out of the gate. And while there are lots of valuable charting features it doesn’t support—more on that in a moment—I’m not sure there’s another app that does core navigation so beautifully.
When I recently raved about Furuno TZT chartplotting, I had no idea that so much of the experience could be transferred to an iPad. But the same MaxSea developers who seem to be behind all the TZ products (including their own version of the TZ app eventually) certainly pulled it off. It’s not just that some of the same MapMedia charts along with PhotoFusion satellite images blend, zoom, pan, and go 3-D in the same smooth manner, though that’s huge. The app developers also manage to include much of the plotter control and route-making sophistication you’ll see on the high-end TZ displays and PC programs, and make them very easy to use on an iPad.
I sometimes get frustrated with many charting apps because they’re missing some route functions and/or the functions are hard to manage with a fingertip. Touchscreen object picking is tricky business and I’m probably more demanding than most because I’m currently using an iPad mini and Dupuytren’s contracture has some of my fingers pretty crooked up (in fact, I’m going in for more surgery and may not be typing well for a while). But picking routes, waypoints, and marks on the TZ screen always seems easy and I always seem to find whatever option I might need.
This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.