Navionics App for the iPhone review E-mail
Written by Allen Bushnell   
Tuesday, 18 May 2010 08:14

It is hard to make a case for bringing any device on the water that connects you to the rest of the world while kayak fishing but your iPhone might be the exception. The Navionics App for the iPhone is GPS and charter plotter software that works off a satellite signal even when there is no cell signal. The technology is pretty straight forward, you purchase the App for your region (I was able to get the East Coast for $14.99), download it to your iPhone and you’re ready to go. navionics app

I have owned a couple of handheld GPS units so I sort off knew what to expect with seeing charts as I kayak an area. What I didn’t expect is how much more functional the iPhone and Navionics App are together compared to handheld GPS. The first feature that got my immediate attention was the zoom function. It works by moving your two fingers on the screen. It’s so easy.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re zooming in or out, showing wider areas of the chart is a breeze. For test purposes I took my handheld GPS (uses the same Navionics chart software) along to see how they compare. I found the iPhone to be much easier to navigate, whether it was setting a waypoint, starting a track or following a route.  The screen on the iPhone is actually bigger than on my Lowrance GPS and it was easier to view.  There were times I did have to change the angle in direct sunlight.  I really like the Google Map overlay which lets you see the actual satellite view before it switches over to chart view. This lets you really relate the chart to the actual coastline.Iphone next to GPS

I also had an opportunity to compare what the chart was showing me and compare it to what was on my kayak’s depth finder, for the most part it was pretty close and you can’t expect it to be exact especially in areas with lots of drop offs and shoals but it was close enough to help you find ridges or the edge of flats. You can do all the standard stuff like saving routes, get moon phase, sunup and sunset times and marking waypoints all in a super simple manner.  It has a very user friendly menu with clearly marked touch buttons. The Navionics App and your iPhone can act as all in one information source while on the water.  You can easily see tides for any given area or currents for a waterway, figure out distances, see your current and average speeds and of course locate areas that look fishy. My phone also has additional apps that show me current weather and wind forecasts.

The app is also loaded with fun geotagging features so I can easily share routes, tracks, markers and either email them or send them to Facebook or Google Earth for friends to see.  What’s great is this can all done from the water! You can take photos along your route and these will be attached to your track. Here is a track I did in Jamaica Bay, NY.

A few negatives, the battery life is an issue and a long day with a lot of use will drain your battery within 10 hours so you have to keep that in mind. The iPhone does not play well with water so you have to get a waterproof case; I used one from Otterbox and all the touch features worked fine.

Iphone waterproof case from Otterbox

If you have an iPhone (more phones to follow), the Navionics App is pretty much a no-brainer, at between $4.99 and $14.99 it can turn your phone into a fully functional GPS and chart plotter that can help your find areas that will produce fish and then help you find them again. It will also act as a safety device that can get you home quickly if the fog rolls in or you get lost. This along with some fun features that allow you to share trip info with friends makes the Navionics App a perfect companion for the kayak fisherman.

For more info go Navionics.com

 

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