Monday, August 25, 2008

iNavX 1.0.2 & a Week of Use

Version 1.0.2 came out today and adds the much sought after and promised overview zoom. I think this will do a lot for usability of the software as a near primary navigation solution at least for short trips. I was surprised to see that the link to ayetides has disappeared, but since it quits iNavX and launches Ayetides I guess it probably doesn't need a link on the main chart page.

I also got the chance to use iNavX extensively on our cruise last week. Even with the pilothouse just steps away, I found I used the iPhone a lot in the cockpit for a closer look when coming into or leaving harbors (or when passing through restricted channels). When entering The Basin, I used it while standing on the bow looking for shallows and pointing out lobster pots to see were we were on the chart as well as to have a remote depth meter using the boat instruments over wifi. I think the iPhone will find its home in the cockpit while sailing Visions. Hopefully they will figure out how to deal with international charts for cruising to further points.

With extended use, I did discover one fairly minor annoyance. If you let your iphone fall asleep, the wifi doesn't come on fast enough and iNavX looses the wifi instruments and reverts back to the built in GPS. On the other hand, I found the onboard GPS to be better than I had previously thought. I did find that the jumpiness of the chart recentering as the COG shifted around with "keep ship in view" on was distracting so I found myself shutting that on and off a lot. It would be nice to be able to zoom around and then center on the boat with a single click of course I am not sure you want to give up the screen space for such a feature. Also, in 1.0.1 the download speed when downloading a chart was removed which is a bummer. Not sure if this was a request by Apple or not, but it was nice to get an idea of just how fast a connection you were really getting when trying to download a chart. This was especially missed when trying to download then next chart with a very weak edge connection when sailing up Blue Hill Bay.

1.0.2 also supports some new NMEA sentences and AIS targets. Now if the FCC can just approve Class B so we can all have affordable AIS transceivers.

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