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Chart plotter, sonar gear and mapping devices

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Chart plotter, sonar gear and mapping devices

Old 11-15-2016, 07:20 AM
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Default Chart plotter, sonar gear and mapping devices

Hey folks,

I'm looking in to a new setup for a boat, but unsure whether to choose Navico, Navionics, Simrad, Lowrance, B&G, Garmin, Humminbird, Raymarine or something else. I would really like to hear the pros and cons of each setup and on which criteria one is better than the other.

A few questions of interest are:
Which is the best for lake or fresh water fishing?
Which is best for coastal?
Which offers the best connectivity to mobile devices?
Which has the best maps?
Which offers the best solutions for generating maps and saving them?
Which offers the best integration with other devices, mobile and online sources?

I look forward to your answers. Thanks!
Old 11-15-2016, 08:05 AM
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This is a very broad question. On this forum you're also going to get very opinionated answers. Unfortunately, there is no real consumer reports like review source for marine electronics. Another factor is that the electronics industry is constantly creating new products at different price points that suit different uses and budgets. I think you'd be better off starting with your boat information, typical usage, budget, and must have requirements to get a better more focused answer.
Old 11-15-2016, 07:53 PM
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On the mapping side, I am a Marine Specialist for Navionics and can tell you that they have the broadest chart offering for fresh and saltwater.

Check out their WebApp to see what their charts look like for the areas you fish frequently, then if I can assist you with specific product information I would be very happy to do so.

http://webapp.navionics.com/?lang=en#boating@6&key=%7BaagErn%7DmQ
Old 11-16-2016, 04:52 AM
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Hey guys, thanks for the quick replies.

Just to be clear and elaborate on what I'm in the market for, I've gotten myself a Shearwater 25 LTZ and need to get gear for that.

Presumably I'll be spending a fair amount of time on the great lakes, but I've also considered driving down the east coast and spending some time in Florida. After all both our lakes and coasts have great options for beautiful scenery and exciting fishing.

However, I'm unsure what gear i should mount on the boat. I'd like to use sonar equipment to map the contours of the seabed to identify fishing hotspots and better plan my trips - especially in areas I'll be navigating a lot. If I could work on maps and plan trips from home that would be a definite plus. Naturally I want the gear to be easy to use both in board and on the computer. I'm under the impression some providers enable you to generate your own maps, but then also share maps with others and receive maps from others. I suppose this means a lot more detail on the maps used and a lot more updates to accommodate natural changes over time. Hence I'd like your reflections on which providers have such a service, why it is good/bad and pros and cons for each provider?

As for hardware I'm not sure which to get. As mentioned i'm fairly open for brands, but would generally like a household name. Budget is not the key facto, but rather functionality. Preferably the gear I end up with should be able to connect to other gear on the boat, like radar. Importantly I want updated maps with a high level of detail, which I can preferably update with the data generated from the equipment. Of course all this should help me catch the big monsters out there

In short i'm rather agnostic to gear and thus open to suggestions for setups and packages. I'd love to get your input in pros and cons for various producers and setup options. Also, I'd love to hear what you guys have done and why?

A few key questions would be:
Which gear is best for fresh water fishing?
Which is best for coastal and reef fishing?
Which has the best maps for the Great Lakes, East Coast and Florida including the deltas?
Who provides the best optionality for continuous updates of own maps and possibly connectivity to others' maps?
Who offers the best integration with mobile/ipad?
Who has the best apps?
Which gear is best for connecting to other gear on the boat and best utilise the data generated?
Who has the best platform to work the maps and plan trips from home?

Looking forward to your answers!

Thanks heaps!
Old 11-16-2016, 09:33 PM
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Your questions are way to broad to answer with anything other than vague opinion, but I'll give you mine - Garmin.

First, you need to decide on a budget - $500 - $50,000? The answer to your questions could fall anywhere in that range or even higher. Seriously.
Old 11-16-2016, 11:17 PM
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My cents...

Which gear is best for fresh water fishing?
Lowrance HDS and Humminbird Onix (the lather due to 360)
Which is best for coastal and reef fishing?
Simrad and Garmin
Which has the best maps for the Great Lakes, East Coast and Florida including the deltas?
Probably none... But if you choose a brand of chartplotter that does not lock you into one specific brand of charts that should not be a problem.
Who provides the best optionality for continuous updates of own maps and possibly connectivity to others' maps?
Navionics (ie every brand but Garmin)
Who offers the best integration with mobile/ipad?
Lowrance/Simrad and then Garmin
Who has the best apps?
Same as above
Which gear is best for connecting to other gear on the boat and best utilise the data generated?
It depends a bit on the "other gear", but generally speaking all the top-end models from the major brands are pretty good.
Who has the best platform to work the maps and plan trips from home?
Technically you can pretty much do the same thing with all the major brands apart from Humminbird. Whos software is the easiest to use is mostly a question of personal preference. Personally I like the Raymarine/ Navionics-version.

I might add that I run Simrad and Lowrance in my own boat. The main reason for this is their mapping, there are no other brands with more options on mapping. But I spend a lot of time in more or less uncharted-waters, where small 3.-party maps are the only ones of any worth so for me using a lot of different maps is a key factor.

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