People often ask me advice on navigation apps for iPhone. To choose ? Here is a selection, of course not exhaustive. These are the ones I kept, après en avoir testé et « poubellisé » plus d’une, and I use routinely. You will find the first key : iNavX and AyeTides obviously, then necessary, finally additional. Follow the guide…
Only one nautical application for access to hundreds of charts covering the world : Navionics Gold , NOAA raster charts, CHS Canada, Discovery Hiking maps and other, can be purchased separately from the website X-Traverse.com.
With iNavX you can use the geolocation provided with the iPhone (GPS, cellular) to track your location in real time on the chart. Using the WiFi connection of the iPhone or iPod Touch, iNavX becomes repeater of shipping software that supports NMEA data exchange through TCP / IP as MacENC, GPSGate or MaxSea. This includes data from GPS, receivers / AIS transponders, instruments (Sounder, Log Speedometer, wind transducer, autopilot, etc). iNavX supports the management of waypoints, routes, tracks, queries and display grib weather files on the chart. The software allows sending tracks and waypoints by mail without leaving the application.
This application provides hours and heights of tides and currents for more than 9900 stations, more than 180 stations in France, until year 2100. Search closest stations (geolocation enabled), geographical search, alphabetical search, etc. Storing favorite stations.
The tides data are displayed in text format as iPhone is handed portrait position, and graphically in landscape position. Hours of sunrise and sunset and moon, moonphase, display stations in Google Maps. Automatic local times and heights of units depending on country of location of stations (meters, feet, fathoms).
AyeTides, once installed, can be called directly from iNavX to provide the stations closest to the ship's position.
Maps & Google Earth
Needless to submit the application Maps provided in the OS 3.0 in iPone. It allows me to switch the map charting the land keeping my GPS location on the rare occasions when I moved into an amphibious vehicle ! Joking aside, I often positioned trademarks of interesting places in plans not to overload iNavX too many waypoints.
Google Earth allows me to explore the planet in advance. It can also be used to view the positions and tracks sent by mail by friends yachtsmen using iNavX or MacENC. Very useful sometimes to find out a bay, a safety anchorage shown on the chart, However, when image resolution is sufficient.
La Chaine Météo
A comprehensive weather forecast for terrestrial, but allows for a very good idea of weather out for coastal. The excellent technical explanations are available on video in 3G network. Forecast terrestrial 12 days, City by city, with direction and wind, very convenient for coastal navigation.
By Weather Online, Marine forecasts as GRIB files 3 days (wind, pressures, rain and waves) and text files 12 days, for areas and customizable presets covering the Atlantic and Europe. A little long to load, actually, and a user interface a bit difficult to read : do not hesitate to use the zoom of the iPhone (double-tap with three fingers) in GRIB views. This unique application of marine weather deserves improvements, because the predictions from the’UKHO are very good quality.
SkySafari (was Sky Voyager *)
For me the best available astronomical application. Unfortunately not translated into French. Located by GPS, and if you have the compass (iPhone 3GS) you orient your iPhone in any direction and see the stars, even in broad daylight, as they appear above and below your horizon. You can also anticipate scroll through the hours and minutes to come to see what stars will appear at dusk around you. Very useful if you want to continue practicing celestial navigation.
For fans warned, un clic sur un objet vous permet d’accéder par le bouton « Info » à toutes les informations concernant l’objet, which the azimuth and declination tenth of an arcsecond, and photographic shots from NASA library . A goldmine for anyone interested in the stars, during the long night crossing. A little expensive today (it was less at launch) but it is worth its price.
This is to date the applications are most useful to me everyday, both onshore navigation. But I am far from having been around the issue, do not hesitate to let me know your findings !
[Update 16 October 2010]
(*) Sky Voyager, taken up Southern Stars Co to Carina Software, changes name changing publisher. Version 2.0 from 14 October 2010, completely rewritten, renamed SkySafari.