Friday, September 10, 2010

Amazing Technology

Vergennes, Vermont

I continue to be amazed by the things that my Droid smart phone does. Today, I downloaded an HP48 scientific calculator program. The HP48 is an amazing device, but now there's no reason to buy one; my phone does all the HP48 things, including function and appearance.

For the boat, I have weather, animated weather-radar, an inclinometer, calculator, sky-map, knot guide, 3D gravity/3D manetometer/acoustic spectrum/phone-wifi signal analyzer, and also a metal detector that I can use for treasure hunting. All those apps were free. Now I also have one additional app that I paid €9.95 for. It is the Navionics chart plotter.

The Navionics plotter on the phone does basically the same thing as the Lowrance chart plotter that we've been using for 5 years. It has charts, including navigation aids, tides, currents, and depths for the whole US East Coast. The phone-based Navionics plotter doesn't need a phone signal to operate, all the charts are in the phone's memory. True, the Lowrance has more features, and true the Navionics is a battery hog on the phone. Still, for $9.95 we now have a very capable backup for a heavily used boat application.

The photo below shows the Navionics and the Lowrance screens side-by-side one day as we were underway on Lake Champlain. As you can plainly see, they basically do the same thing.

The Navionics also has functions that a traditional chart plotter never thought of. It can send a track, or a route, to email, Facebook or Twitter or pin a photo to a map. I've already thought of using that feature to create a database of Tarwathie's favorite places. It also links with Google maps so I can query it for things such as the location of the nearest laundromat.

So much and we've barely scratched the surface regarding the capabilities of these pocket machines. Truly Amazing.

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