Inside New Chartplotter Technology

We don’t normally include many electronics stories on speedonthewater.com, but being that there have been a good amount of cool, new products released for 2012, we thought we’d run through some of them with help from Ron Muller of Electronics Unlimited in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Furuno's NavNet TZtouch familyFuruno's NavNet TZtouch familyIn this segment, Muller, an avid performance boater and former offshore racer, filled us in on some of the hottest and most-advanced chartplotters on the market, and here’s a quick look at what’s available for performance boats along with links to the product information pages.

The newest member of the NavNet family from Furuno is the TZtouch. This new platform takes Furuno's award-winning TimeZero technology and injects it into the industry's first Multi-Function Display (MFD), bringing you operating gestures similar to those used on smart phones and tablets.

Navigation is simplified by using fingertips to zoom and pan around the chart and a variety of other screens. Taps, pinches and swipes are instantly transformed into useful actions and commands as the brains of the NavNet TZtouch system are based in its MFD units that feature the latest high-performance, Intel Sandy Bridge dual-core processors, allowing it to run fast enough to keep up with your performance boat. You can plug in a variety of sensors and even connect your iPad to its built-in wireless network. Depending on your boat size and need, you can choose from a 9-inch WVGA ($5,695) or a 14.1-inch WXGA ($7,695) display.

Garmin's GPSMAP 7215 chartplotterGarmin's GPSMAP 7215 chartplotterIn the go-fast world, it’s clear Garmin has a leg up on the competition. Many manufacturers turn to the company to supply full-featured chartplotters in their customers’ boats. The latest top-of-the-line products from Garmin include the GPSMAP 6000 and 7000 series plotters, which range in price from $2,899 to $6,999.

Sized from 8.4 to 15 inches and featuring a choice of keypad or touch-screen interface, the 6000/7000 series offers nearly twice the map-drawing speed of earlier GPSMAP plotters. Expanded access to onboard sensors also is provided with both NMEA 2000 and Garmin Marine Network connectivity. An optional BlueChart g2 Vision card—Garmin’s latest and greatest—enables 3-D Mariner’s Eye or Fisheye map views, as well as high-resolution satellite imagery and Auto Guidance. The BlueChart g2 maps and Vision cards also are available on Garmin’s popular 5000 series.

Raymarine's new e125 displayRaymarine's new e125 displayFrom Raymarine, the new e-Series models build upon the company’s award-winning e7 system with touch-screen technology and heavy-duty networkability. But rather than a 7-inch screen, the e95/97 and e125/127 units have 9-inch and 12.1-inch displays, respectively, that feature HybridTouch, which delivers the simplicity of touch-screen control and the confidence of full keypad control when seas are rough.

Available with or without a built-in ClearPulse digital sonar, each display is equipped with a powerful dual-core processor, plus a third dedicated graphics processor, so boaters can enjoy rapid zooming, a responsive user interface and beautiful graphics. It also includes built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

In addition to e-Series, Raymarine is launching the new c-Series multi-function displays in a 9- and 12.1-inch version. The c-Series units offer a remarkable combination of value and performance, with an easy-to-use keypad and rotary control for interacting with the simple user interface. The new e-Series and c-Series plotters range from $1,799 to $3,599.

Simrad's slim-line NSE systemSimrad's slim-line NSE systemSimrad's new NSE multi-function system combines Northstar’s legendary direct-access functionality with Simrad-Yachting’s powerful menu-driven control into an attractive low-profile platform. Designed for convenience and accessibility, the slim-line NSE system incorporates a smart interface with specific user modes that optimize the system and maximize functionality for different boating uses and needs.

NSE systems also feature Simrad SunView screens that incorporate low-power white LED backlighting technology. Available in 8- and 12-inch screen sizes, Simrad SunView displays offer a full 120-degree viewing angle, making the NSE the ideal multifunction display for every lighting condition. Prices range from $2,899 to $5,497.

Packed with features, Simrad also offers the NSS Sport designed for ease of use. Its Touch Sensible technology provides quick and efficient access to the information that boaters need, and its combination of touch-screen, keypad and a Simrad-Yachting signature rotary-control knob enables users to remain in complete control in any boating situation. Prices range from $1,599 to $5,299.