MIBS #3: Fugawi, Rose Point, MapTech, & Nobeltec Trident
I sense that PC-based navigation is about to enjoy a renaissance after a long period during which rapidly-advancing MFDs stole its thunder. I can think of several reasons (and you may have more): Decent performance PCs have gotten less expensive and tougher; NMEA 2000 can feed them more data, more easily (thanks in large part to Actisense); the various mobile platforms so many of us want to fool with on board usually relate well to the less mobile platforms that can also work well on many boats; and, finally, MaxSea and Furuno are showing everyone how powerfully a PC can fit into high-end marine electronics systems. One company that will participate in this renaissance, I’m pretty sure, is Fugawi…
While I find the interface to Fugawi’s flagship Marine ENC charting program rather clunky, I’m told that’s going to change, and there’s no denying the modern power (and high value) behind the antiquated interface. In fact, it seems that Fugawi has devoted a lot of its resources in recent years to innovations like X-Traverse and partnership projects like Navionics NavPlanner2. Apparently its development team was also doing lots of contract work outside the boating world — a strategy many smaller marine electronics companies have gone with during the hard times — but that’s changing too.
Longtime Fugawi President (and sharp guy) Robin Martel recently became its owner, and he’s focused on taking the marine product line to the next level. As seen above, for instance, Fugawi ENC recently got integration with Avia Motor and Sail instrumentation software (discussed here in its infancy), which Fugawi also distributes as a standalone product along with compatible Actisense hardware. But the really tantalizing news that Robin shared is that Fugawi is involved in two significant partnership projects with major marine hardware companies and that while the direct results will be interesting, the deals also mean that future Fugawi products will benefit from the developement work. That’s all I know, but it sounds interesting!
But here’s the mood swing part: As the demo proceeded I was strongly reminded about how good TimeZero charting software is, and I’ve actually used it! (Though perhaps not on the ideal PC.) So if marketing TZ under a new, yet familiar brand helps raise awareness of what the MaxSea team created, that’s a good thing. And, besides, I understand that going forward the Nobeltec team will get to add further customization to the TZ core, and thus MS TZ and Trident will slowly grow apart. But when I get around to putting up some neat Time Zero screens I took on Gizmo l
ast fall — which I’ve tardy about — they’ll illustrate two software packages at once, at least for a while.
Navigation Programs For PC
September 7, 2004
Nobeltec VNS & Admiral 11, the preview
November 2, 2010
MaxSea buys Nobeltec, now what?
October 2, 2009
Hello Nobeltec TimeZero Odyssey, goodbye VNS?
December 5, 2011