Trial Run: TZ iBoat v. 2

13 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    How about a big thanks to Fred for sharing his take on TZ iBoat v2 and nav apps in general. I concur with many of his opinions, and am a long time fan of the TZ app, but I’ve also been using some of the other apps recently and there are some terrific features out there.

    Navionics Boating, for instance, still seems to have the best autorouting by a long shot, which I find very useful even with my new ability to easily build a route in TZ iBoat and have it instantly appear and activate on the Furuno TZT2 on Gizmo’s fly bridge plus TimeZero Navigator running on a PC at the lower helm. Plus, Boating now has some interesting chart alternatives besides SonarCharts, like Relief Shading, and its ability to get boat data like AIS and Depth over WiFi seems to be more stable than it was for me when it came out last year. Boating can also Plotter Sync with some MFDs and can export GPX files.

    Navionics Boating, Garmin Active Captain, Aqua Map, and other apps also have the Active Captain Community data that many boaters value for planning, while TZ iBoat does not.

    And while I hesitate to mention it, there’s a Coastal Explorer iPad app in beta testing that comes remarkably close to duplicating the elegant CE computer charting program that has long served many of us well. There isn’t a planned release date yet, but I’m liking the beta a lot. For instance, while iBoat v2’s new weather features are excellent, the CE app delivers what I typically go to first for local cruise planning — the NOAA text forecasts for my area (and sometimes adjoining areas), the nearby weather buoy conditions, and NEXRAD if rain is on tap.

    At any rate, there are many good nav apps and sometimes reason to use more than one.

  2. Grant Jenkins says:

    Great article, Fred, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with much of your commentary, especially about the drawbacks of trying to substitute an iPad onboard for a dedicated, marine-grade MFD. Sometimes, you get what you pay for….

  3. Larryo says:

    Good article, Fred and always nice to see a new app, but I’m not impressed . . . yet. First, after downloading it, it’s very awkward to just get started! No menu, no map, no settings and no tutorial, so I wrote them a short “how do I get this started” message.

    Second, it doesn’t appear to have the features I really want in a boating app. Auto routing is a MUST for me, which I use on most trips over 5 miles or so, both on Navionics and my Simrad plotters. Works fast and easy, and MUCH faster than putting in one wpt at a time. And, I really like the Sonar charts… especially finding anchoring spots off the grid. Not perfect, but saves a LOT of time.

    My second “go to” mapping is AquaMap… just lot more info, especially info on land. And easy to handle wpts, and a great display.

    Active Captain is also a must, but is interfaced on most apps, so rarely an issue.

    And still have a bunch of others including the old Garmin Blue charts.

    However, glad to see this app come out. I’m sure there will be improvements and we can watch for them.

    ===

    As for the IPad replacing plotters, I’m also on the page that says plotters are necessary. But could argue that perhaps more Ipads and fewer plotters would get the job done.

    • I think we all have somewhat differing ways of using electronics, which is why it is great that we now have four major brands from which to choose. It’s funny how different people are about features. I had autorouting available on the Garmin 8617 MFDs I used to have and hated it. I stopped using it after a few tries because it would make some poor choices and going over and reviewing the route was just as much effort as building a route is on the Furuno TZT 3. I also think Garmin did not do any of us a favor in acquiring Active Captain and agree it is unfortunate that Furuno no longer supports it on their plotters. .

      Perhaps I should have been more emphatic in noting that some of the most positive aspects of TZ iBoat relate to the Furuno “ecosystem” and will be less valuable to someone who uses and is accustomed to Simrad or another manufacturers’ products.

      • Larryo says:

        Fred,

        What did you not like about Garmin’s autorouting? Did it just do a lousy job? Reason I ask is that I’m boat shopping and want to keep that feature in mind for future chart plotters. My Simrad autorouting was excellent, but not perfect. It would occasionally run me aground, but extremely rare. Seems to be flawless about 95% of the time and the AP would just follow if (if there were no other boats).

        So, if the Garmin is not up to snuff, I’ll stay with Simrad. Not sure about Raymarine, but believe they also have autorouting.

        • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

          Hi Larryo, Many Simrad MFDs support both C-Map and Navionics autorouting, so if you were using the latter, the algorithms are similar to what you see in Navionics Boating (and very good in my experience).

          By contrast, I’ve fairly often seen Garmin autorouting ignore dangerous ledges here in Maine and make other mistakes further south. And that includes the brand new top of line Garmin system owned by the Ethernet inventor I wrote about a few weeks ago.

          But then again, Garmin owns Navionics, so it seems quite possible that the excellent Navionics autorouting will eventually get into Garmin plotters.

          By the way, by default Navionics Boating sends user tracks as well as depths along the tracks to Navionics (for SonarCharts), and I strongly suspect that Navionics uses those tracks in their autorouting, which is one reason it’s so good.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Larryo, If you go to the TZ iBoat v2 main menu (TZ icon upper left), and then to About, you can “Show Tips” which are moderately useful for understanding what’s behind the minimalistic interface buttons.

      Also if you go to Initial Setup in the same menu, you can turn on “Demo Mode” and then if you tap the Boat Icon (upper right) you’ll find yourself going 6 knots off downtown Miami with charts and even radar overlay.

      Finally, one of my favorite iBoat features is the photo fusion satellite layer. The sat photos on land are very high resolution and in shallow areas they’re allowed to show thru under the chart information. Quite beautiful looking, I think, and sometimes darn useful. For instance, check out the marina and shallow reef detail around Miami.

      • Larry Olson says:

        Thx much Ben… I can’t even get the app opened! Can’t get past the welcome screen. Wants me to add a “catch” or photos, which I just don’t see the point.

  4. James B says:

    Just a heads up that I think the link to Fred’s July Furuno article is incorrect and should be https://www.panbo.com/furuno-tzt3-on-the-water/.

    Regardless, nice write-up!

  5. Brian Kelly says:

    I like this app, and it’s integration into Furuno. It’s feature-packed with excellent tools.
    Now, one big issue I have is with the vector charts. A heads up to anybody purchasing for Lake Huron(Georgian Bay). They are missing information in sections of the charts; I don’t mean a few depth values; I’m talking complete areas with no data. Also, there is minimal info on marinas/gas docks compared to Navionics.
    I’ve contacted Nobletec about the issue, and they told me they are working on it. They recently switched to official CHS Vector data for Canadian water (to get the most up to date chart correction directly from the official Hydrographic Office)

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