Articles: Navigation,Cruising

Chartplotter Updates: Making the Most of What You Have

Have you ever wondered what changes when your software is updated on your devices? Should you even bother doing updates? If you ask us, the answer is a resounding yes, but to see for yourself you can find out what changes have been made by checking out the changelog for your software.

A software changelog is what it sounds like - a log of all the changes that have been made to the software. It includes dates that updates were made to the software and what changes were made. The changes made can be bug fixes or new features, and are described in plain English. On Garmin's software download page, you can see when different updates were released for different devices. For example, since April 12 2010, the version of software for a 4000 series or 5000 series chartplotter has come through 9 revisions, from version 5.70 to 6.80, and the most recent was released on July 22 2011. But where is the rest of the changelog that details what was actually done? For Garmin, you have to navigate to the software download page, and then click the individual product. This takes you to a page that lays out the changes. Let's take a look at the 4008 updates. What has changed since version 2.00, which was shipped with some units? More than 250 bug fixes, improvements, and features to integrate with different devices have been added. Some samples include:

  • Potentially dangerous points along auto guidance paths will be outlined in red. After the auto guidance calculation completes, a message will appear if there are potentially unsafe areas along the path
  • Fixed bug where zoom level would change when editing a route
  • Added fuel management features such as the ability to view fuel flow rate (per engine), fuel pressure, and transmission oil temperature, if the appropriate sensors are connected
  • Addition of graphical display of data for rudder angle, bow/trim tabs, engine trim, various tank levels
  • Options to choose smaller boat icons for 2d charts
  • Support for SDHC cards
  • Corrected a bug that would cause the information in the AIS vessel list to be random characters
  • Customizable AIS range filter and trails for nearby AIS targets
  • Added a control to turn off the AIS/Marpa Collision Alarm
  • Much faster chart drawing and smoothing of heads-up chart displays
  • Easier menu navigation, for example, the Back button is smarter to minimize the number of key presses required to exit commonly used features
  • And lots more -- a full list is available here

Updating the software on your equipment is something you can do yourself or we can help you with.

*This information is applicable to all chartplotters. We used a Garmin 4008 as an example.


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