Rose Point Coastal Explorer 2.0

by Tim on February 6, 2008

I spent a lot of time at Rose Point‘s booth at the Seattle Boat Show. So did Aaron; he shot a video product demo of the new Coastal Explorer 2.0 with Rose Point’s Jeff Hummel. Look for that to appear here pretty soon.

Rose Point Navigation Coastal Explorer Logo

In the meantime, though, I wanted to hit a few of the high points. Coastal Explorer 1.1 was already regarded as one of the top navigation software packages on any platform. Coastal Explorer 2.0 incorporates reliability and performance enhancements as well as cool new features, such as optional radar sensors and more radar display options.

rosepointnavce2screen3sm.jpg

I’m especially excited about one new feature in particular, which I’ll discuss in detail tomorrow. Today, though, a quick run-down of some of the other features the Rose Point crew were demonstrating at the show.

Need to hit slack tide at Deception Pass? Gotta get in before the fuel dock closes? Not sure when to make those dinner reservations? The new Route Planning Timeline Tool combines your vessel’s performance characteristics with tidal current predictions to make better cruising time estimates. It plots your route on a timeline, allowing you to move any waypoint to the time you want to arrive there. It then recalculates the rest of the waypoints in the route.

Fishing? Anchoring? Entering a tricky harbor? Docking? Coastal Explorer 2.0 allows even more flexibility in display mode configuration. You can create your own modes that include exactly the information you want, in the format you want, with custom arrangments of charts, radar, video, depth, and vessel instrumentation. Save these views as Major Modes you invoke with just a click or two.

Want a view over the transom while docking? Want to use video to monitor the engine room or swim platform? Coastal Explorer 2.0 can display video from any Windows-compatible video camera.

But its difficult to convey the sense one gets using the product. Coastal Explorer 2.0 is more than a list of features, many of which we’ve seen in other products. The whole Coastal Explorer 2.0 experience feels complete and integrated. “Mature”, I guess; grown up, refined, purposeful.

Just to take one example: Interface modality changes are minimal. That may sound a bit abstract—all it means is that the controls work in a consistent way, and once you learn your way around one kind of display mode or tool in Coastal Explorer, you don’t have to learn a whole new paradigm when you switch to some other display mode or tool. This may sound obvious (it is!), but it’s amazing how often software design teams overlook this basic usability mandate.

Coastal Explorer was already a great product. Version 2.0 is even stronger. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about the new features I’m REALLY excited about. Here’s a hint: For background, re-read the Navagear items here, here, here, and here.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Drew Clark February 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Tim, the new CE 2.0 indeed looks impressive, esp. the new radar capabilities and Web integration (I wish the other marine sw manufacturers would discover this wonderful tool known as the Web). But what continues to annoy me (and others over at Panbo et al) is this continuing march away from openness and tendency to cling to proprietary interfaces/protocols/standards and even cables and connectors. It’s hard to believe that in 2008, when we have tools like linux, TCP/IP, LAMP, AJAX and other open Web and software standards that vendors like Rosepoint, Garmin, Furuno, Raymarine and others still don’t get the fact that their customers want open, flexible, interoperable and loosely coupled components that can be linked together in the field to suit an owner’s specific needs. It is a fact that mass-customization is here, and the days of vertically-integrated, you must use my stack only systems has passed…except obviously for the marine hardware and software industry. I am speaking specifically here about the new CE 2.0 radar capability, which looks to me like you must buy a RP radar scanner to utilize, and cannot simply via Ethernet connect in the 1 or 2 radars most of us already own. In my opinion this “rip and replace” mentality must go…it is not only wasteful (ie, not Green) but further reinforces this notion that proprietary and vendor lockin is good. Anyone else feel this way?

Drew

Reply

Steven Hodgen (Rose Point Navigation Systems) February 6, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Drew,

It is very important to understand that we would like nothing more than to be able to support arbitrary radars, such as Furuno, Garmin, et al. The reason we haven’t done so is due to the fact that these manufacturers do not publish the protocol specifications for their devices and thereby greatly hinder our ability to support their products.

Cheers!

Steven Hodgen
Rose Point Navigation Systems
info@rosepointnav.com
http://rosepointnav.com

Reply

Lookoutsailors February 7, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Steven,

Should we anticipate that Maptech will OEM version 2.0 as well? If not are there alternatives?

Thanks,

Mike

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