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.
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.
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.