I supply ready to navigation tablets or navigation laptops with marine navigation software, charts and GPS antennas. Sometimes, my clients ask me what other GPS apps they can run on my units or on their own phone or tablet as a back up. Therefore, I am assembling an up to date list here.
All other lists of marine navigation apps I found online was either out of date, or very incomplete. These marine navigation apps run on iOS (iPhone, iPad) or Android devices. I also have a separate list of marine navigation software for PC‘s which run on Windows based computers such as the midrange Toughbooks I supply.
This can be much more affordable than buying an expensive MFD from one of the major brands. My heavy duty marine grade Toughbooks are perfectly suited for a marine environment, if you are interested in taking a look at one. They can be used outside in the elements (such as in a sailboat cockpit in all weather) and feature outdoor viewable screens on some models. Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Marine navigation app on your tablet requires hardware GPS
If your tablet does not have a hardware GPS antenna, it won’t work track your location properly. For example, non-LTE (that is WiFi only) iPad versions, including even the iPad Pro don’t have a GPS antenna! You can certainly make it work with an external Bluetooth antenna, but without it the location will never be accurate enough to navigate with. The navigation tablets I supply loaded with Navionics charts have a built in GPS antenna. Therefore, please refer to your tablet’s manual to confirm that it has a hardware GPS antenna built in. Almost all phones, fortunately, do have an integrated GPS antenna.
Navionics Boating Marine & Lakes – one of the top GPS apps
This one of the most popular and well known GPS apps for marine navigation in the world. This is what I supply loaded in my navigation tablets! The standout feature would the ability to switch between navigation charts and SonarChart (high amount of depth contours), as well as the Relief Shading. Great if you need lots of bottom detail for fishing. Excellent value, and constant updates. Does automatic routing, but you need to have an active subscription for that. You can connect a wireless AIS receiver to it, and it will work offline! On the whole, an excellent choice for your mobile device. You can view their charts online for free to see if they suit your needs here. Available for Android devices here, and for Apple iOS here. Quick video overview here!
i-Boating iOS, Android & Windows – affordable GPS apps
These guys have good coverage, and they amalgamate a lot of chart sources here. However, you cannot choose different chart sets in any given area. It’s basically whatever they chose at this time. However, nice value and functionality! I’d say the user interface is a bit outdated, in my opinion. You can connect an AIS receiver, and you can have satellite overlays. They have iOS, Android and even a Windows 10 or 11 version! This cross platform capability makes it one of the most unique GPS apps available. If you want to check out the charts for your area online, the viewer is here.
C-MAP GPS apps for Android & iOS
Detailed charts? Check. Pretty good interface? Check. Automatic routing? Check. Cannot connect an AIS device to it directly, though. No satellite overlays either. If you don’t need those two, it’s a great option. Online chart viewer is here, so just take a look! Available for Android here, and iOS here. Here’s a quick video overview.
TZ iBoat marine GPS apps for Apple iPad or iPhone only
This app has some unique features compared to the rest. Pretty cool 3D display features, and has Furuno DRS4W wireless radar support. It only works on iPhone and iPad, however. It’s very complete and comprehensive. An excellent higher end option. Available for iOS here. It’s one of the higher end GPS apps you can get.
Wartsila iSailor marine navigation app for iOS only
iSailor has some excellent customization options for passage planning, with the ability to easily add XTD (Cross Track Distance), and turn radius to every leg. Overall, a pretty unique interface, reminiscent of commercial ECDIS systems on cargo ships. iSailor uses vector charts compiled using data from various national hydro graphic services around the world. Available for iOS here, but no longer available on Android.
iNavX marine navigation app for tablet or phone
This app is much more customizable than the rest. However, this also makes it more complex for beginners. As you use it a lot, it’s really impressive, though! It does give you access to various chart sources. You can connect almost any NMEA device and display it with this app. Available for iOS here and for Android here. Quick video overview here.
SeaPilot (by Raymarine)
The charts here are colored in the standard S-57/S-63 commercial ECDIS fashion. Ie they may be familiar to some, but bleak looking to others. The user interface is less intuitive / flexible than some of the other options here, and is more similar to the kind of navigation software you would find on a Windows machine rather than a tablet. There’s pretty could course projection and ring-around-ship customization options in SeaPilot. Available for Android here, and for iOS here. Quick video overview here.
AquaMap marine GPS apps for iOS and Android phone or tablet
AquaMap is a navigation app available for Android and iOS devices. It’s not as well known as some of the other options above. These charts have a pretty unique color scheme. Definitely not a bad alternative! They have a chart viewer here. iOS version here, Android version here. Here is a detailed video overview.
Why use a navigation laptop or tablet as a chart plotter?
My navigation laptops or tablets can be much more affordable than Garmin, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Furuno, Humminbird, Raymarine, Si-Tex. I will also support the GPS laptop your purchase forever! Furthermore, I believe that some of the commercial chart plotter brands gouge their customers. Large companies force their clients to upgrade. They stop supporting older units with chart and software updates. In addition, they charge outrageous fees for simple things like a larger screen size. I don’t do any of these things, and never will – guaranteed! Moreover, please take a look at other advantages as well. Therefore, my systems offer a compelling alternative to the major brands!