Now more than ever, selecting a chartplotter can be a real challenge due to the variety of manufacturers and quality machines they produce such as those made by Furuno, Garmin, Humminbird, Navico, Raymarine and Standard. When looking at the latest in technology many of these plotters look strikingly similar in many ways, but looking a little closer you can find certain unique characteristics that make each stand out from the crowd. The truth is that in order to select the right chartplotter for your vessel it may just come down to pushing buttons (or touching screens) and getting a feel for each user interface to determine which one is right for you.
As with any electronics, the technology employed is ever-changing and new models are released constantly, but the fact is that there is a model of chartplotter currently available that should meet all the requirements of the average boater and there has never been a better selection than right now. As you can see from the table below there are certain trends that manufacturers are following. They are all striving for simplified and easy to understand user interfaces. Many are utilizing touch screens and are following similar formats to smart devices we are all using every day. In fact, many will now interface with those smart devices wirelessly and will allow them to act as remote displays, and some will even allow them to act as fully-functioning remote controllers. Wireless interfaces are a priority and the information these chartplotters display is ever increasing, as is the speed in which they process all this new information.
The cartography chartplotters display is also much improved over previous versions. Users have more options in the kinds of cartography available for display in their chartplotters and can now customize the display of cartographic information more so than ever before. Details and updates of cartography have also improved dramatically recently and some cartography can also be updated with personal cartographic and bathometric information, drastically improving certain charts.
The fact is that no matter which chartplotter you select you are getting a very capable machine which is easier to use than ever before but has more features and utilizes better charting than ever before. Selecting any of the chartplotters listed will be a good selection and will deliver quality chart plotting.