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krazyk

Navigraph Charts iPad App & Subscription

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Navigraph Charts iPad App release announcement : https://www.navigraph.com/ViewNews.aspx?newsId=73

 

The demo allows the user to preview 3 airports (KSAN,ENAT & ZJSY). Having never used LIDO or Navigraph Charts Cloud before, I would like community feedback on some items.

 

1. Can you switch between meters/feet on the charts or is it provider restricted (in this case LIDO)?
2. The demo does not allow for type and search. Can you search for airports using their ICAO/IATA designators?

3. Is there a possibility to add charts to a clip and then selectively remove/replace them?

4. Selecting a chart as favorite isn't allowed in the Demo. Does selecting a chart into favorites replace the current chart open in the clip/tab or add to it and create a section for such charts?

 

Things I didn't find particularly inviting (compared with JeppesenTC/FD) :

 

1. The UI.

Its quite bland with not many options available other than creating clips (set of charts). Once you have a few charts open, your only option is to either keep them all open or close them all in one swoop. I found no option to get rid of specific charts from the clip.

 

2. No Tutorial/Features overview in app

The app only requests login credentials and then provides no information on the UI or the options and it's computed result making it slightly unfriendly to new users of LIDO such as myself (unless you have the announcement page open in a browser to read about some of it). Jeppesen, on the other hand, does a great job of teaching the user all the bits and pieces of information as well as tutoring on small time saving tactics when browsing several charts.

Apparently Navigraph has some form of tutorial videos for handpicked procedures which is a great way to familiarize yourself with an area but the 'teaser' videos (supported in the Demo version according to the email I received) did not work so I never got a chance to see how comfortable I was with that feature either.

 

3. Chart naming

Again comparing to the demo of JeppesenTC/FD, the charts are named differently. I'm not sure what some of them stand for as there is no legend provided although sectioning charts into their respective groups helps a little in understanding what the chart would provide before downloading it.

 

4. *Not directly related to the app* User Support

I tried to access the Navigraph forums and while it let me log in, it didn't let me view the iPad app support section - let alone post anything in there unless I had a subscription to one of their products. On clicking the 'Support' tab through their website, I was pointed to the forums for any questions but no email address I could have direct communication with. Again, nothing major as I believe other developers have similar policies for their dedicated forums but it restricts the amount of knowledge I can gain as a user before I am convinced to purchase it.

 

5. Sleep Mode (for lack of a better term - borrowed from Jeppesen)

No option to keep the charts in constant view - you have to constantly touch the screen to keep it from fading away and locking the device.

 

I am not bashing on Navigraph so please excuse any statement that may come across as such, it is purely unintentional.

What are your thoughts on it? I'm keen on looking into it further as I like the aesthetics of LIDO charts but so far I haven't really been impressed by their mobile app and lack of user privileges on their forum.

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1.  No its provider restricted.  Plates all measure in Feet.

2.  Yes you can search by ICAO code.

3.  Yes, on my IPAD there are clips you can keep for quick reference.

4.  Not sure,  they have a favorites tab but have not used it yet.

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Though the Jeppesen apps themselves are free, they require a charts subscription to be of any use, which costs hundreds of dollars per year (for just US charts) to several thousand dollars per year for worldwide coverage. I would not expect the Navigraph app (which is intended solely for hobbyist use) to be comparable to the Jeppesen apps which are certified for use in real-world aircraft.

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First impressions...I really like it. Just added a random selection of Airport map, SID, STAR and approach using the tabs and added them to a clip. The UI is minimal but that's how it should be. It's far better than the old web based way that's for sure!

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What's wrong with the charts cloud? I really got used to it. Charts are always up to date, with a good internet connection, loading times are fast. Where, do you guys think, is the advantage of the app? I haven't had a look at it yet, maybe I'll do. But saving the charts locally on iPad, doesn't attract me too much...

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The app is so much handier and makes the subscription worthwhile now... Tabbed charts and faster loading and smoother than chart cloud on safari.

 

The app is a no brainier - the UI is easy and it's clean - it does what it needs to do basically.

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Sorry... What users? ;) I joke... Further down the line most likely - it's the same as the professional flight apps by Jepp etc iOS gets first look in :)

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What does this give you that Simplates does not?

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But, what about Android users?

 

To quote Stephen O'Connell from the Navigraph development team:

 

 

 

Unfortunately, we are not actively pursuing native Android tablet app development at the moment. It may change in the future, if we see an increased demand and usage of Android in our Charts Cloud system. Today the Android tablet (all devices) share is about 6% of mobile users in the Charts Cloud system, while the iPad share is around 60%, ten times higher. Therefore the iPad app has the priority currently. Android tablet users will of course continue to be supported in the Charts Cloud web app, as has been the case from the beginning. 

 

Not to say they won't do one eventually, but as I understand it iOS are always likely to get apps first in any field: it's a stable platform with a very small range of versions and hardware configurations, which makes it easier for developers to work with compared to Android which comes in a hundred and one different flavours and on a virtually limitless number of devices, all with their own quirks and features.

 

 

 


What does this give you that Simplates does not?

 

I'm not familiar with Simplates, but from looking at the website it looks as though Simplates just pulls together all the free chart resources from around the world and gives you a GUI to access them. It's also not clear whether Simplates is a "live" service offering updated charts or whether they are just a "snapshot" that could be months or years out of date.

 

To that extent, the main advantage I would say I get from Navigraph over the free chartage that is available elsewhere (other peoples' priorities may differ) is the fact that you get a consistent chart presentation for every airfield you visit: I don't have to worry about US charts being notated with runway lengths in feet, or charts from other countries with information written in about three different languages, or trying to find where on this particular chart the ILS frequency, or the MSA is written: it's always in the same place. Also, of course, you're getting the convenience of a one-stop-shop for all your charts. En-route charts are also available, which I find very handy as well.

 

The charts are also de-cluttered and optimised for airline flying - they are the same layout used by LIDO's real airline customers (Lufthansa, BA and numerous others), which makes them clearer to read than many of the state-created charts which have to cater for everybody -- not just pilots, but procedure designers and airport planners as well. To this extent, the UK and European charts certainly (and others, I'm sure) contain a lot of "raw" data which is either irrelevant to pilots or requires processing before it can be used in the flight deck (for instance, you'll not find a DA/H on UK AIP published instrument approach charts: only OCA/H which is the obstacle clearance altitude/height used by procedure designers to calculate the DA/H).

 

On the other hand -- as the LIDO charts are designed for airline pilots, they don't contain Cat A or B procedures or minima that would be relevant to GA pilots flying light aircraft: so if you do a lot of this sort of flying you may not get full use out of them. The subscription is also fairly expensive: I far preferred the old system that enabled you to purchase the charts for individual airports for a small fee. Having said that, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a subscription to the real LIDO/eRouteManual system, which would run in to the thousands.

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Cheers for the replies. I'll closely monitor this service and maybe take them up on their offer in the future.

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I downloaded the app to give it a try. It's really quite fast, although speed hasn't been an issue with the cloud for me.

The tab function doesn't seem to work though. Or I don't get its function. If I have several charts opened in different tabs, I can't choose the one I want to see in the main view, because tapping the corresponding tab just opens another tab...

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