A while back I started looking for a backup for my Garmin handheld. Something I could run on my phone. I wanted something simple and something that did not require an annual subscription or a fee every time I downloaded a chart. There may be several options but I settled on iSail. A few days ago the developer sent out an e-mail saying he gets lots of requests for additional features and it’s easier to work on those things the more product he sells so he really appreciates positive reviews (something to that effect). Anyway, I had been meaning to post something here anyway and this prompted me to do so.
In short, I really like and recommend it if you are in the market for that sort of thing. It uses NOAA raster charts (zoomable) which you can download for free in seconds. I find the chart display significantly easier to read than that of my Garmin handheld although the text indicating speed, bearing etc is too small and bright sun can be an issue with smart phone displays. Mostly though, I’m less interested in the text than the chart itself with my position indicated. Most everything I want to do (e.g., setting waypoints, stitching charts together, etc) is easily accomplished, and there’s also a useful help document you can access from within the program if you’re having trouble with something. Not 100% certain about this but I believe it first attempts to fix your position using cell towers. Importantly however, if you are away from towers (maybe even if you aren’t) it uses your smartphone’s satellite-based GPS functionality. This, together with the fact that you can download the charts in advance, allows it to always show you where you are even if you are out in the middle of nowhere (one of my favorite places). I don’t remember the price but it was very reasonable as I recall. All-in-all, I’m very happy with it.