New Kid on the Dock
Geonav hits U.S. shores with a full line of high-tech marine instruments.
The next innovation is what Geonav calls its “exclusive BlueLogic User Interface,” which is how you, the operator, control all of the action on screen. Before we get into the specifics of this interface, I can tell you that these Geonav products are designed and manufactured in the United States, and the company has recruited some of the brightest stars in marine electronics to work on the team. Having said that, it should come as no surprise that the user interface offers just about every possible menu choice and customizable display you can imagine. And with the exception of touchscreen operation, it has just about every other type of control you’ve seen on other electronics—except they’re all here at the same time. This includes plus and minus keys for zoom ranging, two soft keys that open a variety of menus, a view key to rotate through screen displays, a rotary knob that can be turned to select and pushed to enter, a menu key, and a joystick. At any time, if you find yourself too deep into a menu and want to exit back to the home screen, just push the X key.
By far the coolest feature that I saw was what the company calls the HaloView Rotation. This is similar to what we see on today’s iPhones and iPads, where you can quickly scroll through various screen presentations, but in this case, you use the rotary knob as opposed to a touch screen. Regardless, this is a very fast and easy way to preview the screens before you enter one and start using it. It’s a big time saver.
Views are either single pane or multi-pane, and there are already some views saved in the Favorites rotation. For example, you may want to see a screen with the chart on the left, the radar on the upper right, and the sonar on the lower right. This pre-set layout is already in the HaloView for your convenience.
According to the Geonav owner’s manual, “You can add to your Favorites rotation, rename the views, and change the Favorites rotation order. Then, use the Pane Settings Manager to customize each pane. You can save up to 50 views in the Favorites rotation, and when you first power on the multifunction display, the Chart View will be the default view.”
This is where we start getting into the unbelievable customization of the Geonav displays. Between all of these controls, soft keys, and menus, you can drill down and customize just about anything you want. I see this as a real benefit to the more electronically savvy navigators, but it might be a bit daunting for a newcomer to marine electronics. This is a very sophisticated system, designed to be at the higher-end of the marine-electronics spectrum, and so even though it can do almost anything you’d like except automatically start the coffeemaker, it may be too advanced for novices. A good example is in some of the default settings I found. The system we were using was a factory demo, so I wanted to get in there and change the units from metric to the U.S. system of weights and measures. Not a big problem, and once you set that up, it’ll stay that way forever if you want it to. I also wanted to change the default from degrees true to magnetic, but I was surprised to find out that that setting couldn’t be found in the Units menu option. I’d have to find that setting somewhere else, I learned. So the bottom line here on operation is that while the system can give you a lot, you’ll have to input a lot in terms of initial setup to get it the way you’d like it. After that, you should be good to go.