The Garmin Fishfinder/GPS Combos come with a wide range of charting software pre-installed. It might be difficult to make the ideal selection. Here is a list of some of the most prevalent packages and their features.
If you’re looking for a quality fish finder/GPS that won’t break the bank, we’ve published one on our blog.
A Lowrance Basemap is a very basic chart (as the name implies). Basemaps do not contain contour data, depth data, or any other extra information such as lighthouses and maritime services. Expect to see a large brown/green area for land and a big blue area for water on the map. You can plot tracks and waypoints on a Basemap without difficulty, so if that’s all you need your GPS for, it should suffice.
Lowrance Lake Insight:
The maps show a breathtaking level of detail for 650 lakes in the Midwest (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin), with contour data as small as 3 feet. On certain lakes there are crowdsourced fishing hotspots as well as contour and relief data for over 5,000 U.S. reservoirs.
Lowrance Nautic Insight:
Lake Insight charts are the nautical equivalent of Nautic Insight charts. It offers comprehensive coverage of the shoreline, marinas, fishing hotspots, and lake and river information up to 100 miles into the interior. It also depicts tides, currents, and navigation aids.
These are Humminbird’s more advanced maps, which are called ContourXD charts. The 3,000 U.S. lakes covered by ContourXD charts include depth contour lines, U.S. lights/markers, and interstate highways, according to Humminbird. Many of their 1100, 900, 800, and 700 series models come pre-installed with this mapping software package.
Humminbird’s Unimap covers the continental United States Coastline, major lakes and rivers, and offers chart data at a resolution of 30 meters per pixel. If your fish finder has a resolution of 5 inches and 640480 pixels on the whole screen, you can zoom in up to 12 kilometers x 9 miles or 8 miles by 6 km. It is a rudimentary mapping technology that simply informs you whether you are in water or not, as one user put it!
Navionics gold charts are the “big daddy of charts”, and can cover an entire continent while still zooming in to 3 meters. They include tide and current data, harbor plans, depth contours, marine service contact information, and marsh areas.
BlueChart g2 Vision:
The BlueChart g2 Vision is Garmin’s answer to Navionics. Auto-guidance technology allows you to enter a waypoint and the charts will search for the safest and quickest route tailored to your boat size, similar to Navionics. You can also view satellite photos of major ports and coastlines as well as an underwater perspective from the waterline, along with a 3D view of the land.