Explore with hybrid satellite charts

May 23, 2022 • 3 min read

Introducing satellite hybrid charts, a better way to explore and plan trips.

Boating is all about exploration and adventures on the water. Traditional marine charts are designed to distill critical navigation information: Hazards, depth of water, shoreline, navigation features, and information about notable features. 

But traditional charts have one inherent weakness: Charts abstract away so much information that they can be hard to translate into the real world.

For instance, during a harbor entry – it can be hard to get a sense of the scale of the harbor, the piers, and important landmarks, by just looking at marine charts. It's also hard to relate important features, such as an underwater rock relative to a landmark, like a building by the shoreline.

High-resolution satellite imagery solves this problem.

Orca's new marine satellite layer blends nautical charts with satellite imagery

Most of us are familiar with shore-based smartphone navigation apps like Google Maps. These apps have traditionally given users the option of viewing different layers on their map, including roads, terrain, and high-resolution satellite photos. 

Until now, nautical navigation products haven't been able to offer that level of quality.

Even the most expensive chartplotters on the market don’t offer high-resolution satellite imagery. At best, you'll experience a coarse, outdated, and low-resolution image that doesn't offer much value.

Introducing satellite hybrid charts in Orca

Get an accurate representation of the topography of your destination

High-resolution satellite charts are now available in Orca. These charts blend satellite and aerial imagery with marine chart data to give you a beautiful and high-resolution view of the world around you.

To view satellite charts, tap the Layers button in the top right corner of your chart and select Satellite. You’ll now be able to identify seabed types, review coastlines for sandy beaches, spot potential anchorages, and scout ahead for interesting landmarks, hills that disrupt wind, and the topology of islands.

Our early-access users told us the satellite hybrid charts were particularly great for two scenarios:

  1. Exploration

  2. Pre-planning

Better exploration

For adventurous boaters, satellite imagery adds an extra dimension of depth to exploration and trip-planning that you can't achieve with traditional marine charts. 

You can identify great beaches and find anchorages by looking at where other boats have moored or anchored. You'll also be able to explore how scenic a particular route is and which islands and bays look interesting for heading onshore.

Because the Orca satellite imagery also shows important navigation information on top of the satellite charts – you'll always be able to understand the navigation complexity for the area you're viewing. The age of cross-referencing between Google Maps and your favorite marine charts is finally over.

Safer pre-planning

Many times, a photograph will reveal details that a traditional nautical chart doesn’t reveal.

It can be the exact shape and topography of a reef or the shape of a rocky shore where it may be suitable for mooring your boat. What about the seabed in a bay – is it sandy or rocky? Which anchor should I use?

By reviewing satellite imagery while planning a trip, you're able to take more decisions up-front.

This means you got fewer things to worry about while underway and while anchoring or mooring – which frees up your mind to stay focused on nearby boats, the weather, and navigating according to plan.

Satellite overlay help you getting an overview of the risks associated with nearshore navigation

Find your destination and let Orca do the rest

One of the goals with Orca is to take the hassle out of planning and navigating. An important part of that is route planning, and it's why we worked hard to make the Orca Routing Engine up to 17x faster than the competition.

When you use Orca to plan your next trip, you can spend more time exploring and adventuring, and less time waiting for your chartplotter to draw your route on the chart. 

Speed isn’t our only advantage over the competition – our hardware is unlike anything else out there.

The complete Orca navigation system.

The Orca Core is the world's first smart navigational hub. It has a built-in high-accuracy GPS and compass for more accurate navigation. It connects to your boat's sensors and autopilot via NMEA 2000. The Core transforms your Orca App into a true chartplotter. Now, your Orca App can control autopilots, view engine information, AIS targets, wind data and so much more.

If you don't fancy navigating with your tablet or phone, the Orca Display is a perfect fit for you. It runs the same great Orca experience as our mobile app – but it is delivered in a rugged, robust, and waterproof way. The Display is delivered with a charging mount for a great hands-free navigation experience, but unlike traditional chartplotters, can also be used on the go, thanks to its large 7600mAh built-in battery.

Order your Orca Display system today. Shipping is free, and we back every unit with our 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

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