Boating Bits

Lowrance/Simrad raise bar with mapping & scanning technology

LAST week Fisho attended the Asia Pacific press event in Sydney for Navico – parent company of marine electronics brands Lowrance, Simrad and B&G. The event saw Navico demonstrate some of its latest new product lines to the boating media on Sydney Harbour.

Potentially of most interest to fishos were the latest generation of Simrad NSS sounder/plotters plus the high end NSO units. Also on display was Lowrance’s SpotlightScan sonar transducer for electric motors. We got a sneak peek at the Insight Genesis online mapping system as well.

Navico also unveiled its next generation of Simrad NSS broadband sounders, the evo2. According to Navico, these units are designed to specifically suit sportfishing and cruising applications. The range features 7, 9, 12 and 16-inch ultra-bright screen displays and what Simrad calls its “TouchSensible” multi-touch control. For those more used to pushing buttons or twirling sounder knobs, there’s also a keypad and push-to-select rotary knob. The system is designed to offer intuitive and fast multi-touch access via an icon-driven menu interface. The NSS evo2 also features state-of-the-art sounder technologies such as broadband, CHIRP and StructureScan.

For users who want a “complete” electronics package, the NSS evo2 is also compatible with all Simrad technologies including its 3G Radar, GoFree Wireless Wifi, SonarHub Sounder and the SonicHub marine audio entertainment player. The system is also designed to be fully customisable, with users able to operate up to six NSS evo2 multifunction displays, which can be set up to view engine diagnostics and instrumentation.

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The new Simrad NS series units installed on an Edge Water boat. 

Of note for boaties who may prefer to use a particular brand of GPS mapping, all Simrad NS series MFDs now support a large range of popular cartography including C-Map, Navionics and more.

The Simrad NSS7 evo2 and NSS9 evo2 are available now while the NSS12 evo2 and NSS16 evo2 are expected to available later this month.

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This impressive NSO touch-screen unit boasts a 24-inch display!

The event provided a good opportunity for Navico to outline its Insight Genesis online mapping system. In basic terms, Insight Genesis is a user generated mapping system that relies on boaters to record sonar logs of waterways via SD memory cards on their chartplotters. The recorded data detailing informations such as water depth, bottom structure and type is then uploaded to the Insight Genesis website. The information can then be merged to form navigable reference maps which display contour lines and specific bottom make up such as vegetation, sand, or rock displayed with suitable colouration. For example, rock is red, sand is a sand colour and weed is highlighted green (see image below). The formed maps can be downloaded and used on chartplotters, as with other cartography. The advantage of this technology for fishos is that bottom structure features revealed during mapping can be used to plan a fishing trip at home before you head out.

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Navico’s Kenneth Thompson conducting a seminar on the new Insight Genesis online mapping system. 

While Insight Genesis relies largely on crowd sourcing for “shareable” input, users have the choice of opting out of sharing recorded data with other users.

With much of Australia’s waterways remaining uncharted, Insight Genesis looks to be a great way for fishos to source mapping information on different locations. To access Insight Genesis users need to subscribe for an annual fee of $99.


Lowrance’s new SpotlightScan transducer was fitted to thie Motorguide electric with imagery displayed on HDS9 unit shown.

Also on display at the launch was Lowrance’s SpotlightScan Sonar electric motor transducer. SpotlightScan is designed to provide “surround scanning” views of the water column, via Lowrance HDS Gen2 sounder/chartplotter displays. According to Lowrance, SpotlightScan works similar to the way a scanning spotlight reveals objects in the dark, highlighting structure and fish targets ahead and around your boat.

Fisho got a short demo of SpotlightScan via a Haines Hunter fitted with a Motorguide bow-mount electric motor attached to a SpotlightScan transducer. The electric was pedal controlled and the SpotlightScan images were displayed on a deck mounted HDS 9 unit. Navico’s Bill Milonas explained that the SpotlightScan transducer sends out beams at frequencies of 455 and 800 kHz. It also features DownScan and Broadband Sounder technology. The relayed x-ray like imagery “sweeps” around the display screen, a bit like a windscreen wiper. Depending where the motor is facing, it gives a view both around (in front) and beneath the boat. This is innovative technology that keen lure casters will definitely want to check out for themselves.

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A shot of the SpotlightScan transducer mounted on the electric motor housing.

Also on show was Simrad’s GoFree wireless connectivity system which offers users the option of connecting smartphones and tablets to Simrad NSS Multifunction Displays. This is cool technology that means that anyone with the GoFree app installed on their compatible phone or tablet can look at their sounder/plotter’s display from anywhere around the boat.

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Simrad’s GoFree wireless connectivity system on show via the iPad at bottom of pic.

Also at the event, Navico touched on its upcoming technologies including ForwardScan which Simrad says provides clear imagery of the water column and bottom structure in front of the boat. The ForwardScan transducer can be fitted on most boats and the technology is compatible with the SonarHub sounder module, and Simrad NSS evo2 and NSO evo2 units. ForwardScan is expected to be released later this year.

For more info on Lowrance and Simrad products go to: and‎

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