Dear Capt. Paul:

I run the Lowrance HDS-2 with the Navionics card, on my boat and I have the Navionics boating app on my iPhone.

I recently had a friend take me in his boat along the route around the dam in Hopedale. I saved the route on the Navionics app.

My question is: Can the route be downloaded or exported from my phone app to the HDS unit? I could use the phone to follow the route, but it would be simpler (and safer) to have it on the screen.

Thanks in advance for your time and always good information.

– K. D. N.


Capt. Paul’s response to: K.D.N.:

I certainly agree that it is much safer and easier to use your Lowrance HDS unit rather than trying to follow a route or even waypoints in your iPhone.

By using the route feature in the HDS-2, the unit gives you the course, distance and many other items that assist you in navigating the route. Use the route feature and not the track back feature, as the route feature lets the unit do the work.

The phone device is not truly a weatherproofed unit, as a regular GPS unit would be. Most, if not all GPS units are now weatherproofed to meet an IPX-7 standard, which means the unit can withstand an emersion in 3 feet for one half hour. Also the iPad/Phone does not have the GPS WAAS differential circuitry, so the phone unit can deliver a position only to within 20 meters; GPS units with the WAAS differential system can refine the position to 3 meters.

Remember this when navigating in restricted channels and areas.

There is a way to accomplish what you want to do, but I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I have a Captain Paul’s Fishing Edge GPS Waypoints that have several routes around the recently constructed dam across the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

The EDGE file has waypoints along the MRGO where the Aids To Navigation lights, markers, buoys and cans were located, as well as several routes around the north side via Bayou La Loutre and some on the south side via the Back Levee canal, Blind Bayou Pisana, Pisana Lagoon, and Mulatto Bayou and to the MRGO.

The Edge data is offered in Lowrance as several other GPS formats, and is sold exclusively in the Louisiana Sportsman Outdoor Store.

The program has a general map of the area, with detailed descriptions of the waypoints in a .pdf form, a spread sheet of all of the data, a read me and instructions file, and the actual data written in the GPS format you indicate.

It is delivered via an electronic download to your email address. 

Now for your dilemma: First, install an email program in both the iPhone/iPad and your desktop PC. You can use the same email address, but it would be better if they are in the same provider’s format. 

Now, be sure that you have installed a Navionics program in the desktop and in the iPad/iPhone, as well as Google Eearth and Lowrance Insight Planner.

After the installation, open all programs and leave them all running. 

Go the Navionics iPhone program and save the route and any waypoints that you wish to transfer to your HDS.

Select what route(s) and or waypoints you want transfer, and then go to the menu located at the bottom of the screen on the right side. Select the route link, and then move the cursor over one of the waypoints in the route by touching one of the waypoints. Then, after the route page appears, select the link showing an arrow coming out of a folder that is located at the top right of the screen.

A drop-down box will appear with links to several functions, one of which will be the icon for email. Select this link and send the information to your own email on your computer. 

After receiving the email to yourself DO NOT OPEN the email with your desktop PC. Be sure that Google Earth is running; then click on the link shown in the email — not the attachment, but the link.

The route will open in Google Earth program. I suggest that you view it and edit it as appropriate for your needs.

First, save it to a file in your computer as a backup and for the conversion. Once you have transferred the file there, open the Insight Planner and select the transfer link, the import link and then the “file on disk.”

Then select the Google Earth .kmz option. An “Import File” box will appear with a “Look in” box at the top of the box. Click on the down arrow and select the folder in which you saved the Google Earth .KMZ file.

The Google Earth file will appear in the Insight Planner in the routes section and on the map. 

Now transfer that route file using the export feature and the the GPX exchange format.

You can then either send it to a spare memory card that your Lowrance HDS unit uses or copy it to the same folder where you have the other route files. I would do both. 

You would use the HDS unit’s menu to transfer the route and/or waypoints into the internal memory of the GPS unit. All of the waypoints and routes will appear as overlays on whatever mapping system you have in your unit. 

This procedure works with my iPad and iPhone, but I am not completely positive it would work with an Android device. I believe it should, but ….

There is also another way that would require you to use a conversion program such as GPS BABEL. You would follow the instructions for getting the KZM file and convert it in the Babel program to a .gpx format.

This, however, would not give you the option to edit and review any of the data. 

Good luck and be careful. Please feel to contact me if you need any other specific information.

Please let me know how you make out. 

– Capt. Paul