Is there a piece of marine electronics that does so much yet has such a non-descript name? The multifunction display, usually dryly shortened to simply “MFD,” is a powerhouse that can combine electronic charts, AIS, radar, GPS, voyage planning, tide data, performance instrument display, depth sounder display, engine gauge displays and a lot more. The MFD is more of a “Houston mission control” on your boat than some anonymous three-letter acronym, which is usually better suited to black box units that reside unseen behind a bulkhead.
An example of the kind of power features available to MFDs was recently announced by Furuno. The marine electronics leader announced an update to its line of NavNet TZtouch3 units called version 2.01 that includes what Furuno calls PBG functionality. PBG stands for personal bathymetric generator. The PBG functionality allows you to create your own shaded relief maps of the seafloor using the DFF3D multi-beam sonar.
Furuno describes it this way: “The operator can create accurate custom charts quickly and easily due to the 120-degree beamwidth of the DFF3D transducer. Instead of only one depth point per ping as seen on other manufacturer’s units, the DFF3D produces over 50 depth points with each ping, resulting in fast and efficient custom charts stored locally on the TZtouch3 MFD. Click here to see PBG in action in the Furuno First Look video. ”
Doesn’t a device that do high-tech marvels like that deserve a snazzier name?
We’ll have more on MFDs in the next issue of Ocean Navigator.