I get this question a lot from users, so here is the rundown on our products and what is happening here:
PolarCOM is not the entire product, rather it is a GPS instrumentation and NMEA multiplexor application. To get chart/live GPS/ship view you need both PolarCOM and PolarView NS.
PolarView NS is an ENC/RNC chart planner and live GPS navigation application. It also includes a free GRIB viewer and a download service which gets GRIB data from our servers, as well as tides/currents visualization. It requires PolarCOM to interface with your GPS and other instruments for navigation and AIS display.
PolarCOM is a “kind of” a service. As such, when you run it – it starts in system tray or Launcher. On Windows/Linux you should see a small “blue globe” icon in the tray. On Mac the application will run as a Launcher icon. You can reach PolarCOM options by right-clicking/cmd-clicking on the icon in system tray or Launcher, respectively.
The suggested use is to launch PolarCOM once and just keep it there, in tray, for as long as the system is up. PolarView NS can be started and shut down as convenient, to save power, increase battery life and free up CPU and screen for other things. If PolarView NS is closed , PolarCOM will keep currently navigated route and all the related information. When you restart PolarView NS, this information will be restored.