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I'll take a stab at your questions, but i don't guarantee accuracy.
-The difference between HotMaps and HotMaps Premium is the amount of lakes covered. 14,000 + 700HD for "Regular" and 17,000 + 1000HD for "Premium"
-I beleive for 2010 anyway that there is only one SD/MicroSD version. There also may be a Compact flash version as well.
- I have an HDS7 with Insight USA (both Coastal and Inland as well as Fishing HotSpots)....As far as insight goes there are some major lakes in NH it doesn't even have depth contours for Winni and Winnisquam are 2 of these examples. I don't beleive it has any "Hotspot" fishing locations for any lake in NH, although I do think it has some Hotspots marked on Sebago Lake in Maine.
- I just got the unit this year and my first time out on the water w/it was today. So I don't have much experience with it, although I have played with it some, while in my house.
- I did purchase the Premium Navionics card, because I didn't beleive the Platinum was worth the extra money to me.....I guess if you wanted to take the time you might be able to go to Navionics website and look at the different lakes available on the Hotmaps regular and the Premium and decide if it's has all the lakes you need, you could go with the "regular" Hotmaps version.
-Hope the info is useful and mostly accurate..hehe
thanks Mike...that's the info I was looking for. I am probably going to move on the Premium Navionics chip as soon as I can scrape the coin together.
I was a little mislead by the marking on the "US Basemap" version of the HDS that I have. The demo unit running basemap at BPS showed contour lines and the salesman said "that is standard for US Basemap and winni would be covered" and the documentation that comes with the unit shows every shot of a chart having contour lines BUT all I have is "blue" for water and "yellow" for land and my track line. I might be missing a setting but Lowrance and BPS certainly do everything to lead you to believe you get a quality chart with US Basemap with bottom contour (Bathymetry).
I run the Navionics platinum chip on my Humminbird 997 and love it. I don't use the 3D feature a lot but those 1 foot contours are spot on and help me stay out of trouble on my trolling passes. I was amazed at how accurate the contours are on Winni, Sebago, etc... I think you'll be very pleased with the platinum chip if that's the route you go.