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Old 11-10-2009, 23:27   #1
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A Few Hours of Coding and I Have Free Navigation...

I found a program called xtide which has lots of data on tides in the US, as well as optionally coastline data for the entire world to a relatively good resolution. See:

XTide: Harmonic tide clock and tide predictor


I have a cheap USB gps unit which is also attached to my computer and I modified the source code to xtide to draw a green dot at my GPS location. You can see where I am anchored in richardson bay north of San Francisco. Then I clicked on a nearby tide data station and get tidal data immediately.

I have similar applets which show heading (render 3d compass) and also show speed etc.. USB gps are cheap ($30 or less) and devices which can run this program are cheap too. There is no need to use proprietary software for navigation.

I'm working on integrating depth charts.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:10   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geckosenator View Post
There is no need to use proprietary software for navigation.
You forgot to add "for those of us who have the specialized knowledge, time and inclination to code our own".

I applaud what you and a few others are doing in this area and hope to benefit from your work some day.

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Old 12-10-2009, 06:38   #3
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Exclamation Notice

Excerpt from the "X-Tide" disclaimer & warranty page.

License and disclaimer ("NOT FOR NAVIGATION," "ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY")
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:57   #4
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I think its great that some individuals are writing some great navigation software. When it becomes more refined and easy enough for the non-technical person to use, I think most boaters will download it and pretty much bypass the commercial software that is so expensive. Good for you gecko!

Whats the name of your boat? I want to wave hello and give you a thumbs up the next time I pass by.
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geckosenator View Post
There is no need to use proprietary software for navigation.
There is also no need to start from scratch every time. Free software projects in advanced stages of production would be rather pleased with your programming support imHo:

Capcode - Programmed in Java, includes Raster chart and world wind overlays, NMEA0183 wind/depth/etc inputs, boat polars for regatta sailing, and so on. Very pretty. There's a forum hosted at sourceforge, and the lead developer appears rather responsive.

OpenCPN - widely discussed in a dedicated subsection of this forum, advanced stage of production, CM93 vector and raster chart support, currently working on GRIB implementation. Xtides is integral part of this package, by the way. The lead developer, Dave, is a member and a regular here.

OpenPilot - A modular approach with GRIB support, and modules for NMEA inputs and raster charts, planned vector chart support. In an early stage of production, but a rather ambitious, fast-moving project.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:27   #6
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Quote:
There is also no need to start from scratch every time. Free software projects in advanced stages of production would be rather pleased with your programming support imHo:
I agree, I'm just getting warmed up, and in the first day I have something I can use which I needed.

Thanks for steering me in the right direction toward the other projects. I will try to build on their foundation.. although being a programmer I will disagree on what programming language to use...

I have 2 electric winches which I will attach to my main and jib sheets so the computer can adjust them, and I have an electric autopilot. With gps input, the computer should be able to optimize speed over ground.
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Old 12-10-2009, 13:25   #7
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Originally Posted by geckosenator View Post
I have 2 electric winches which I will attach to my main and jib sheets so the computer can adjust them, and I have an electric autopilot. With gps input, the computer should be able to optimize speed over ground.
Most electric winches don't operate in reverse. Which ones do you have?

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Old 12-10-2009, 14:08   #8
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gecko...a little off topic here, but batten down the hatches, its going to blow like hell tonight after midnight.
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Old 12-10-2009, 14:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geckosenator View Post
I have 2 electric winches which I will attach to my main and jib sheets so the computer can adjust them, and I have an electric autopilot. With gps input, the computer should be able to optimize speed over ground.
Now THAT sounds like a fun project.

For prototyping, are you familiar with the Basic Stamp?

-dan
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Old 12-10-2009, 15:56   #10
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Most electric winches don't operate in reverse. Which ones do you have?

Mark
Mine operate in both directions. One is a 2000lb winch which was $50. The other was $70 3000lbs and has a wireless remote. They are not very fast and I may replace the cable on it since I doubt it is stainless steel.

Quote:
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gecko...a little off topic here, but batten down the hatches, its going to blow like hell tonight after midnight.
I'm hoping I get a full battery charge out of it. I put a second anchor in though.

Quote:
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Now THAT sounds like a fun project.

For prototyping, are you familiar with the Basic Stamp?

-dan
No, but I program avr microprocessors in C (actually hacked gcc a bunch for avrs) I have open source software which I can create schematics layouts, and have circuit boards shipped to me.

I really just want to buy a 2 pole double throw relay hooked up to usb (usb powers communication and relay coil) and allows for programming control, but I can make my own circuit board to do this.
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Old 12-10-2009, 16:28   #11
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Quote:
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No, but I program avr microprocessors in C (actually hacked gcc a bunch for avrs) I have open source software which I can create schematics layouts, and have circuit boards shipped to me.
I am a novice in that area. I played with a Basic Stamp to control a custom watercooling system for a PC. I wish I had time to play with that more. Of all the areas of computers, process control is the most appealing to me, but I've never done more than a dabble or two in it.

Just this weekend I finally started programming in C++ under MinGW using gcc. I finally had a project that made me go for it (See the thread on charts in the OpenCPN sub-forum). It's a big jump in philosophy from RPG on an AS/400 to C++ on a PC. Data type conversions were the hardest for me to get used to.

Sorry, I'm drifting...

Keep us posted, maybe a separate thread. With pictures and diagrams with circles and arrows. I'm easily amused with pictures and diagrams.

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Old 14-10-2009, 13:55   #12
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Excerpt from the "X-Tide" disclaimer & warranty page.

License and disclaimer ("NOT FOR NAVIGATION," "ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY&quot
If you read the fine print, virtually all commercial chartplotters and GPS's currently sold say the same thing. Heck, the National Weather Service says the same thing on their website even.

That's not to say that they can't be used for navigation or whatnot, but rather that you can't go back to them and sue them because of errors and/or omissions on their part, or stupidity on yours.
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