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Old 03-05-2006, 14:16   #16
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By creating a product using open protocols that can be run on a wide variaty of cheap hardware will hopefully enable 'the poor' among us to navigate safely.
The problem is the market is moving away from open standards. Raytech has closed the loop and is now 100% proprietary. Garmin is not much different. The bigger companies are geting bigger not smaller.

NMEA over a serial bus is the old standard that while I use myself is old and under powered for modern data requirements.

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But my main drive to start a project like this is that I can make things as I want them, and that in doing that I am not dependent on someone else's view of what features are necessary and which are not.
Then I guess you don't need to ask here. I mean you have asked us for our views. It isn't really what you mean?

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I'm currently investigating the pros and cons of starting an OpenSource project, and I'm looking into some licencing options.
You can't get licensing for anything embedded into an open source soultion. It's kind of what it is all about. The idea with open source is that everything is open source and all additons become open source too. People will contribute to an open source effort if they are assured it will remain open. You can't get a license for anything and add it to an open source project.

defjef:

The only true international standard is ENC vector. It is the only international standard for elctronic charts that are legal for commercial ships required by law to maintain charts. It's the only legal alternative to paper charts. Ther are many countries involved in this standard and it is what it driving most of the commercial applications used by international shipping companies.

When you look at the data sources for a lot of the maps they stem from the companies that make equipment as they wasnt the chart money as the margin is better than on the hardware. Garmin bought soviet space imagery and generated all the "Blue Chart" data. Maptech really got in a bad position when NOAA gives away the BSB/KAP data now so they "add value" and try to sell the same data.
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Old 03-05-2006, 15:16   #17
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Jef-
"Why can't NOAA and NEMA or whomever get together and develop a universal digital chart format/standard?" Because of Ronald Reagan, literally. He stopped NOAA from developing digital charting because it was an unjustifiable budget expense. And forced them (and a lot of agencies) to take on "private partners" who would do the development, take the risk, and then be allowed to make the profit. That's why the official NOAA digital standard was what is now Maptech's BSB(?) format. They are the sucessor to the private partner, they are/hold the NOAA digital standard.
ENC was developed later (if you're familiar with computer graphics, you'd understand why converting a mass of cartography to vectors was literally an IMPOSSIBLE task when the digital mapping project began) and is now both standard and free. Anyone can sell a viewer for it, but the charts are free from NOAA to you. (The difference is, conversion has becomeslowly possible, and normal for them.)
Layers, flashing buoys...all very nice, but consider that AutoCAD has always required the most expensive computers possible. AutoCAD users have been able to charge top dollar to their customers, and pay top dollar for computers. For the mass market? Well, in the last 5 years computer power has gotten dirt cheap, maybe the market lags because no one wants to rewrite all their software. Or maybe because boat computers are often older slower laptops, chosen in the expectation that they will be drowned, so to speak.

JanPeter-
No, I don't know a source but expect NOAA can provide the souce data and algorithms for the US. In some parts of the world, you'd have to license that data at a stiff price though.

Now, if you could integrate currents, weather, sea state, polars, and STILL have the software suggest the optimum course for a sailboat taking all that into account AND "learning" to make itself more accurate as time went on...you'd have some high-end gloabl racing software out of it, too. But I suspect you'd need a trust fund as your income source to support that hobby. Be a nice piece of work though. Figure, a 10GHz CPU will be standard about the time you're ready to ship it.
Of course you realize, that if you blink the bouys, SOMEONE is going to complain that when they printed out copies of their route from your software, the bouys weren't blinking on the printout.<VBG>
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Old 03-05-2006, 15:55   #18
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Quote:
"Why can't NOAA and NEMA or whomever get together and develop a universal digital chart format/standard?"
Because they already did. ENC is the only international vector chart standard sanctioned under International Maratime law and US Law as well. For some odd reason the US is actually part of it. We don't usally do that but some times we do things right for the wrong reason.

Raytech OTOH, likes C-MAP better because they own it and use it in all their products - period. Old CMAP93 was not a secure fomat (you could copy it easily) and Raytech hated that most of all. It's now dead.

Ronald Reagun did not prevent NOAA from developing electronic charting. he didn't actually do anything to help much either. Maptech has been using digital processing since before Ronald Reagan was running to become President. NOAA has always had private partners (Maptech). They still do and Maptech still handles the production of maps. Maptech did not develop the digital standard and BSB/KAP is while still digital is raster based images of the electronic maps made by Maptech. Maptech uses vector charting tools and has for many years. That same system produces the vector maps that are internationally standard as ENC format. So in that sense the Maptech Mapping Sytem is only used by Maptech to make the other products (and some third party developers licesense it).

NOAA has alwasy required Maptech to make maps available at reasonable cost to the public and they did through printed paper maps sold through outlets. Those are now gone. The new system is free electronic downloads of ENC OR BSB/KAP digital products OR Charts on Demand printed on site at local distributors. These are new paper maps printed while you wait on paper that is much more durable than the old paper maps were and are as current as the day they print them for you. You'll see NOAA at most boat shows with the new charts.

NOAA is a US governemnt organization and they did participate and adopted ENC as the US standard. They don't license it as it is an open standard - you don't need a license. ENC is an open published world standard.

NEMA is the National Electric Manufatures Association they don't give a hoot about boats or charts. NMEA is the Nationa Marine Electronics Association and they still don't give a hoot about charts. They are a hardware group made up of boat industry professionals (as in the companies that make the products). They deal in electronic standards for equipment certification not charts.

The NMEA 0183 Interface Standard defines electrical signal requirements, data transmission protocol and time, and specific sentence formats for a 4800-baud serial data bus. Each bus may have only one talker but many listeners.

We need a new data communications standard but again this has nothing to do with charts. The industry does not want a new standard so there won't be one. NMEA is owned by the boat electronics companies. NMEA does not dictate to the companies or any one else. It does what the companies want it to do.
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Old 29-03-2007, 14:42   #19
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Some suggestions for JanPeter

May be boring to the rest of the group, sorry.

I've read the whole thread with much interest and felt compeled to add my 2 dinars worth.

The reason a person or group of persons start a project is never quite clear or rational; that's how we, humans, operate and thank god for that otherwise we would still be in caves.

JanPeter, look into using Python as the language with the wxWidgets(wxPython) for graphics support; it's amazing the productivity gains you would experience, the native o/s look and feel and portability.

Look, also, into the possibility to get some EU money for the project and team up with the local university. Rotterdam would be ideal because of the long maritime tradition. Based on my experience, susch a project would qualify if there is no other one in the works already. In any case, the best starting point is the University; you offer the expertise on the subject and they can offer the raw manpower(grad students) and equipment.

As for my electronic navigation, I have none although I have 2 LTs onboard! but, I'm looking to get into it for "prestige" mainly...
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Old 29-03-2007, 16:34   #20
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Most of these features being requested here have long been available in GIS (Geographic Information System) software, and there are several "players" in this field, ESRI being the biggest. This kind of software's underlying capabilities are ideally suited to navigation software: supports both raster and vector overlays, connections to databases containing text or numeric info about vector or raster elements, overlays for dynamic data like GPS or NMEA, overlaying "user data", etc. etc. What's missing is a user interface built for navigation, and then the biggest hurdle is data: There is an awful lot of data for whats on land, much of it free or available for a minimal cost and in a non-proprietary format, but as soon as you past the shore, then there's only ENC - great for the US but not anywhere else. Everything else is in some proprietary format only readable by proprietary, non-extensible software. This is unfortunate for the end users (us) since the software as well as the data from these companies pushing the priprietary stuff is always inferior to what we'd get if they were not inseparable.
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Old 29-03-2007, 18:43   #21
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Originally Posted by JanPeter
Hello all,
As a software developer I am interested in your wishes concerning navigation software. I'm in the process of writing a new navigation program. At first for myself, but lately I think I should make it available to the community (for free). But then it has to be usefull to many people, not only for myself.
Hence my question: what features should a navigation program have, which map formats should be supported, what information should be where in the screen, etc, etc.
Please share your opinion about this..
Jan Peter
Easy.
1. Make your software compatable with Linux and with Mac OSX... so that reliability is increased while at sea (and otherwise).
2. Please include capability to generate gnomic great circle charts.

Thank you for considering my thoughts.

Robert E. Miller
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Old 30-05-2007, 15:11   #22
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hi everybody in this forum
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Old 28-12-2008, 21:55   #23
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Jan,

Are you aware of SeaClear (http://www.sping.com/seaclear/)? It was started by someone who wrote it for himself and now offers it for free.

To answer your question, I would expect it to handle the BSB charts downloadable from NOAA. Another feature that it should have is to be simple to use with a small touch screen, in other words big buttons and no need for right-mouse clicks.

Regards, Ron
Ron:

Clicking on the link in your post brings the following. Web Page Not Found. Did you perhaps comit a typo?
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Old 29-12-2008, 05:43   #24
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Alan2
Just remove the ")?" from the link. It worked for me.
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Old 29-12-2008, 07:23   #25
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The soft ware we use (and pretty much everyone uses) in Alaska commercial fishing is:

Electronic Charts Company, Inc. World Class Electronic Chart Navigation Systems

I have no idea how much it costs, but I would think plenty. One feature I got them to come to was to plan on users having multiple screens. It is very easy to get a computer now with more than one screen. I run two different scale charts with different overlays on each. Both show all the Arpa/Ais information. I may have a Raster on one screen and a Digital on another. I used to split a single screen and run two charts this way. But having the ability to run two charts at the same time is invaluable.
I agree the 3d feature is a waste of money. It is fun to show off at the dock but useless out at sea.
We have all "built" our own charts with this software by having the downsounder tied into the program and recording the soundings. It makes for very accurate charts of areas we normally work and transit.
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Old 29-12-2008, 12:02   #26
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Not "free", but moderately priced certainly

The web address is as follows:

www.nomadelectronics.com. They are located in Seattle. They offer a free 15 day trial version, charge $19.95 for the "password", or $19.95 for paid purchase, with a 30 day money back guarantee.

I haven't delved deeply into the thing, it goes on about stars, but also makes mention of sextant use, lat and long. Looks as if it could be interesting. Judge for yourselves. Often, these days, one doesn't get much for $20, so this could be a good buy.
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:07   #27
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Because they already did. ENC is the only international vector chart standard sanctioned under International Maratime law and US Law as well. For some odd reason the US is actually part of it. We don't usally do that but some times we do things right for the wrong reason.
Your mob get a few things right - like the free charts, thats just great.

Quote:
Raytech OTOH, likes C-MAP better because they own it and use it in all their products - period. Old CMAP93 was not a secure fomat (you could copy it easily) and Raytech hated that most of all. It's now dead.
My c80 uses Navionics cartography
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Old 04-01-2009, 20:11   #28
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I don't know if this is helpful but...I am an architect and use Autocad daily. This is a vector program and is written an a language called LISP. Autocad LT is an inexpensive version with few bells and whistles. You can create a drawing with nearly unlimited layering. If you "freeze" a layer it cannot be edited. Layers can be turned on and off with a click of the mouse. You can also zoom in or out or open viewports into a drawing to magnify areas of particular interest. It may be a platform for creating charts. I know it is widely used even by civil engineers.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:07   #29
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By creating a product using open protocols that can be run on a wide variaty of cheap hardware will hopefully enable 'the poor' among us to navigate safely.
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The problem is the market is moving away from open standards. Raytech has closed the loop and is now 100% proprietary. Garmin is not much different. The bigger companies are geting bigger not smaller.
This is a major problem! Yes the US and others are generating open charts that are approved for use by the shipping community, but these freely available charts cannot be used on the chartplotters we are buying and the manufacturers are even locking us into one source of chart chips. Raymarine is a good case in point with their new products only supporting Navionics.

I cruise mostly in the Bahamas and the Navionics chips have very spotty coverage here. They claim to be the best but if you use their chips in the Exumas you had better beware. C-map has much better charts here but will not work with the new Raymarine equipment such as the E series. If you intend to cruise the Bahamas keep this in mind when picking your electronics package.
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:56   #30
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It should be compatible with any chart and able to have a satellite overlay.
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