Up till now SeaClear is my preferred program for navigation. It has some nice features (e.g. scanning your own paper charts), but, greedy geezer that I am, I want MORE.
The small screen factor is a good one, as I'm currently saving up for an Ultra Mobile PC like the Samsung Q1 or the Asus R2H. Great little machines for use on board.
The Grib weather
overlay is something already on my list...
The plan is to be able to at least use the CMAP NT+ and NT/PC chartsets. I prefer vector based maps, and the CMAP version has world wide coverage. Still I want to be able to use raster charts as well. Anyone who can name me a raster set with worlwide coverage?
Incorporating the currents in the calculations is a great plan that allows for all kinds of dead reckoning navigation. It is also a very difficult subject, since we are talking about a dynamic process. As the currents constantly change as a function of time it would take awesome amounts of processing power to calculate the fastest route. Feature noted. Do you by the way know of electronicly available current-data? (I would need tuples of time-offset, position, speed of current, direction of current)
Thanks for suggesting the BSB/KAP raster formats, I'll look into that, as well as the ENC vector format.
Primary focus will be on the NMEA protocol as most hardware
can use this. At least here in Europe
The program will have a very modular architecture. This should allow for all kinds of hardware
to be attached: serial
port, USB, bluetooth are on my wish list.
support would be great especially in very busy areas like the entrance to the port of Rotterdam which is in my neighbourhood. The pot of money is the problem though...
In regard to your notes about SeaClear: it is indeed my reference application. I think it is a great program, and not so tedious once you get used to it.
I'm currently investigating the pros and cons of starting an OpenSource project, and I'm looking into some licencing options. Anyone got ideas about that?
The programming language of choice is Java. Java is available for the most widely used operating systems. It is also the language I know... It might also be an obstruction to creating a very flashy user interface, but in this my principle is: function above form. Who cares that a button looks a bit square, without rounded corners. Even with a square button some tediousness may be avoided.
I agree to your point about the low price
of commercial software. 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.
And about the $1600 RayTech solution: beautifull product, but not everybody has that amount of money in the pocket. 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.
Maybe a spinnoff of this software project should be to create a database of free maritime data sources. This should enable enthousiasts to use this sources for their own projects, leading eventually to loads of free or cheap
products that can be used as an alternative to the professional products.
Your idea of navigational aids lighting
up in their true characteristic is great! I could even create some sort of 3D view showing what you should see at night standing in your cockpit
. (Pblais: whistles and horns ok?
I've seen the layers feature in other software, and it looks great. Just adding AIS, current-vectors, GRIB, radar
layers by pushing a button. As Pblais commented this would require vector charts
I agree with you in the better depth
contour department, but there is a point in Pblais' statement about the display deceiving you in suggested accuracy. My main sailing area is in the Waddenzee, a sea that emptys twice a day. As you may suspect that gives lots of current that displaces enormous amounts of sand. Give us a good storm and the deeper areas have moved hundreds of meters. Since a chart, be it a paper or an electronic one, is always a snapshot of the situation at a given time. When you navigate through these waters with your fancy 3D bothom profile, even on the newest chart you are bound to hit sand when your device tells you there is enough depth.