Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 25-05-2013, 11:11   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

By way of full disclosure, I run Centrafuse Inc, a software company that makes carPC frontend software. Our product integrates with a variety of standard navigation applications (CoPilot, IGuidance, Garmin etc).

I recently purchased an Asus VivoTab ME400 Windows 8 tablet and wanted to try it out with Centrafuse Auto. The program itself ran great, but I couldn't use the navigation...because there wasn't a GPS available on any com port.

A Google search led me here, to the Cruising and Sailing forums. A number of question were raised about using desktop navigation and charting programs on tablets that had built-in GPS/GNSS chips, but did not have those devices exposed as a standard com port. When it was clear that there didn't appear to be a solution, I wrote one.

It's a small tray app that converts the Windows Location platform data to standard NMEA 0183 strings and outputs it via a virtual com port. It works with any program that expects to see a GPS device on a standard serial port.

I won't link to the site or the product (I run a forum too) but I wanted to make the product known to a community that might benefit from it.

If the mods think this is too much like spam, I understand.

Thanks!

VegasGuy
__________________

__________________
VegasGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2013, 12:02   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
sinbad7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Ubatuba,SP,Brazil (Ex Norway)
Boat: (Ex) Alu. 60' yacht-"Eight Bells"
Posts: 2,692
Images: 57
Send a message via Skype™ to sinbad7
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

VegasGuy..

If you have a working Android smartphone with GPS you can pair it with your PC etc.
I use it as a backup to my USB GPS dongle on my laptop. Just download the FREE app on your smartphone called ExtGPS and pair it over bluetooth. I get COM4 connection and configure OpenCPN accordingly.

Tore
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	ExtGPS.png
Views:	242
Size:	118.0 KB
ID:	61336   Click image for larger version

Name:	ExtGPS-2.png
Views:	172
Size:	148.6 KB
ID:	61337  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Screenshot_2013-05-25-15-50-03.png
Views:	141
Size:	75.1 KB
ID:	61339  
__________________

__________________
"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
sinbad7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2013, 12:15   #3
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

Nice! I'll have to give a try. The only advantage to Centrafuse Localizer is that its not dependent upon any outside connections or devices. My real motivation was that I had a perfectly good GNSS chip, capable of using any navigation satellite system in the world, and I couldn't use it with most desktop navigation or mapping programs. Seemed absurd that I had to hook up some external device just to get that capability.

Of course, if your tablet or laptop doesn't have an internal GPS/GNSS device, your solution makes perfect sense.

Cheers!

VegasGuy
__________________
VegasGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2013, 13:50   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
sinbad7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Ubatuba,SP,Brazil (Ex Norway)
Boat: (Ex) Alu. 60' yacht-"Eight Bells"
Posts: 2,692
Images: 57
Send a message via Skype™ to sinbad7
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

VegasGuy..

I find it strange that there are no GPS shown in the COM ports of a Windows 8 device. I know the trend now is to use USB instead of COM ports.

A Windows 8 tablet should be able to run windows software like the OpenCPN navigation prog,which of course utilizes COM ports. It has GPS built in yet no way to access it in the COM ports. Sounds VERY strange.

I just use ExtGPS as a backup should my USB GPS dongle cease to function,
after all,I always have my smartphone at hand..

I doŽnt know anything about the Asus Win8 Tablet,does it work with all normal win software? And it also have COM ports?

Tore
__________________
"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
sinbad7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2013, 14:10   #5
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

I was just as surprised as you. I can't say with 100% certainty, but I've seen this issue brought up on several different forums. Microsoft has put forward the Location Sensor Platform API as a standard for acquiring position information on Windows 8. Since it can use GPS/GNSS, WiFi triangulation, Cell phone towers or even your IP address to establish your location, it's not a bad solution for a wide variety of devices.

The problem is that most desktop apps expect to have a comport to connect to for that information, rather than directly accessing a .Net API. And most tablet/laptop manufacturers chose to implement the chipset via the API rather than through a virtual port. Thus, you have the Ext GPS app which creates a Bluetooth serial port to connect to, and you have Centrafuse Localizer, which creates a standard virtual serial port. Same solution, just different sources of the underlying positional data.

The question of running OpenCPN on Windows 8 was one of the things that led me to create the software.

VegasGuy
__________________
VegasGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2013, 15:38   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
sinbad7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Ubatuba,SP,Brazil (Ex Norway)
Boat: (Ex) Alu. 60' yacht-"Eight Bells"
Posts: 2,692
Images: 57
Send a message via Skype™ to sinbad7
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

VegasGuy..

Thanks for the explanation,was not aware of that. I can understand Android devices perhaps going for a more up-to-date GPS interface,but NOT Windows 8 which continues the PC environment on a tablet without ensuring it is backward compatible with Windows programs,I find that very strange indeed.

I doŽn think there are many OpenCPN users on Win8 Tablets as yet,so maybe they are not aware of the problem? In which case,your Centrafuse Localizer would be most welcome IŽm sure.

Personally,I have the choice of using Android dedicated nav. progs like Marine Navigator and OruxMaps,both very good programs compatible with .kap (.bsb) type maps which we all have collected over the years. I can also run OpenCPN on my Galaxy 10.1 Tablet using TeamViewer or PocketCloud pairing it over bluetooth or LAN,keeping my laptop safely down below,operating the program from my tablet in the cockpit. However,I prefer using the dedicated Android progs until someone ports OpenCpn onto Android devices.

Tore
__________________
"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
sinbad7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2013, 19:23   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Singapore
Boat: Riviera 33'
Posts: 52
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

Hi VegasGuy,

The Win8 tablet community thanks you ��

I hope the mods let you post links here too. You could always inform the Open CPN people for inclusion on that site too?
__________________
If you think a professional is expensive, wait until you see how much an amateur will cost you.
Twisticles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-05-2013, 20:25   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle
Boat: Krogen 58' Xiao Xiu
Posts: 255
Send a message via MSN to JayCall
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

I find Microsoft truly baffling. I looked at buying the new Surface Pro. I have always used a PC (and now a laptop) for business and wanted Office, etc available on the boat. I have used the I-pad since the intro of so many nav apps. I went to my friendly MS store and asked "Can I review a list of apps ported to the Surface" so I can decide if it will work for me. I was interested in whether Navioncs and the like had yet ported to the Surface. Turns out, there is nowhere that you can review a list of apps available. You must first buy the Surface, then register in the App Store, then and only then can you see what is available in the App Store! You can't even browse on the display machines in the store as you must have full registration, including CC info, to access the APP Store. I told the guy to ask his bosses simple question "Why should I buy a Surface if I cannot see the software avaible for it"?
__________________
JayCall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-06-2013, 06:48   #9
Registered User
 
Normanby's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Boat: Compass 28
Posts: 271
I was just looking at a MS Surface Pro today myself.

I'm a bit of a numbskull when it comes to this stuff (except for MS Office stuff) but can someone tell me if I can run these on one?:
Navionics
Drag Queen
AIS receiver

That kind of thing.

One other question; is it possible to plug a USB GPS, a long range WiFi antenna, and an AIS receiver into some kind of hub, that will re-send the data from these devices over WiFi to a table/PC like the Surface?

I'd be grateful for any links to sites that will explain such stuff in words of one syllable...
__________________
Normanby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2013, 14:41   #10
Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 34
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

I'd like to see any followup on your question Normanby. I'm torn between an Ipad and something (anything) windows. Not an Apple fan.
__________________
RonRock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2013, 15:32   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 37
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

Running OpenCPN on a Dell XPS with windows 8. The XPS is the laptop with the screen that swivels to make it a tablet. Pricey but works great and the XPS is actually a laptop that does real work (unlike the Ipad). THe downside is i hate W8. I mean really trully hate it.
__________________
Land an is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2013, 17:22   #12
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 10,651
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

Asus and Surface (only their non-RT versions) will run everything and anything that runs on a Win 8 device. Because they are Win 8 devices.

Asus-RT and Surface-RT will not run most of pre-Win8 software and not all Win8 software either.

PS Make sure you get the ports and DRIVERS you need for all your peripherals.

PS PS And look up the price tickets, if such trivialities count to you at all ;-)

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2013, 00:41   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Australia
Boat: Bav 47 Ocean
Posts: 16
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

thanks VegasGuy for solving this Windows 8 shortcoming so quickly!
I have just purchased a copy of Localizer from Centrafuse ($14.99) and it works perfectly on my Asus VivoTab.
I'm running OpenCPN so it was easy to create a virtual COM port in Localizer and then create a Connection in OpenCPN... it streamed NMEA in the window as soon as I made the connection.
I have a laptop downstairs connected to the vessel's instruments and autopilot. There's a WiFi connection between laptop and VivoPad so they're also able to communicate fully.
cheers,
Ian
__________________
SUNSHINESAILOR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2013, 06:37   #14
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 10,651
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by SUNSHINESAILOR View Post

(...)

I'm running OpenCPN so it was easy to create a virtual COM port in Localizer and then create a Connection in OpenCPN... it streamed NMEA in the window as soon as I made the connection.

(...)
Why not use a TCP then? Why go via a COM when wifi available at both ends?

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2013, 13:12   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Australia
Boat: Bav 47 Ocean
Posts: 16
Re: Navigation apps on Windows 8 tablet - a solution

I have my tablet with me at work (on another boat) 2000 miles away so it's handy to have a self contained system. I do use TCP for data (on my sailing boat) from the main GPS (ray 125) but it's also good to have a back-up GPS. It was a frustration having a built-in GPS in the Asus tablet but still having to use my phone for a GPS feed so the Localizer software is a good easy fix. Incidentally, i use FTDI USB to RS422 converters for the connections between PC and NMEA inputs from the instruments. cheers
__________________

__________________
SUNSHINESAILOR is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
navigation

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

RV & Travel Trailer Communities

Our RV & Travel Trailer sites encompasses virtually all types of Recreational Vehicles, from brand-specific to general RV communities.

» More about our RV Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 21:25.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.