Some time ago I filed a Flyspray request FS#1249 "AIS Target List - order of columns". I have more bandwidth now, so I can post a bit more here.
The idea is to tweak the AIS
Target List a little more towards usage underway, as opposed to shipspotting (there is nothing wrong with shipspotting, just a different focus).
When underway, I would expect mainly the following:
1. show the key information about potentially dangerous targets
2. show it taking as little display space as possible.
I think a good example of functionality expected here is the professional MKD - Minimum Keyboard/Display device. It shows the triple: Name/CPA/TCPA, switching with a single
keystroke to another triple: Name/Distance/Bearing.
Such a triple can be shown in a very small window. In OCPN this is currently hard to acheive, since the Name is in column #2 and CPA/TCPA is in columns far to the right.
I think underway all other data about targets is better obtained via mouse rollover or a specific Target Query, and screen
space is better used for chart viewing.
Usually, in the open water
, I keep a small AIS
Target List window on screen
as a very early warning, enabling me to see if any targets may be approaching, even if the targets themselves are off screen. This is especially useful, if the chart is not focused on own ship, but on some remote
area (e.g. looking for anchorages
on a distant shore).
Customizing column width and using a horizontal slider, a small window can show just CPA/TCPA, but the target name is really good to have there as well.
Just rearranging the columns to have Name/CPA/TCPA close together might provide the MKD functionality almost out of the box.
Shipspotters, who do not need CPA/TCPA, can shrink these columns and leave them invisible, but it is not practical to shrink all the columns between Name and CPA...
Rearranging the columns is a small change that would make a nice difference, especially on very small screens.