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Old 03-02-2010, 12:50   #61
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I had a look on all these pages but must conclude that as a web only based solution they have little use for sailing in poorly charted waters where data-sharing is most helpful. If you can have local internet access at all it is to slow for online-maps based systems.
They are also also missing any offline and synchronisation features.

The idea is to use opencpn as frontend to "go where nobody has gone before"! I have no intention to share boring marina details of places you can read about in pilot-books. I think those who need it are better of with some fancy program like maxsea anyway.
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Old 03-02-2010, 13:04   #62
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Ehem! We were looking for an existing database that could be used to integrate such a frontend feature with..
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Old 03-02-2010, 13:44   #63
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Well none of them have any feature we need to synchronise data so we need them to add this feature to their database if they are interested, but first opencpn needs to have this feature. I don't think it is a big problem to set up some central server somewhere, coding some php/sql based system isn't that complicated but the changes in opencpn are.
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Old 03-02-2010, 13:55   #64
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As far as I can see, Openseamap is a plausible server (see message above) and they already have integration of Skipperguide.de POIs.. Perhaps that's a plausible starting point
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Old 03-02-2010, 14:20   #65
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What an exciting thread :-) From ideology, world politics, theory on motivation, open source strategies, commercial cooperation and to bits and bytes.

A database/portal to share charts in a standard format is the basic need. To that comes all information that might be of interest to sailors, like ports, marks, poi's, marine stores etc, other mariners comments, tracks etc. Both charts and other data must be the scope, - being primarily geo-referenced information and information belonging to that.

The critical factor of the information, - especially on the charts, but also on ports and other stuff, is quality of data. Would you dare to navigate based on the information?

I still think that the OpenSeamap/openstreetmap-project has documented world-wide capability to collect and store information and to integrate into various geo-applications. You can hardly mention any navigator not having access to OSM. And it can be trusted, with some care in certain geographic areas, though.

The OpenSeaMap-project had a major launch on the recent boat-show in Düsseldorf in Germany. Europe's largest. And visible progress, including interfaces to Google Earth via KML, has been shown, compared to 1-2 months ago.

The JOSM-editor has been updated as an offline tool for everybody to collect information and to upload. Not complete, but it's there. And still some huge challenges concerning soundings. But all the experience from OSM is there. An interface to Google Earth is there, - and more..

The next thing needed from OSeaM is better interfacing to OCPN (via S57) and also maybe more GPX-exports. KAP and WCI-files are already there.

I'm 100% convinced that OSeaMap is the direction.

Opencpn and the database/portal-project are and should be two completely separated projects. But of course with interfacing through GPX and S57/BSB-interface for charts. Basically it's there already in OCPN. And GRIB-interface is there already also.

I'm not sure what the conclusion from the above thread is, but now I wrote what I wrote. Thanks for letting me..
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Old 03-02-2010, 14:44   #66
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As far as I can see, Openseamap is a plausible server (see message above) and they already have integration of Skipperguide.de POIs.. Perhaps that's a plausible starting point
It seems that I restored an old thread there. With my knowledge about the technology of OpenStreetMap, do not reposting it here hence.

Generally speaking if we can come to storing our data in XML and generating visual things we need out of this XML, we can use OpenStreetMap API and their database to keep those things.

If we will use the tagging scheme used by OpenSeaMap, it will be displayed on OpenSeaMap site. Of cause we may use only subset and/or extend their tagging shema if needed. OpenSeaMap may or may not extend with us to. A matter of mutual agreement on naming conventions.
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Old 03-02-2010, 14:55   #67
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The critical factor of the information, - especially on the charts, but also on ports and other stuff, is quality of data. Would you dare to navigate based on the information?
I may seem to be a fun of OpenStreetMap/OpenSeaMap and it is not far from true. But I have a need too. Some buoys in Russia may look like 10 litter bottle for mineral water and really they are floating bottles. What official chart will display those?

In my opinion, for navigation the use of official charts is a good practice, but use of only one data source is not a good practice either.

There are things like unofficial marks or some local knowledge about approaches to something not in interest of large ships. Like bottles, like land marks in the skerries of Ladoga lake or approaches to old forts. This is where such hobbyist maps are useful. They will serve as a refrence along with other references used for navigation. Anyway such information is already used now, but comes from wikis, forums, etc.
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Old 03-02-2010, 16:31   #68
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Does ActiveCaptain provide a similar feature?
Yes, very much so. You'll hear more about it after the boat show">Miami Boat Show. We go much further with it than other systems though. We support both online and offline access to ActiveCaptain data. In online mode, you can make a standard URI post and receive back a list of "markers" that hit a rectangular boundary. Then an additional URI post can receive the details or reviews for any particular marker. That type of access is best for live, real time access where you don't want to maintain any data offline. There are many reasons for doing this. It is definitely the simplest way to interface to our data.

But there are also reasons for offline access. Our server also supports the ability to synchronize offline data with the online server data. So a user can download the database to their computer and have it all offline, quick, and without need to internet connection. But obtain a connection and you can synchronize your data back to the server - it downloads everything new that has been added and uploads all updates and reviews you've written offline. We currently average more than 1,000 updates every day (2,500 or more recently each day) so it's a good idea to synchronize every week or so.

Synchronization is streamed and designed to be able to fail in the environment of a poor internet connection (common on boats unfortunately). If the synchronization fails, it starts up where it left off at the next synchronization. Obviously, all of this offline access takes more effort and development time.

Our interface is XML or json although we've also done custom front-ends for our own mobile products.

We're currently working with a select group of organizations that are implementing access to our servers in this way. It'll be opened up more and more through this year.
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Old 03-02-2010, 16:40   #69
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You know, it strikes me that no one has looked into my suggestion about Layar previously. Layar is brilliant. They provide a standard that allows OTHERS to write small interface code to allow their geo data to be displayed in the Layar app. They currently have some 300 Layar overlays. ActiveCaptain is coming to Layar soon.

If you want a lot of overlay data, create a standard that allows us content providers to interface it ourselves. Then OpenCpn just has to write one handler. If you can support something very similar to Layar, then it'll be a snap to move a Layar over to OpenCpn.

It's just a matter of time before Layar has an API for offline support too.

Just a thought...
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Old 03-02-2010, 16:46   #70
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A universal overlay would certainly be the easiest solution from the opencpn side of things - there's been repeated discussion of having a standardised overlay format.. There would still be the offline issue nonetheless.
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Old 03-02-2010, 16:57   #71
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Offline will come. Again, I'd strongly suggest being as compatible with Layar as possible. Let there be hundreds of overlays possible and let the user select which one(s) they want.
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Old 03-02-2010, 17:31   #72
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Hi Jeffrey!
Certainly that is one point of view. I see it the other way round.
Why concentrate on one of these projects?

Nobody knows at the moment which of those projects will keep on growing or stay alive. And as mentioned already in this thread there a dozens around the web at the moment. Each with its own API, storage format, etc.

I very much believe that it is the better way round to have some kind of "Spider" which gathers all available information for a given area 1) from every source and "translate" them to the one OCPN format.

This "Spider" is flexible and can be adapted to every knew or changed source. The advantage is that the OCPN format is not touched and always stays the same.

I would prefer this way. It's more future-proof.

Gunther

1) The area selection could be done like the one in many of the GRIB viewers just by drawing a rectangle and sending the coordinates with the request to the server.
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Old 03-02-2010, 22:05   #73
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I'm thinking that maybe we are talking about two different type of information here. The first being general info about points of interest. The second being local knowledge.

The first kind is useful and is best accessed online. Although, offline access is possible via caching. This POI info really is browser fodder and is not appropriate for OpenCPN.

The data I am interested in sharing is of the second kind. Say, you are planning on moving your boat to a new marina so you call a friend that lives their. He informs you that the channel to the marina has moved. Your friend offers to send you a GPX file with a route to the new marina. Perfect, with OpenCPN up and running you are golden.

I hope that we continue to stay focused on providing a straight forward navigation tool. Lets try really hard not to overload OpenCPN with unnecessary bloat.

Thanks,

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Old 04-02-2010, 01:36   #74
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Share whatever you like and call it whatever you like, this discussion is about the infrastructure for sharing information widely, rather than the content.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:56   #75
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Share whatever you like and call it whatever you like, this discussion is about the infrastructure for sharing information widely, rather than the content.
The other thing to consider here is the licensing compatibility issues. If we submit data to OpenStreetMap than technically everybody will be able to access it and incorportate in their services. But leagally it is not the case. For example "ActiveCaptain" has "non-commercial" clause and even more:

You may not copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit, distribute, and/or exploit any Intellectual Property in any way (including by e-mail or other electronic means) without our prior written consent or that of the IP Providers. Modification of any Intellectual Property or use of any Intellectual Property for any other purpose is a violation of the copyrights, trademark rights, and other proprietary rights. The use of any Intellectual Property on any other site or networked computer environment, or maintaining unauthorized links to the ActiveCaptain web site, is prohibited by these Terms.

This means that ActiveCaptain will not be able to use OpenStreetMap data as everything submitted to OpenStreetMap is required to be freely redistributable, copied, changed by anyone as soon as it keeps data under the same license (same as with GPLed software).

If we want to support distributing data to proprietary/license incompatible data sources we will have to come to something described earlier with some "OpenCPN format" used internally and user interface allowing to publish/fetch data from different sources. Users than will be able to explictly specify where they want data to be published and thus accept the license of particular services individually.
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