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Old 02-01-2013, 09:44   #31
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Live aboard 19 years
Boat: Norsea, center cockpit/aft cabin, 27'0"
Posts: 354
Re: Droid newbie, possible convert/defector from iphone. ROOTED! What next?

How many of you can't resist checking your gps position every few minutes or so? An electroniic charting program like OpenCPN isn't really necessary to determine if you are on course, unless you have a 'hockey puck' sort of gps with no display. If you use one of these, where do you get latitude and longitude for use plotting your position on a paper or electronic chart if for some reason the gps ceases to connect with your computer? I venture to guess most sailors nowadays don't carry, let alone use a sextant. Sailing near shore with good visibility offers an opportunity to navigate using a paper chart and shore side reference points. In poor visibility, or offshore is another matter.

At the very least there is good cause to use a gps with a display showing where you are relative to your planned route. But, if you have erred at some point in placing a waypoint - the gps will take you into harms way without your being aware.

Scenario. Gps, with or without display does not connect with your electronic charting program. No display on your gps - the gps is useless. A gps with display enables you to know your lat & long. You can determine your position with a paper or electronic chart. In the second case, you need only move your cursor to the approximate lat & long on the electronic chart. Or, you can know your precise location by dropping a mark qnywhere in the vicinity of your position, then edit the mark properties to reflect your exact latitude & longitude. The mark then shows your precise location. OpenCPN used this way justifies it's use on a tablet - even if using a connected gps is not at the moment doable.

I check my gps infrequently on long passages, more often when my course may be altered by a change in wind direction or significant current and when on approach to a destination. It is a rare occasion when it would be advantageous to have my position displayed continuously on a computer or tablet. Near shore in poor visibility or on approach to a destination strewn with reefs and or other hazards. But then, should one be looking at a display or where they are going? In most cases there are physical markers and lights to guide us.

OpenCPN serves it's purpose without a gps attached.


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