Version 0.6 beta of the GE plugin is available
Netbook users (generaly anybody with the screen
resolution below 1024x768), please read carefuly the note after the list of changes and known problems.
Changes since the 0.5 beta:
- Fixed the crash on startup without GE installed
- Reimplemented the boat display in GE completely, now it looks and works almost the same as if you have GPS connected directly to GE - tested just with GE 6
- Fixed course-up screen rotation
- A much more defensive way of synchronizing the views is now used. It results in a much decreased resource consumption and increases the responsivness of the whole system, but sometimes it takes a bit of time before GE view catches up with the chart display just be patient and let me know if it's acceptable.
- Small experimantal changes were done to the GE startup process, let's see if it resolves the problems for people unable to use the older versions
Known problems in this version:
IMPORTANT NOTE for netbook users (and generaly anybody with the screen resolution below 1024x768)
- GE sometimes starts to think, that the boat position info is not available, especially when a lot of other applications are used at the same time. Investigating on that. To reenable the tracking, go to the plugin settings, turn Show boat in GE and then go back and turn it on again.
- Toolbar icon state on enabling the plugin is wrong
- Plugin window size resets to default when it's reopened - I'm slowly but surely running out of places where I can try to force AuiManager not to resize the window to a size it chooses
- AUI code generally needs rework
When you start Google Earth
on a computer with the screen resolution lower than 1024x768 pixels, it displays a warning dialog on startup. This dialog prevents the plugin from acquiring the GE view, so you have to take the following steps:
- Start GE normally
- When the warning dialog appears, tick the checkbox on the bottom left saying, that you don't want to see the warning again
- Click on the OK button
After that you can start using the plugin.
Installation and usage instructions
It does NOT work with OpenCPN 2.3.1 as it relies on the API extensions introduced in version 2.4 and the boat display doesn't work with OpenCPN before 2.4.324
Before you use the plugin:
- Make sure you are using Microsoft Windows. Sorry, there is no chance to get this running on any normal operating system
- Download OpenCPN, version 2.4.324 beta or later from Download OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage and install it
- To make the view sizing work reasonably, run Google Earth and turn off the toolbar and the sidebar in the View menu or Ctrl + Alt + T and Ctrl + Alt + B respectively
- Download the attached file gecomapi_pi.doc, change the extension to .dll and place it into the plugin directory in your OpenCPN installation
Run OpenCPN, go to Toolbox and enable the GE plugin on the Plugins tab
The plugin icon appears in the toolbar
Important note for GE offline use
GE tries to connect to the internet on startup and if it's not available it waits for some time (about a minute on my machine), hoping the connection will come alive. There is nothing that could be done about it, so you have to be patient waiting for the plugin to start in this scenario. After another while, GE displays two dialogs telling you, that there's no internet connection and whether you want to troubleshoot the problem. Answering No to the question is the thing to do. Unfortunately while displaying these dialogs, GE "steals" the focus and mouse wheel events
don't get to OpenCPN anymore. To reclaim the mouse for OpenCPN, resize the GE plugin view a little bit and you are set again. This is inconvenient, I know, but currently I can't find any other workaround.
Populating the GE cache for offline use
Earth is designed with a permanent highspeed connection to the internet in mind, but can be used offline if the necessary imagery data is available in the local cache on disk.
To make the data available locally, it's necessary to visit all the places we want to see before the computer is disconnected from the internet.
Fortunately we are not the only people facing this problem and several tools exist, helping to simplify this process. Probably the best for our use is GoogleEarth Voyager
- read about it and find the download links at Google Earth Caching Programs III
GEV comes with a comprehensive documentation covering the whole problem - definitely worth reading to understand what's going on.
Phiggins wrote a tool called GERoute
, which can populate the cache from a GPX route
. You can get the tool from his website
- don't forget to read the password to decompress the archive at the top of the page