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Old 22-06-2010, 00:06   #16
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Marshmat - I am most definitely one of the
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non-engineers (who are seen as too stupid to be trusted with control of important functions, and so must be nagged with endless, annoying prompts for even the simplest tasks).
Thank you for supplying me with this reassurance that there must be others out there like me!

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
FYI, if you want your existing GPS to work with your laptop, get a multiplexer. I have the Shipmodul, but there are others. But it's just as easy to get a $20 GPS antenna and stick it out the companionway so it can pick up the satellites.
Curmudgeaon - firstly we use Mapsource / Garmin charts for the Arabian Gulf - so there goes my chance to mess with OpenCPN, which is apparently not compatible with Garmin! Oops. So I might try to find these free to download American charts to play with on OpenCPN, and compare to Mapsource - I guess it won't harm to be familiar with them all. I had been hoping to find just one program we could use with all the charts!

What's this about satellite?? I'm afraid your words are getting a bit difficult for me... Am I right in thinking a multiplexer is basically a communications hub that enables us to receive signals from different sources -ie, we can send info from GPS, depth sounder, wind indicator etc to laptop. Why would we need all that info (except obviously GPS) on the laptop - surely that is only really relevant to the Helmsman? (Having said that, we probably have one - I just want to learn to to use it effectively)

Remember - Dummy talking - do tell me if I'm talking nonsense, or seem to be misunderstanding stuff! At least I'm learning something, and my eyes haven't glazed over yet as they do when hubby tries to explain this stuff... KISS for me please!
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Old 22-06-2010, 01:11   #17
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Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
AIS:

So, not only will a position on the chart display your boats location (via GPS), but also display other vessels and ships. The position of the ships/vessels will also display detail information about the ships/vessels - such as the name, picture, weight etc.

You can see this in action here:

Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions

.
Oh Wow. Wow, wow, wow. This link is amazing. So how do I link this amazing service to my laptop (edit: duh - it's obviously on my laptop, I'm looking at it on my laptop - I sometimes say the daftest things) and Mapsource or Open CPN??
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Old 22-06-2010, 06:27   #18
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1. Here is a description of the supported chart types in Rose Point: Rose Point Navigation Systems

2. A multiplexer is just a little box that lets your PC talk to other devices that speak the same language-- i.e. NMEA 0183. So, I plug the multiplexer into a USB port on my laptop, and also into the data port on my Garmin 545, and presto, Rose Point picks up lat and long from the Garmin.

3. The satellites are just those things flying around up there that let any GPS unit get a position fix.

If your GPS is connected to your autopilot, you can also plan routes with waypoints, etc. on your PC, send them to the GPS and then to the autopilot, which will follow them. But all of that is too fancy for me.
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Old 22-06-2010, 07:09   #19
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Originally Posted by Aaza Dana View Post
Curmudgeaon - firstly we use Mapsource / Garmin charts for the Arabian Gulf - so there goes my chance to mess with OpenCPN, which is apparently not compatible with Garmin! Oops. So I might try to find these free to download American charts to play with on OpenCPN, and compare to Mapsource - I guess it won't harm to be familiar with them all. I had been hoping to find just one program we could use with all the charts!
Those free American charts are on the NOAA website at Nautical Charts & Pubs For some reason, the Americans consider charts to be an important safety tool as well as a money saver (more people with up-to-date charts = less people getting pulled off the rocks by the Coast Guard), and so treat their production as a public service. Brilliant
Most chart programs should be able to handle the S-57 and BSB formats used by the NOAA. Some commercial products, though- Mapsource, C-Map, etc.- save their chart data in other formats that aren't as widely supported.

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What's this about satellite?? I'm afraid your words are getting a bit difficult for me... Am I right in thinking a multiplexer is basically a communications hub that enables us to receive signals from different sources -ie, we can send info from GPS, depth sounder, wind indicator etc to laptop. Why would we need all that info (except obviously GPS) on the laptop - surely that is only really relevant to the Helmsman? (Having said that, we probably have one - I just want to learn to to use it effectively)
Most of the gadgets you'll connect to your system (the GPS receiver, the AIS receiver if you have one, etc.) speak some form of the same language- usually a type of plain-text string called NMEA 0183. Unfortunately, they don't all do it at the same speed, and don't all understand the same instructions. The multiplexer basically takes the NMEA 0183 sentences from all the devices and puts them all onto a single USB cable in a format the computer can understand.
Quote:
So how do I link this amazing service to my laptop (edit: duh - it's obviously on my laptop, I'm looking at it on my laptop - I sometimes say the daftest things) and Mapsource or Open CPN??
For AIS to be useful on board, Websites won't work- you need your own AIS receiver or transponder. Ships with AIS transponders will broadcast their position, speed, course and other particulars periodically on a couple of VHF radio channels reserved for this purpose (87b and 88b). Your receiver picks up this data and gives it to your chartplotter, which then puts that ship on your chart. If you buy a transponder instead of a receiver, you'll also show up on the ship's chartplotter.
What you see on ship tracking websites is just AIS data sent by the ship and picked up by someone on shore with an AIS receiver. These ship watchers often also put photos of the ships up on their sites.
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Old 29-06-2010, 07:44   #20
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Duh - talk about Dummy - having set this all up (I think), we went on an island hopping cruise for three days last weekend to test it all out! And guess what I forgot to take? Yup - my laptop. Doh! But thanks for all your help, it has been interesting trying to get it all together....
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Old 29-06-2010, 08:05   #21
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Originally Posted by Aaza Dana View Post
- I sailed from Kuwait to Dubai during the last Gulf War on an X-boat using paper charts (the Military type Skipper wasn't best pleased when I spilt my whisky on it, mind).
Hi there, the most important question in this case is: How did you got the Whiskey?? Kuwait is still "dry"

Cheers from Dubai
Marco
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Old 29-06-2010, 09:51   #22
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I have a GPS reciever question. My radio has a hookup, so that it can transmit an emergency beacon with my location. It wants a two-wire lead connection. My laptop wants a USB connection. Are there GPS receivers that allow both because I've found quite a few USB units and quite a few permanent mount marine units with just the wires, and while redundant systems are sometimes good, I really don't want to pay for two different GPS antennas.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:54   #23
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Originally Posted by swisscraft View Post
Hi there, the most important question in this case is: How did you got the Whiskey?? Kuwait is still "dry"

Cheers from Dubai
Marco
Ahhh - the "military type skipper" was British Military Mission - not sure what that means (a legal arms dealer, I think), which is something to do with the Embassy... we're not so keen on the stuff that we'll pay 80quid a bottle on the black market!
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Old 14-07-2010, 10:33   #24
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Maybe this is where I can find out if I can get marine software to load on my automotive GPS as a backup for the chart plotter. Thanks
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Old 02-01-2011, 18:03   #25
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I'm going to bump this thread up. There are a couple of other threads about navigation software that are active right now but this one seems to have a bunch of useful background information. I've done a search of the subject on the forum and here a few links that I came up with. Just in case others want to check them out.
Navigation for PC
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/navigation-software-for-pc-33564.html
Best Navigation software 10/2008
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/best-navigation-software-20583.html
Explorer charts
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/pc-based-software-for-bahamas-44332.html
More on Bahamas Explorer Charts
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/electronics/68375-software-maps-navigation-via-laptop.html
Garmin SD cards 2008
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/garmin-gps-sd-card-12880.html
Chart Plotters vs laptops
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/pc-with-nav-software-vs-chartplotter-29206.html
Software survey, very incomplete
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/software-survey-43206.html
Short Seaclear Discussion
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/seaclear-8881.html
Laptops and handhelds
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/laptop-hanheld-gps-which-software-23640.html


I'm also putting together a list of the different programs. It'll probably be incomplete but it's a start. I'll post it tomorrow.

My problem is similar to SS (Aza Dana?) I have a Raymarine C80 chartplotter at the helm, a Garmin chartplotter at the Nav Station, and a Garmin handheld as a general backup. So, I've got Garmin Mapsource software and Navionics software. I have used Maptech Offshore Navigator Lite on my laptop. Recently I've changed laptops around and have both a netbook and a Dell and I've got to reinstall software.
I'd love to have software that would read the SD chips from my Garmin GPS's as well as the Navionics compact flash cards and would allow me to generate waypoints and read past tracks and save them. I'm probably asking the impossible because both Garmin and Raymarine use proprietary chart formats.

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas of ways to increase compatibility I'd love to hear them. Meanwhile I'll just try to dig into the software and see what I have to do.

Bill
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Old 02-01-2011, 19:19   #26
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I'm going to bump this thread up. <snip>
If anyone has any suggestions or ideas of ways to increase compatibility I'd love to hear them. Meanwhile I'll just try to dig into the software and see what I have to do.

Bill
I stumbled on Navigatrix, new operating system last summer that does nearly everything I want to do and allows me to do things i didn't know I would want to do.

It has OpenCPN, for charts, that I like more and more every day.

Airmail, a Windows program, that allows me to use the SSB for email and gribs. Navigatrix has the best compatibility rating for Airmail than any other non-Windows system.

WxTide, another Windows program for tide and calculations that will give a week's worth of graphs for locations around the world.

It's preconfigured to just plug in the GPS, Pactor, SSB and it works. There are no drivers to download...no nothin'.

Also preconfigured is a little program called gnuais that allows me to take my VHF radio that I modified for a couple of bucks (and a couple of hours hunting parts and research) and plug it in to the mic jack and I have AIS data on the OpenCPN chart.

It has zygrib, which is like Ugrib, to download and view grib data from the internet. OpenCPn can use that data.

While not strictly a navigation program, there is a planetarium program that take the Lat/Lon from the GPS and lets me find the 57 stars, or the gazillion other stars that I might be curious about.

There is a perpetual astro almanac in Navigatrix, but hurts my head.

However, I liked Navigatrix so well I installed it on a little netbook that I take ashore. It has fully functional wifi, web browser, Skype, IM stuff that I don't do. I could send and receive encrypted email...heck, even encrypt a file, a directory, or the entire hard drive to keep some lucky individual from knowing bank account numbers, passwords, or my wife's secret recipe for spaghetti bolognese.

I downloaded an offline wikipedia that runs very well to resolve any isolated anchorage arguments.

Since it is related to the Linux family there is rock solid security. I don't worry about virii, and have access to loads of free software that can be added when someone does a hard drive installation.

I keep a copy of Navigatrix with my personal data on a USB stick in case I do something stupid, because I can always go back.

There are some who are underwhelmed by all of this stating that anyone with sufficient knowledge can create the same ensemble of application. Yes they could, and it would look a lot like Navigatrix....except you really don't need to know anything technical to make it work. If fact, the hard part might be learning just to plug it in.

This doesn't help you with your SD cards, or how to get everything talking/listening to each other, but Navigatrix sure solved a lot of problems for me.

Check it out, and check out the Support Forum because it's as close to laptop navigation for dummies as I've come.

Oh, and the Explorer Charts for the Bahamas are spot on.
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:26   #27
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Garmin BlueChart Question

Wow! That looks pretty amazing. Someone put together a bunch of free computer programs that are useful for boaters. I'll have to check it out later. Maybe I can set up a double boot on my netbook. But this is hardly the "Dummies" stuff.

So, now I have a kind of "Dummies" question. I have my Garmin BlueChart Americas CD (2008). Regular BlueCharts have been discontinued by Garmin but I can still activate some of the charts that I want for the Caribbean. Garmin is now only selling BlueChart g2 and BlueChart g2 Vision charts that have a lot more "stuff". Has anyone used these? Are they significantly better than the regular charts? It looks like the g2 charts are only about $10-15 more than unlocking one of the original ones.

Bill
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:43   #28
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With the help of this thread and others like it, I've now managed to integrate my GPS with:

-my radar
-my AIS
-my autopilot
-my VHF/DSC w/remote mic readout
-my SSB/DSC
-my Sirius Weather
-my grib files
-my vector and raster charts and plotting system
-my wind instruments
-my engine monitoring system (temp, rpm, fuel, oil pressure, exhaust temp, etc.)
-my power monitoring system Link 2000 modified
-my tankage system
-my tv, vcr, dvd, X-box, iPhone, iPad, Droid
-my email, facebook, Twitter, Internet TV, and...
-a bunch of other real neat stuff.

I have a hybrid NavNet, NMEA0182/2000, RayNet, and proprietary networking system to tie this all together.

All this displays beautifully on my 36" 12-volt LCD screen.

Somehow, though, I find it a bit confusing at times, even with the picture-in-picture feature enabled.

Oh, well....guess I'll just have to go up on deck once in awhile and look around! That should help clear my head a bit so I can go back to "real navigating".

Bill
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:01   #29
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Oh, well....guess I'll just have to go up on deck once in awhile and look around! That should help clear my head a bit so I can go back to "real navigating".
Be careful out there!
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:24   #30
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One thing a Newbie should watch out for is to make sure their first choice allows saving or at least exporting waypoints and tracks in a generic format.(whatever that is!-maybe gpx maybe csv text?)

Without this,it's a bit like writing your logbook in a language you can't read.
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