Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 20-06-2010, 15:56   #1
********* Emeritus
 
SaucySailoress's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 8,235
Laptop Navigation for Dummies !

What I can do:
- I went through all the RYA stuff and learnt how to use pencils and rulers and all that stuff on a paper chart.
- 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).
- I have used GPSs over the last few years to navigate large parts of the Arabian Gulf on our dive boats, our yacht, and racing catamarans
- I have used Garmin on the laptop to plan passages for overnight cat races to the islands - 30nm away through oilfields and skimming restricted zones, complete with waypoints etc (and being an all round nice gal, even printed and laminated them for the fleet)
What I can't do:
- I have never managed to do is figure out how the GPS works with the laptop!!!
What I want to do:
Well, I want to learn all about how these things work, what features they have and whatever else is good to know. There are many many other threads, but I can't keep up with the language being used..... Here's one froma random page I just selected:
Quote:
:OpenCPN 2.1 Build 331.
Hello
In the French version file "opencpn_fr_FR.po" , this affects all versions, there is : "I&mport".
I think it should be "&Import" ?
So - in a nutshell - who can give me simple tips in simple grade 5 English.....
__________________

__________________

SaucySailoress is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2010, 16:04   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Is this what you need?

Global Positioning System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There is (or there was) some information on the Garmin web site.

The information you are referring to is specific to OpenCPN.
__________________

__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2010, 16:05   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
idpnd's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Almerķa, ES
Boat: Chiquita 46 - Libertalia
Posts: 1,551
Hello,

the technical jargon you are referring to is mostly related to the beta process, whereby developers/beta testers/translators/etc are involved in an open development process. The huge amount of dialogue taking place with end users is typical for free software development.

If you just want to give it a spin, get a gps connected to the laptop and play around with the software, I've seen it widely described as being intuitively accessible.

You may also wish to consult the extensive documentation, which has just been updated for the new version 2.1.0 by cagney of this forum.

Everything from chart installation to gps models and connection thereof is covered in the manual.

Just post any specific questions here.

Enjoy!
__________________
sv Libertalia
idpnd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2010, 16:06   #4
Registered User

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Elsewhere on the Water
Posts: 571
Kate,
The big picture is that the GPS feeds position information to the laptop, and the laptop runs software that displays charts, the vessel's position on the chart, and allows you to plot courses.

There are a lot more details and you will find lots of discussion of the various software packages available.

Was the X-boat like the one built by Nichols Brothers about four years ago? It did about seventy knots.
__________________
St. Elsewhere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2010, 16:13   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Actually, this link may be more useful

ESR's Guide to Hacking With GPS
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2010, 18:34   #6
cruiser

Join Date: May 2010
Location: SF Bay Area; Former Annapolis and MA Liveaboard.
Boat: Looking and saving for my next...mid-atlantic coast
Posts: 6,197
I'd like to up a bit the OP's request:

What commercial or open source applications out there will allow you to use:

- GPS
- AIS
- Autopilot
- Radar
- Chartplotter
- Instrument (wind, speed, depth
- Rudder indicator
- Weather (Radio, Navtex, Sirius, etc)

and also work on a network to other hardware via repeater (such as another chartplotter on deck) so that tese systems can be viewed elsewhere and be redundant in case of failure?
__________________
SaltyMonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2010, 18:52   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
sandy daugherty's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: near Annapolis
Boat: PDQ 36 & Atlantic 42
Posts: 1,178
The GPS part is pretty simple; what gets boggling is the shear volume of tasks navigation software attempts to do; much of it is useless to a lot of sailors.

At its simplest, navigation software takes the position information from a very simple GPS, and displays part of a chart with that position in the center. As the boat moves over the water, the chart moves under the screen.

There are many sources for nautical charts a computer can read. Some are photographic images of the original paper charts, and others convert the information on the charts into data that can be shown or hidden on demand. The first are called raster charts; a collection of colored dots (called pixels) arranged in a rectilinear (rows and columns, and a whole lot of them!) pattern. At first these were preferred because users thought this was closer to the real thing. Later, Vector Charts became popular. When paper charts are scanned, special software picks off text and numbers and files them in a database with their precise positions, then converts each different blob of color as a shape that is defined in mathematical terms or vectors. As screwy as that sounds, vector charts have advantages: they can be magnified or shrunk without becoming an ugly bunch of jaggy little boxes (pixels) and the numbers will always be readable. This debate is almost over now; vector charts are much easier to store, so much larger images can be easily managed by the computer.

Once the basic moving map display idea is working, navigation software goes crazy with all the different things a computer can do with that information. Like the Garmin Chart plotter you have used, it can calculate a bewildering array of data from the useful to the ridiculous. You pick and choose what you want. Where your Garmin may offer a couple of ways to view the information, commercial software suffers from competitive feature bloat, on the theory that people will buy the package with the most features. That is unfortunate. There's just too much!
Virtually all Navigation software can zoom in and way out, let you plot your next trip with a series of way points, and tell you the heading, distance, time en route, ETA, etc., and several can interpret weather information, and help you anticipate tacks and jibes. Some of that weather information comes from files you download from the INTERNET or over your single sideband radio, and some are transmitted from satellites.
A few packages can overlay radar too. That is as if you had some plastic transparencies, one for each of these features, and you laid them over your paper chart. Pretty snazzy.
Almost all the current versions of Navigation software can understand the information broadcast on VHF for AIS and DSC, and will plot those ships and small vessels on the screen. This is very useful.

I think the biggest differences between laptop navigation and Chart plotters is just the excess you can have on the computer. I believe you should balance that against the downsides of laptops:

1. They are very difficult to use in an open cockpit: only the most expensive screens can be read in daylight, and they require a mare's nest of cables, power cords, antennas and mice.
2. They are fragile and are doomed by the first salt spray.
3. They frequently require typed input, which requires two hands and undivided attention, an unreasonable demand from a skipper who is sailing a boat.

After playing with a multitude of electronic permutations, I have ended up with a dedicated boat computer down at the nav station, that can do all kinds of computery things including navigation, but there are real, waterproof, simple to operate chart plotters at the helm where they help rather than detract from the duties of the helmsperson!
__________________
sandy daugherty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2010, 19:24   #8
cruiser

Join Date: May 2010
Location: SF Bay Area; Former Annapolis and MA Liveaboard.
Boat: Looking and saving for my next...mid-atlantic coast
Posts: 6,197
and you forgot...they have to be booted and that takes time.
__________________
SaltyMonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2010, 00:49   #9
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaza Dana View Post
What I can't do:
- I have never managed to do is figure out how the GPS works with the laptop!!!
What I want to do:
Well, I want to learn all about how these things work, what features they have and whatever else is good to know.
Hi Kate,

I find it very difficult and frustrating too.

You are correct the language used by the GPS companies and the chart softwear companies leave a lot to be desired.

That said, once you have set up the GPS sucessfully it is then quite easy!

So its a once off major dilemma.

If you can't connect the GPS, Laptop and the charting program OpenCpn then perhaps I can help you (in English) if you tell me what computer you are using and what GPS make and model



Mark
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2010, 01:34   #10
********* Emeritus
 
SaucySailoress's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 8,235
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandy daugherty View Post
The GPS part is pretty simple; what gets boggling is the shear volume of tasks navigation software attempts to do; much of it is useless to a lot of sailors......

......After playing with a multitude of electronic permutations, I have ended up with a dedicated boat computer down at the nav station, that can do all kinds of computery things including navigation, but there are real, waterproof, simple to operate chart plotters at the helm where they help rather than detract from the duties of the helmsperson!
Thank you, Sandy, I think you appreciate where I'm coming from!!!

Having just quit teaching, I've been able to reformat our boat's 'nav station' (laptop) so we can re-dedicate it back the the boat! I have chosen to laboriously rebuild it myself (Skip could do it in a blink, whilst having a massage) so I can get a good grip on how it all works!

I have downloaded Open CPN, since:
- It seems more flexible than other nav packages, regarding things such as overlaying GoogleEarth (sorry, MarkJ, didn't mean to touch a nerve there!).
- We have several different types of charts we have picked up, and they should all work in Open CPN, allowing for greater seamlessness (does that make sense? is it true?)

I have downloaded GoogleEarth, of course. What else do you recommend I download? I do know our big GPS thingy (the monitor with buttons which I've so far been using as a giant GPS) in front of the helm - on the boat has:
Quote:
- GPS
- Autopilot
- Radar
- Chartplotter
- Instrument (wind, speed, depth
- Rudder indicator
What is AIS, SaltyMonkey? And what are the best weather packages? (See, I thought you just used websites to check out the weather! I'm learning something already!) And how do any of these interface with the laptop?

Quote:
If you can't connect the GPS, Laptop and the charting program OpenCpn then perhaps I can help you (in English) if you tell me what computer you are using and what GPS make and model
Boat station GPS is Raymarine - not sure what model; my handheld is Garmin (that also plugs into laptop)..... Laptop is Acer (one of those cute little $300 netbooks with a fab battery that lasts over 5 hours!) running on Windows 7.

Thank you all in advice for your continuing patience and simple words!
__________________

SaucySailoress is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2010, 06:15   #11
********* Emeritus
 
SaucySailoress's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 8,235
Next question....

How do you open Mapsource charts in OpenCPN? I found the option yesterday to select from different types of charts - but now I've installed the charts I can't find the option again!!!
__________________

SaucySailoress is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2010, 07:29   #12
cruiser

Join Date: May 2010
Location: SF Bay Area; Former Annapolis and MA Liveaboard.
Boat: Looking and saving for my next...mid-atlantic coast
Posts: 6,197
AIS: Automatic Identification System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

AIS is a receiver and optional transponder that will broadcast and receive the positions of ships and pleasure-craft who also have installed and AIS device with transmittal capability.

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:

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/def...spx?level0=100

Hover your mouse over a boat in an area to see how this works.

As for Open CPN, be aware, that using an open source product is not without risk. Always have a backup solution.
__________________
SaltyMonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2010, 07:54   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
idpnd's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Almerķa, ES
Boat: Chiquita 46 - Libertalia
Posts: 1,551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaza Dana View Post
Next question....

How do you open Mapsource charts in OpenCPN? I found the option yesterday to select from different types of charts - but now I've installed the charts I can't find the option again!!!
Mapsource/garmin bluecharts are not supported - check here for supported chart types: Chart Formats | Official OpenCPN Homepage
__________________
sv Libertalia
idpnd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2010, 18:38   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ontario
Boat: 5 m Bolger runabout, plus a Starwind 860 power tri under construction
Posts: 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
As for Open CPN, be aware, that using an open source product is not without risk. Always have a backup solution.
Sound advice for any electronic navigation solution. A commercial vendor's warranty might look pretty good in New York, but won't be nearly as useful on a reef three miles from the Philippines.

Aaza,
re. weather: The most important source of weather data, IMHO, is what you can see, hear, feel and measure (with barometer, thermometer, hygrometer, anemometer, etc.) on board the boat. Some way of receiving official forecasts is nice (they're broadcast every few minutes on the VHF WX channels in my area, you might also find them on shortwave, AM or MF/HF). If I were going farther afield, I'd also want some way to receive surface and 500mb fax charts. Since you're already fiddling with OpenCPN, you might try to track down a source of GRIB files for your area- OpenCPN can display these files, which contain weather data from various monitoring stations and supercomputer models, as an overlay on your charts.

re. fiddling with computers: If you've used any recent version of Windows, you've probably noticed that some programmers group people into two categories: other programmers (who are happy to root through man pages and command-line functions to get stuff done) and 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). Most software eventually outgrows this stage, and develops a clean user interface through which everything important can be controlled. The marine market, though, is small and changes quickly- so there's a good chance you'll encounter stuff that either works perfectly right away, or else requires you to dig through config files and tweak parameters one by one. OpenCPN, thankfully, is trying pretty hard to go with the good interface, works-right-away approach, but it's still in development and isn't perfect yet. Don't get discouraged, and don't get turned off by programmer jargon- it may seem intimidating, but it's all pretty logical once you start poking around under the hood and learn to think through what the computer might try to do with the various signals.
__________________
Matt Marsh
marshmat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2010, 19:37   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Boat: Bristol 38.8
Posts: 1,625
Money is sometimes a good substitute for knowledge. Buy Rose Point Coastal Explorer software and a cheap GPS receiver that plugs into a usb port. Follow the directions on screen.

There are cheaper methods to navigate with a PC, but how much is your time worth?
But you will need charts of the areas in which you sail that can be read by the program. Rose Point handles all of the NOAA charts and plenty of other chart formats, but I don't know what is available for the Arabian Gulf.

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.
__________________

__________________
Curmudgeon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
navigation

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Icom 802 for Dummies dkall Marine Electronics 18 30-05-2010 06:47
Chart Scanning for Dummies bg9208 Navigation 14 30-01-2010 02:12
Linux based Navigation Software for the eepc and XO laptop Barco Software Marine Electronics 36 03-09-2008 01:45
Sea-Tech Navigation Laptop and Umpteen Goodies skipgundlach Classifieds Archive 6 22-06-2008 12:43
Navigation aid for PDA, Mobile phone or Laptop peakvisiontv Navigation 1 22-02-2008 11:45



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:00.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.