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Old 24-05-2014, 10:33   #1
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Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Claiborne Young of the Salty Southeast Cruisers Net has gererously offered OpenCpn users the use of his data for the AICW (Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway). The data could include Marinas, Anchorages, AICW trouble spots, Bridges and Alerts. Below is a copy of his email, but first my thinking.

On one AICW trip I copied the "Trouble Spots" data into a spread sheet. When I got close to a trouble spot I would bring up the SS and read the comments. My next iteration put the text in the extended description field. This looks pretty good and can be shared but is hell to update. I also tried a version using the link feature. This version is hard to share because of file structure differences between users. None of my attempts is as good as using the the Salty Southeast Cruisers Net, whose only drawback is needing a wifi connection to work underway.

One possible solution is to create a layer for each of the data types, and perhaps, each of the areas.

I think:
1. The user should be able to down one or all data types and regions.
2. The server data should be updated weekly.
3. Automatic updates are not required.
4. We will need a system to host the downloads. (I didn’t ask Claiborne if he would volunteer).
5. We will someone with the skills to reformat the AICW data into layers. This could be done offline, or (online with a plugin?) or …….

Claiborne’s Email
Claiborne S. Young
May 23 at 9:16 PM
To David Kester
Hello David:

Sorry for the delay, but here is a quick explanation of our database from our technical guru, Chris Spires:

CruisersNet.net data is stored in a MySQL database. The website runs on WordPress, so the bulk of the data is stored in two tables, the _posts and _postsmeta tables.
If there are questions as to how the database is structured, the official WordPress documentation can be found here: Database Description « WordPress Codex

OK, let me know if that gives you enough to make a proposal to your volunteer programmers. Please know that we are still very interested in pursuing this project with you. Let us know what else you need from us to get started.

Have a wonderfull Memorial Day weekend! Good luck and good cruising!



--
Claiborne S. Young
Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net
Cruiser's Net | Cruisers Helping Cruisers
CruisersNet@triad.twcbc.com
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Old 24-05-2014, 10:49   #2
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Dave...
Very nice effort. It should be pretty easy to implement this. I just can't imagine how should a look at the general Wordpress database schema make it possible (yes, there are posts and they have some metadata associated, but without knowing what metadata, this is all we can tell). Maybe if we could get a (partial) dump of the real data, it will be way clearer how and what they store in this general data structure, which is well understood...

Pavel
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Old 24-05-2014, 14:05   #3
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

I think this could be an outstanding addition if it can be made to work. Chuck
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Old 24-05-2014, 16:25   #4
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Quote:
Originally Posted by nohal View Post
Dave...
Very nice effort. It should be pretty easy to implement this. I just can't imagine how should a look at the general Wordpress database schema make it possible (yes, there are posts and they have some metadata associated, but without knowing what metadata, this is all we can tell). Maybe if we could get a (partial) dump of the real data, it will be way clearer how and what they store in this general data structure, which is well understood...

Pavel
Pavell,

I forwarded your reply and a link to the discussion to Claiborne.
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Old 25-05-2014, 08:29   #5
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

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Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
I think this could be an outstanding addition if it can be made to work. Chuck
It occurs to me that you could do the same thing with a lot of your Anchorages data. You could provide a layer version to those who purchase your books. Of course you would need some way to keep people from making copies of the data. This would require a unique key to un-encrypt the data each time it was loaded and a way to prevent saving the data to a new un-encrypted file. Sounds like a plugin would be needed. Such a plugin might encourage others with proprietary data to share or sell that data. Maybe even ActiveCaptn might find some encouragement?
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Old 25-05-2014, 08:33   #6
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdkester View Post
It occurs to me that you could do the same thing with a lot of your Anchorages data. You could provide a layer version to those who purchase your books. Of course you would need some way to keep people from making copies of the data. This would require a unique key to un-encrypt the data each time it was loaded and a way to prevent saving the data to a new un-encrypted file. Sounds like a plugin would be needed. Such a plugin might encourage others with proprietary data to share or sell that data. Maybe even ActiveCaptn might find some encouragement?
David, That sounds like an excellent idea. Not being well versed in how to do this, I wouldn't know where to start. Right now we keep all information, including lat and long, in an Excel spread sheet. We would be willing to work with someone on this. Chuck
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Old 25-05-2014, 16:56   #7
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
David, That sounds like an excellent idea. Not being well versed in how to do this, I wouldn't know where to start. Right now we keep all information, including lat and long, in an Excel spread sheet. We would be willing to work with someone on this. Chuck
Check out "Extra POI Editor" It allows you to identify which columns are lat, lon, name, description etc. 1 problem that I have found so far - it requires lat/lon to be decimal.

In the past I have used G7toWin. Its drawbacks are having fixed columns and only allowing a 30 char description.

Anybody know of a "good" csv to gpx program?
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Old 25-05-2014, 19:52   #8
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Thanks David. I have Extra POI Editor. Now all I have to do is to figure out how to work with it. Chuck
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Old 26-05-2014, 00:36   #9
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Interesting stuff!

This web converter from csv to xml worked well for me. Max size of the csv file is 4 mb:

Free online CSV to XML converter

SaltyPaws has a lot of code in the SAR plugin that helped me read xml and produce layer files.

Perhaps keep an eye on this thread:

Rookie questions - boundary circles; exporting options; GPX files

Regards,
Mike
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Old 26-05-2014, 08:44   #10
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

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Originally Posted by Rasbats View Post
Interesting stuff!

This web converter from csv to xml worked well for me. Max size of the csv file is 4 mb:

Free online CSV to XML converter

SaltyPaws has a lot of code in the SAR plugin that helped me read xml and produce layer files.

Perhaps keep an eye on this thread:

Rookie questions - boundary circles; exporting options; GPX files



Regards,
Mike
Mike,
Since you've used this utility, how about a 2 line example showing the column headings and a data row? Please. I'm confused about what the lat and long headings should be. And what coordinate format is acceptable. Also it looks like we will need to add a columm (title=extensions) that has some extension info like <opencpn:viz_name>1</opencpn:viz_name>
<gpxx:WaypointExtension xmlns:gpxx="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3 http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/GpxExtensions/v3/GpxExtensionsv3.xsd">
<gpxxisplayMode>SymbolAndName</gpxxisplayMode>
</gpxx:WaypointExtension>
Help

Edit - Those smiley faces weren't in the orig text, they just were just interpreted from the literal text
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Old 26-05-2014, 10:38   #11
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdkester View Post
Edit - Those smiley faces weren't in the orig text, they just were just interpreted from the literal text
You can put it in "["code"]" "["/code"]" brackets. Like a QUOTE.

Hubert
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Old 26-05-2014, 11:55   #12
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Some stuff to play with!

Data is in the same format that I was presented with.

The lat/lon are long strings: read as degrees/minutes/decimal of minutes

eg 503076 is 50 deg 30.76 mins North

The .csv file attached was saved directly from the .xls. You should be able to use the Luxon site to try a conversion. A sample .xml file produced from the Luxon site is attached. It is initially sent as a zip file.

Dave (Bdcat) suggested putting copyrighted data that you want to protect in a separate helper application. It can be compiled as a resource into the .exe (Sorry, Windows). The .exe can be secured in the same way as a lot of other commercial programs by associating the .exe with a particular computer (or two).

Dave uses this technique for the S63 plugin. I have been working on an update of the VisitMyHarbour tcurrent (UK Tidal Streams) plugin to achieve the same effect.

If you want to play with a conventional plugin you could download the trial version from VisitMyHarbour (VMH):

UK Tidal streams utility. Download Now, free trial. : by VisitMyHarbour [Charts for OpenCPN and Polar Navy] - VisitMyHarbour articles

Or to see a helper application (.exe) I have attached a sample of tcurrent.
In your plugins folder put the tcurrent.dll file (take off all .doc extensions). Make a folder /plugins/tcurrent and put the tcurrent_helper.exe into that folder. This sample only has one tidal stream location which is situated in the English Channel, off Portland Bill. It is NOT real!

If you have played with the VMH plugin I suggest you rename that tcurrent.dll plugin file, before playing with the helper version.

I have a problem with the helper application at the moment. When you start the plugin (the yellow arrow) you get two messages to alert you to the fact of loading ports and tidal streams (currents). I would like this opening to be silent but I had to put the messageboxes in to stop OpenCPN crashing.

Regards,
Mike
Attached Files
File Type: doc tcurrent_helper.exe.doc (71.0 KB, 38 views)
File Type: doc tcurrent_pi.dll.doc (217.5 KB, 29 views)
File Type: doc tcSample.csv.doc (275 Bytes, 30 views)
File Type: doc tcSample.xml.doc (641 Bytes, 33 views)
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Old 26-05-2014, 12:18   #13
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Mike,

OpenCPN went in the case of S-63 the way of the external plug-in, the helper executable, because it was the only feasible manner to get to actual vector charts. And to protect the OpenCPN core project in this environment.

In the case of S63 the PI is available for all architectures, the technique used for the DRM requires some part that is unique for the different targets though.

Anyhow, it's a complication and I don't want to imagine the user with the BSB PI, the NV PI, the S63, your VisitMyHarbor and some more who has to re-install the OS for example. Or you upgrade from Win8 to 8.1 and this results in a different, new system.
The other alternative are HW dongles - you are ending up with 3 USB slots occupied for example.

The App suppliers for tablets play with the short life span of the underlying product. The user does not pay that much (but it adds up too) and throws the investment away with the trashed hardware. An alternative business model.

DRM schemes are no fun, not for the user and not administering them.

So I would think it (at least) twice before going this way.

Hubert
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Old 26-05-2014, 13:53   #14
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Hubert,

DRM does appear to be needed:

Quote:
Of course you would need some way to keep people from making copies of the data. This would require a unique key to un-encrypt the data each time it was loaded and a way to prevent saving the data to a new un-encrypted file. Sounds like a plugin would be needed.
Unquote

I have looked at a lot of alternatives, but resource files were the easiest route for me. It would be nice to have some comments and suggestions for this area of OpenCPN use (Maybe a new thread?).

Regards,
Mike
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Old 26-05-2014, 22:09   #15
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Re: Offer of Salty Southeast Cruisers Net Data to OpenCPN users

Why do you want to prevent people from copying the data? The more they copy the better off everyone is, because it allows them freedom to improve things.

I don't want to use this plugin if it is going to limit what I can do with it, and possibly install a backdoor (binary application) which I have no idea what it could be doing.
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