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Old 07-08-2013, 21:02   #1
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OpenCPN.ini bug in 3.3.719

I've been installing new versions of OpenCPN as updates for some time now and everything has worked quite well. Today I had occasion to do a new install on a new Windows 8 computer. The installation went smoothly and I didn't anticipate any problems. I started OpenCPN on Windows 8 and Windows Vista and started copying settings from Vista to the W8 installation. The first thing I noticed was only about half the item type checkboxes in Settings/Charts/Vector charts Mariner's Standard list were checked in the Vista installation. No matter, I thought, I'll just select all of them in the W8 installation and later turn off any that present problems.

Next I selected the display options to match the Vista installation: Depth Soundings, Reduced detail at small scale, Buoy/Light labels, Light Descriptions, and De-cluttered text. I also made sure all the other options were set the same. I chose a vector chart in each program and the Vista installation showed text describing the bottom and the aids to navigation. To my surprise, the W8 installation did not show any of that text.

I copied the OpenCPN.ini file from the Vista machine to the W8 machine and the problem went away. I believe what has happened is that some of the settings that worked in older versions no longer work and that has gone unnoticed because when you do an update installation the old .ini file is retained. Only when you do a new installation without an existing .ini file will the problem become apparent.

I added this to Flyspray as #1058.

Fabbian
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Old 07-08-2013, 21:22   #2
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Re: OpenCPN.ini bug in 3.3.719

Fabbian....

Thanks for the report. Here is what is going on, if I understand your situation correctly:

There is no default MarinersStandard list in OpenCPN.

OpenCPN adds S57 Feature classes to the list (and the .ini file) as it encounters them in charts it reads. One by one.

So, if S57 charts have never been seen (as in an absolutely fresh installation), then the MarinersStandard list will be empty to start with. It will grow as charts are opened and SENCs created.

Further, the Feature classes are added to the MarinersStandard list as "invisible" by default, which is why you did not see some items you expected.

You may experiment with this by editing opencpn.ini, and deleting the section [Settings/ObjectFilter], then re-starting OCPN.

I suppose a good argument could be made to bring the new classes in as default "visible". This would eliminate some confusion, I think.

Thoughts?

Anyway, thanks for the report. I'll take a look at the Flyspray task.

Dave
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Old 08-08-2013, 21:21   #3
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Re: OpenCPN.ini bug in 3.3.719

I am afraid I confused the issue by mentioning the anomoly with the selected object types in the Mariner's Standard list. That's worth discussing, but it isn't the issue I reported.

When doing a new install I could not get OpenCPN to display text describing the sea bottom (sand, clay, etc.) or to display the text naming aids to navigation. Only when I copied my old .ini file from the other computer could I get that text to appear. The charts displayed in both instances were identical (US5FL11M.000, Tampa Bay Entrance).

I think it will narrow down your search of you look for a way in Settings/Charts/Vector Charts to set bShowS57Text=1, bShowAtonText=1, and bShowLightDescription=1 in opencpn.ini. I seem to remember there were checkboxes for those items in an earlier version of OpenCPN. I can't be sure, because I haven't been paying attention to the issue during recent updates.

Now let's discuss the Mariner's Standard list of object types. I didn't understand your explanation. Here's how I expected the list of object types to work. Once you choose Mariner's Standard you can choose the object types that you want displayed. If the box is checked that tells OpenCPN that you want that object type to be visible. If the box isn't checked you want it to be invisible. I don't expect OpenCPN to alter those settings based on what it finds in the charts.

There's also an issue with de-cluttering text that I noticed while I was tinkering with the settings. Looking at 11416_1.KAP, 27 44.6071N, 82 36.6538W there's a pair of lighted beacons. Their descriptions on the raster chart are

Fl G 2.5s 16ft 3M "11" and
Fl R 2.5s 16ft 3M "12"

Looking at the same lighted beacons in US5FL11M.000 with de-cluttering selected we see "Point Pinellas Channel Light 11". That's the OBJNAM field from the BCNLAT object. That's probably the least important piece of information about the light. The light's characteristics are more important than the beacon name. I don't know how hard it would be to sort out which text to display because I think it differs with different objects. If I turn off de-cluttered text I get both the name and characteristic but I have to zoom way in before the text is readable. At a normal zoom level all four fields are overlapped, making them unreadable. My guess is that remains one of the thorniest problems with ECDIS.

Fabbian
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:49   #4
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Re: OpenCPN.ini bug in 3.3.719

fgd3....

Split into 3 issues:

1. I cannot reproduce a problem on a new install. Tried it on XP, ENC charts only. Deleted opencpn.ini before staring. Of course, you need to push the A+ tool to get text of any sort. Enable "Light Descriptions" to see aton details. Bottom conditions are shown in category "Other". It all works for me.

2. MarinersStandard: I'll try again. The Mariners Standard potential list of Feature types is empty on a fresh load. When you load the first ENC, the list is populated with the Features that are discovered on that ENC. The default visibility of the added Features in MarinersStandard category is 0, invisible.

So, on a fresh load, after loading your very first ENC, and selecting MarinersStandard, you will see...nothing. All Features are invisible until ticked "on" in the dialog.

If you load another ENC, any newly discovered Feature types are added to the list, again with viz=0, off. However, the visibility of Feature types as set previously by the tick boxes is not modified.

I'm suggesting that we may want to change the default visibility of newly discovered Feature types to "on" to avoid confusion.

3. Declutter: We don't attempt to prioritize the info displayed in declutter mode. We simply display text in the natural order that it appears in the ENC database, and try to avoid having overlapping text fields. Unfortunately, this algorithm is sure to discard important information.
This is an opportunity for improvement when we get the programmer bandwidth....a rule set based on attribute type would be the first step, I guess.

Issue (1) above concerns me, since I don't understand, or can't reproduce.

Thanks
Dave
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:15   #5
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Re: OpenCPN.ini bug in 3.3.719

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdbcat View Post
fgd3....

Split into 3 issues:

1. I cannot reproduce a problem on a new install. Tried it on XP, ENC charts only. Deleted opencpn.ini before staring. Of course, you need to push the A+ tool to get text of any sort. Enable "Light Descriptions" to see aton details. Bottom conditions are shown in category "Other". It all works for me.
My mistake. I forgot about the A+ button. I put my new install .ini file back. When I launched the program there was no text. This time I clicked the A+ button and the text appeared. So there's no bug, just a case of brain fade. I've submitted a request for closure of FS1058.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdbcat View Post

2. MarinersStandard: I'll try again. The Mariners Standard potential list of Feature types is empty on a fresh load. When you load the first ENC, the list is populated with the Features that are discovered on that ENC. The default visibility of the added Features in MarinersStandard category is 0, invisible.

So, on a fresh load, after loading your very first ENC, and selecting MarinersStandard, you will see...nothing. All Features are invisible until ticked "on" in the dialog.

If you load another ENC, any newly discovered Feature types are added to the list, again with viz=0, off. However, the visibility of Feature types as set previously by the tick boxes is not modified.

I'm suggesting that we may want to change the default visibility of newly discovered Feature types to "on" to avoid confusion.
I think this might need some reworking. See if I understood your explanation correctly.

After a new install and before the first ENC is loaded the list of object types will be empty, not just unchecked. Once an ENC is loaded any features found in that chart will be shown in the list of object types but will be unchecked. To make an object type visible you need to check its selection box.

When you load the next ENC any object types it contains which were not in the first chart will be added to the list with their boxes unchecked, so you won't know about them unless you study the list. If you've already turned off the display of some object types you'll have to remember which ones they were so you can differentiate them from the new object types that were just added to the list. Is my understanding correct?

I think new object types should be visible by default. With so many different types of navigation objects any object should show up on your chart unless you make a specific decision that you don't want to see it.

I was confused about how it works because I set up OpenCPN a long time ago. I never saw an empty list of object types because I loaded my ENCs before I set up the vector chart preferences. I haven't touched it since because I was updating and all my original settings were retained.

Unbeknownst to me there must have been some new object types added when I updated my charts or added new ones to the library. Although I had originally checked all object types the new ones snuck in without my knowledge. That could have been dangerous if I used ENCs for navigation instead of tinkering.

At least I think I understand how it works now. Thanks for your patience in explaining it twice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdbcat View Post
3. Declutter: We don't attempt to prioritize the info displayed in declutter mode. We simply display text in the natural order that it appears in the ENC database, and try to avoid having overlapping text fields. Unfortunately, this algorithm is sure to discard important information.
This is an opportunity for improvement when we get the programmer bandwidth....a rule set based on attribute type would be the first step, I guess.
You'll never solve the declutter problem. The answer isn't to find a better way to parse all the text in the database and extract the most important information. The right way to solve the problem is to have the correct text in the database to begin with. What's missing, as I understand it, is a field in the database for essential, urgent information that any ECDIS can put on the chart display. It's not your job to update the database, let alone the database format. The reason you can't pick out the right text in OpenCPN is because what the navigator needs to know is different for different object types. For example, I want to know the characteristic of a light, the vertical clearance under a bridge, and the depth below the surface of the highest point of a wreck. Those things need to appear on the chart without requiring an object query.

Rather than waste programmer resources trying to work around a deficiency in the database design you should ask the people involved in defining the S57 specification to look at that issue (if you know how to bring the issue to their attention).

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