Here's a first cut. I hope it's not too wordy, but I think that any Windows 8 tablet needs additional software
besides just OpenCPN
Dave's description on the current
page is already obsolete (see quote below), since he split the tablet customization into two separate options. I tried to capture the options at the end of my summary, but could use some verification that this is accurate:
Running OpenCPN on a Windows 8 tablet
It is no wonder that iPads and Android tablets have become so popular. They offer superior ergonomics vs. laptops in many settings, including areas with limited space and power such as boat cabins and cockpits. Tablets usually offer superior battery
life, lower power consumption
, and are easier to waterproof via inexpensive pouches. With the recent proliferation of Windows 8 tablets, there is now an economical and easily accessible tablet platform for OpenCPN that does not require rooting, virtualization, or other cumbersome hacks.
However, your user experience with OpenCPN on a Windows tablet will be enhanced by considering these tips and tricks.
1. Install the Classic Shell
. This facilitates using the tablet with traditional Windows desktop
programs, which will improve your OpenCPN experience on the tablet. You can still use the newer "Metro" tablet apps, but Classic Shell restores the Start menu that Windows users are accustomed to having.
2. Check Device Manager-Sensors to verify whether your tablet has a GNSS Geolocation sensor. If so, your tablet has GPS
capabilities already built in. (Some tablets have been discovered to have GPS
even though the specifications may not mention it.) However, the Windows 8 tablets initially are configured in a way that only Metro apps can see the built-in GPS. In order to overcome this limiation, try installing petrsimon's excellent GeolocationTCP utility
. Set this utility to launch at bootup so it's always there by putting a shortcut in the Startup folder created by Classic Shell. Then you need to configure OpenCPN to receive the NMEA
data over the appropriate TCP port.
3. If you do not have an internal GPS, I recommend a Bluetooth GPS transmitter. There are Android and iPhone
apps that will do this on your smartphone, or you can purchase
a freestanding Bluetooth GPS made by GlobalSat or others. Transmitting GPS to the tablet via Bluetooth facilitates putting the tablet into a waterproof pouch. Plus, constantly hanging a USB connector off the side of the tablet can weaken the plug
4. The excellent form factor of the tablet opens up some great possibilities for use in the cockpit
, if you can find a tablet with a sufficiently bright screen
. A suggested tablet model and more comprehensive list of tips can be found on this message thread
OpenCPN runs remarkably well on a tablet with practically no modifications. Microsoft has emulated many mouse functions in their OS. The right-click context menus are emulated by tap-hold. Zooming and unzooming in OpenCPN is accomplished by pinching gesture, or using the magnifying glass icons in the toolbar.
Mouse hover (aka "rollover") is not generally supported on tablets, and accidentally tapping the chart can lead to unexpected re-centering of the chart. To address this, there are some custom features available in Options-User Interface. Activating "Enable Touchscreen Interface" alters the effect of tapping/clicking on the chart in the following ways:
-Suppresses re-centering of the chart by tapping (you need to tap-drag to pan the chart)
-Tapping waypoint selects it for subsequent dragging
-Tapping Routes and AIS
targets shows popup info
-Tapping tide/current icons shows appropriate dialog
Additional behaviors with "Enable Touchscreen Interface" activated:
-Optimize several common dialogs for screen
rotation, i.e. landscape or portrait
-Route Create workflow: "Done" by clicking toolbar "Route" icon, or normal context menu.
items (e.g. Zoom/Scale) are available during route
-Chart drag (a.k.a. swipe) is available during route
-Routepoint/Waypoint edit by drag is supported.
-Increase pixel select radius, to allow for finger tip selection of routes/waypoints
A second option, "Enable Tablet Scaled Graphics Interface" can improve the display, especially on tablets with high pixel density. At present, Windows tablets are generally lower pixel density than Android and iPad
, but this may change with future hardware
. This option does the following:
-Increase toolbar icon size
-Increase context menu text item size
-Increase selectable item sizes for several common dialogs
Here's Dave's current
Here are Dave's Release Notes:
242: This is a first cut on a Touchscreen/Tablet user interface. The idea here is to have one checkbox in options->Display to enable this mode, and thus avoid lots of fussy user configurable items for individual behaviors/actions. In other words, just "do the right thing" when enabled for Tablet/Touch systems.
The code was tested on an 8" Windows 8.1 tablet, in both portrait and landscape display orientations.
The changes include the following:
1. Increase toolbar icon size.
2. Increase context menu text item size.
3. Increase selectable item sizes for several common dialogs.
4. Optimize several common dialogs for screen rotation, i.e. landscape or portrait.
5. Touch stuff:
a. Route Create workflow: "Done" by clicking toolbar "Route" icon, or normal context menu.
b. Toolbar navigation items (e.g. Zoom/Scale) are available during route creation.
c. Chart drag (a.k.a. swipe) is available during route creation.
d. Routepoint/Waypoint edit by drag is supported.
e. Increase pixel select radius, to allow for finger tip selection of routes/waypoints.
f. Single-click behavior:
-Does not ever move chart.
-Selects Waypoint for subsequent dragging
-Shows popup info for Routes and AIS targets.
-Shows Tide/Current dialog.
g. Move chart by drag/swipe.
h. There is no notion of "rollover" in Touch/Tablet mode.
There are some dialogs that have not yet been adjusted for font size, so they is on the TODO list.
The UI is a bit different when using a mouse in Touch/Tablet mode, but still useable I think. This would not be a normal mode of use, unless maybe you have a Bluetooth mouse to use occasionally with your tablet.
I don't consider this Beta to be the last word on the subject of Touch interfacing. There is a lot to consider and learn here. I welcome detailed comments on this new interface mode.