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Old 09-08-2017, 05:02   #1
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VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Working with Jon from VentureFarther.com a plugin has been made using his API - 'vfkaps_pi'.

An area on the chart is selected and with the option of 'Google', 'Bing' or 'Nokia' the satellite chart can be downloaded. You will need to register with VentureFarther to obtain a key for the API, which needs to be entered in preferences.

Jon will explain a bit more about the credit system in a further post.

Code is published on GitHub. Win32 installer and DEB package are included in the pre-release (v0.1)

https://github.com/Rasbats/vfkaps_pi/releases

On Linux (OpenCPN 4.6.1) I found that the screen was slow to refresh after loading a satellite chart. Perhaps a Linux developer could have a look at the code.

Jon and I would love to see this available on Android. Hint!!!

Documentation to follow.

Mike
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:32   #2
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Fantastic, thanks. Works OK on a win 10 laptop, plugin installed fine & worked straight away after the API key was put in.
Couple of things would be great additions, maybe a checkbox to automatically scan charts and update database after the download, and tiling would be wonderful - select a big area and download a grid of smaller charts with greater detail.

Great work, thanks!
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:48   #3
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

The code does ask for a chart database update. I haven't been able to consistently show the last downloaded chart on the main viewport. Still need to use the chart bar sometimes.

Jon has an option in the API to download all the charts surrounding the selected area, at the same scale (8 more). I will look at this as well as the tiling

Mike
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Old 09-08-2017, 08:05   #4
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Jon from VentureFarther here, Mike did a great job with this plugin, thanks for your work. I also think work will continue on this plugin/api to offer even more features.

The goal of the plugin was to make getting satellite charts into OpenCPN as fast and easy as possible. Once the plugin is installed, sign up on VentureFarther, generate an API key (this is all free and for signing up you get up to 30 credits, each kap is a credit). This is unique to your account and should be considered a password/userid combo. Once installed, click the menu bar plugin button, move the chart to where you want a satellite chart, click the "Generate" button, wait a few seconds. That's it. Move the chart again, click again, another chart. Yup that easy.

Now a word about the "credit" system. Hopefully this will not deter people from using VentureFarther as there are 2 ways to get credits. The first is just contribute cruising info on the site, yup that easy, think of VentureFarther as "contributionware". The second way, if you do not want to contribute info is $20 yearly subscription, which goes towards paying the costs of running the server (this has been in place just over a month, because of this I can now afford to move VentureFarther to a much faster server which is good for everyone). I think if you check out https://www.venturefarther.com/profile/Credits.action I have made it very easy to earn all the credits you need. Really the credit system was put in place to help the site grow by rewarding cruisers to share info that is then freely available to anyone on the web.

Now a bit about VentureFarther. I hope that when you check it out you do not realize that it is being built and supported by a guy who is out cruising (hey, 100% offshore development :-) ). My background before heading out 6 years ago, was corporate website backend development and I have approached development as I would have as a corporate developer (well except the working alone part). VentureFarther is still being actively developed (well pretty much every morning over my coffee), my goal, build a site that has features not usually available for such a small community. As an example, check out sharing a NMEA recording that was recorded with another OpenCPN plugin VDR (useful if you have your depth included in the NMEA recording). That one is very simple also, click the menu to start recording, click the menu to stop. The log into VentureFarther, upload the recorded file. You have now shared your depth recording, very cool in areas that are not well charted. These depth recordings are not only available online, but as an overlay on your Satellite Chart (currently only available online, but I am guessing soon in the plugin).

Anyway, I won't drone on anymore (can you tell I am pretty excited about this, I have personally wanted this plugin for years). If you have any questions, comments or problems (hopefully not) with the VentureFarther side of this please let me know.
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Old 09-08-2017, 08:32   #5
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Documentation for the plugin can be found here:

https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do...plugins:vfkaps

Mike
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Old 10-08-2017, 23:44   #6
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Using Linux the directory name for saving the charts is not retained between sessions of using OpenCPN. This results in the charts ending up in the users home directory, not the directory they requested in the previous session.

I think this may be a bug in wxWidgets wxDirPickerCtrl (using 'setDirName()'). Workaround is to set the directory name at the start of each session or to accept that they will end up in home and copy them to another directory.

Mike
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:49   #7
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Jon, does the contributeware concept also also apply to vdr depth files? If so, I'll try to keep recording whenever possible.

Thank you for making this great sailor's kap depth wp destination website.

I look forward to using it!
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:50   #8
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Mike bravo on your pl work!
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:28   #9
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Just to mention, one of the fantastic features of OpenCPN is "chart groups". I've use chart groups for ENC, RNC, and custom KAP (e.g., satellite charts). Very helpful when you collect a large set of satellite charts.
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:38   #10
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

VF plugin hangs when drawing the VentureFarther satellite source and generate chart popup dialog box. Probably because the plugin is Windows 32 bit version on Windows 64 bit OS?
Thanks
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:24   #11
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Don,

Another user on 64bit Windows is having problems. Another user on 64bit seems fine! It might help if you could attach the opencpn.log' file.

Mike
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Old 11-08-2017, 19:45   #12
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Don, don't think that would be the reason. OpenCPN is all 32 bit including the Plugins. On 64 bit win os it installs into Program Files x86 instead of Program Files. 64 bit machines run 32 bit programs. Don't believe that is the problem. I think it may be something else.
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:11   #13
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Rasbats,
Here's my OpenCPN log file. At time 6:52:49, I launched the VF plugin. What you see after that is OpenCPN loading of ALL my charts. OpenCPN doesn't appear to increase memory or CPU. Also, the VentureFarther window does not finish drawing the buttons (see attachment png) and shows (Not Responding). If I click the red 'X', I get the Windows 'OpenCPN is not responding', Wait/Close. Doesn't seem to ever return.

I hope this helps,
Don
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:23   #14
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

It's getting stranger - after about 10 minutes, OpenCPN came back to life! Short lived though, I attempted to "Generate Chart", and OpenCPN is spewing

7:13:02 AM: Error: Cannot enumerate files in directory 'd:\$RECYCLE.BIN\S-1-5-21-1877348423-320169057-1173984163-1001' (error 5: access is denied.)

and other folders on my 'D' drive, e.g.,d:\Save, d:\Users\All Users\Application Data', d:\Users\All Users\Desktop'......

And then crashes with 'opencpn.exe' has stopped working, 'Close program'.

New logfile is attached.
Don
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Old 12-08-2017, 08:20   #15
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Re: VentureFarther Satellite Charts - vfkaps plugin

Don,

Thanks for your input.

I think your opencpn.ini file might have got a rogue entry for 'kapdirectory='. Could you look at 'opencpn.ini' and see what 'kapdirectory=' says. If it looks like rubbish you could remove this line. The plugin updates the charts database as it closes.

Mike
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