Friday 20 July 2018

Navigation Software

Chart Plotter software

We use OpenCPN, a great program with ongoing development, for sailors by sailors.

We also use several plugins for OpenCPN and have found them to be very useful.

Once you have the program on your PC and it is up and running, here is a great site to lay your hands on some electronic charts, and Google Earth KAP overlays. Terry's Topics Yacht Valhalla info and there is a wealth of information here. Terrys link is hosted by SoggyPaws they have an extensive library of information for cruisers.

A Comprehensive Google Earth KAP library for OpenCPN is available at Yacht Zen Again Blog

Google Earth

Google Earth is Google's program that displays the earth's surface, made up of satellite photos.  So far we have found the Google Earth images have been positioned correctly.  From our experiences it would appear that the images and placement is very accurate.

Using Google Earth offline:
If you're cruising in areas that have internet access, using the OpenCPN Google Earth plugin is an excellent option, as the plugin gives a good side by side comparison of your charts and Google Earth imagery, with your boat plotted on both. We run the Google Earth plug in for OpenCPN and as we found it only works with the older versions of Google Earth. If you want to get the plugin working and are in need of an older version of Google Earth (this works ver it can be downloaded from Google, if you have a Chrome browser installed then you need to disable the auto update function of Google or every time you turn around it will up GoogleEarth and in doing so stop the connection.

We have also used GoogleEarth as a bare bones chartplotter, a bit clunky but if you supply GPS connection it can give you, your position on a satellite chart/photo. However you need an internet connection or have previously download a cache of charts before headed into the area. 

Not much internet where your going? Then there are a couple of ways that Google Earth information can be used offline. 

One way is to load the Google Earth cache before using the OpenCPN Google Earth plugin. This requires you to plan ahead and before leaving port that has a good internet connection, look at all the anchorages  and the passage on Google Earth you think may be of use along with any areas of interest. Unfortunately this method can't easily be shared. The one set back with this is that once you download the cache you cannot connect to internet with GoogleEarth running with out overwriting the stored cache.

The alternative way to use Google Earth data offline is by creating geo-referenced KAP files. Or downloading KAP files some one else has made.

If you would like to make your own KAP files there are a couple of places to look at for info.

The programs, help and operation manual (files) to install the programs and then to create KAP files can be down loaded here at Paul Higgins site  please donate to keep this great site open. 

Creating KAP files from Google Earth images by SV OCELOT is here Also click on the previous link for Terry's topics to request his list of downloads, besides the great sat chart and waypoint downloads he has great help files for OpenCPN operations.

We have started to use SASplanet to passage plan and in conjunction with the sat chart making program written by Paul Higgins site  We really like being able to select satellite photos from several different sources. Paul also has a copy of SASplanet to download on his site, we have used SASplanet as a bare bones chartplotter by connecting a GPS receiver, great as a comparison between systems as long as each of the GPS sources are standalone. 

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