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OpenCPN, a free, opensource plotting package


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Has anybody (besides IT ) tried using the free opensource plotting package, OpenCPN ?

I found the link to it while reading an article by IT on "A-Guide-to-Electronic-System-Selection" on the Neptunes Gear site here . Scroll down to the paragraph on Plotters

It took me a while to read & understand it all to get it to work on my desktop but after it got going ...wow!

I now have the charts covering almost the entire pacific rim comprising of:

from the Ross sea in Antarctica up to the entire NZ coast, then across the tasman sea covering the entire Australian coastline up to the Phillipines then across to Japan, then San Fransisco down the west coast of USA to Lima on the south american coast and then back down to the south pacific including the middle pacific, Ross sea and NZ.

 

There is quite a bit to do reading the instructions first for setting it up, then locating the correct format charts to get it working , then creating the directory folder for the charts to be linked to the OpenCPN programme but the instructions are good to follow. There is also a forum on the programme on the Cruisers Forum (lhs) advert with an easy to follow "how to" guide.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f134/

 

The programme gives an overall view of the area of interest but you can zoom in and the focused area automatically changes to provide the same fine detailed view you get on paper charts of your favourite NZ sailing region. The programme can be linked to all kinds of devices like gps etc using the plugins options for even more fantastic options like this here:

 

 

About Plugins

General Information about plugins.

 

Dashboard Plugin

Plugin to display navigation data. Included in the OpenCPN installation.

 

Grib Weather Plugin.

Plugin to display Grib weather data files. Included in the OpenCPN installation.

 

The WMM Plugin

A plugin to display the magnetic variation, based on the World Magnetic Model.

 

Radar Overlay Plugins

Overlay the Radar picture of Garmin or Navico on OpenCPN

 

Calculator Plugin

Plugin to carry out scientific calculations.

 

Route Plugin

A short introduction to to the Great circle part of the Route Plugin.

 

Voyage Data Recorder Plugin

Plugin to record and play NMEA data files. Allows simulation of AIS.

 

Weatherfax Plugin

Read weather fax encoded data as audio or image and Overlay on top of charts. Note that decode audio feature does not currently work for Windows, only Linux.

 

Climatology Plugin

Manage and view monthly gridded Climate data compiled from various sources, including Noaa. Climatology provides monthly data for Wind, Currents, Sea Level Pressure, Sea Temperature, Air Temperature, Cloud Cover, Precipitation, Relative Humidity, Sea Depth, and Cyclones.

 

I say Wow! again...what an amazing tool ! ...and itS FREE ! Thanks for the link IT ! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :thumbup:

Im going to load this onto my laptop as well, and get it linked to my fishfinder/GPS which appears to have an option of sorts I see at the back to attach to my lap top. Just need to find the correct USB/GPS patch cord. :think:

still getting to grips with some of the plugins not listed here which dont want to work like the logbook, celestial etc but perhaps it had bugs so hence failure to load?. still a good freeware programme .

 

tried to load some pictures of what charts I'm getting and area covered using this programme but crew.org system says" The extension docx is not allowed." :cry: ..so you'l just have to take my word for it that it works . :thumbup:
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YEP

 

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

We have been doing it for YEARS !!!!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Even the paid up people of them other programs converted....

 

Open Cpn is the best...have been following it for years.

ALL my cruising friends use it as a back up for their chart plotters. Most of the internationals I have met do too. (Mostly with no other chart plotters)

ALL of us, changed from the "naughty cmaps" a long time ago.

Where do I start ?

try free.

stable

supported

thousands of supporters

ais ready

...

the list goes on

 

Why wouldnt you ?

It even has lots of dedicated people providing free add ons , like log books and all sorts of other "stuff"

 

Why wouldnt you ?

Watch your down load version. versus your computer

operating system. Its mostly very good regardless, but if you want late ais and windows 7....

 

Even though I run a garmin system....my other three (yep) computers all run CPN.

 

BEST.

 

ps..

drop them some coin.....

and go strait to the cpn web site. saves third part crap.

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I have it on my laptop (thanks to IT) with a dongle, will eventually get a tablet type thingy for the helm but in the meantime use my phone. You can even overlay grib files.

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Great to see someone reads my site sealegs!! Most ask questions that are answered in those little articles. Sorry, but I'm no journalist - but you know that because you've read some!

Open CPN is now the standard app used by cruisers using PC nav - many of them.

You can now have, as mentioned, weather overlays, incl SST, Wave height, wind speed, dir, etc, RADAR, Polars, etc etc etc. It is now as good or better than most other Nav systems, PC or otherwise. Here is a screen shot of my main Nav page;

OpenCPN screen Shot.jpg

 

My Radar is a Lowrance 3G. You can clearly see the boats anchored around us. Other Radars are supported as well. Development is ongoing...

 

Happy to help anyone who wants to go down this path, with gear, advice, or just to talk a system through...

Cheers

Matt

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Peter all NZ charts are available here http://www.linz.govt.nz/hydro/charts/di ... /nzmariner free and completely legal.

 

I've used open cpn for years best there is for PC in my humble opinion, largely replaced by navionics on various android devices now (which use far less power) but still handy for planing and as backup.

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Great to see someone reads my site sealegs!! Most ask questions that are answered in those little articles. Sorry, but I'm no journalist - but you know that because you've read some!

Open CPN is now the standard app used by cruisers using PC nav - many of them.

You can now have, as mentioned, weather overlays, incl SST, Wave height, wind speed, dir, etc, RADAR, Polars, etc etc etc. It is now as good or better than most other Nav systems, PC or otherwise. Here is a screen shot of my main Nav page;

alive[/b] :shock: to talk about it & share. That is just AWESOME! :mrgreen: :D

 

I am almost 50 yrs old now and I entered this sailing world very late in my life I reckon just 2 yrs after I arrived in NZ in 2007. Reading your stories & reading other crew.org sailors experiences on these forums makes me wish I was born here and grew up as a child here to have that same volume of sailing knowledge & experience behind me. In the meantime, I did the coastguard Day skipper and then the Boatmaster courses before I bought the boat and now I spend my sailing days in the BOI with the family onboard applying & learning as much as I can & reading sites like yours & others to gain knowledge but you just cannot remember it all aye :( :oops:

 

8) Coming back to Open CPN...based upon your cruising experience IT...which CPN plugins are the most important to have in addition to the plugins that come with the first CPN install?

Looking at your screenshot, I recognise the Dashboard plugin, but what are those 2 orange plugins on the RHS of the dashboard icon?

I presume you have OpenCPN on a computer laptop? ..so which devices do you (should you) have installed on the boat & connected to the OpenCPN programme to make all the features of the OpenCPN programme function for you?

 

I dont intend to sail around the pacific at this point in time so which devices do you reckon are the important ones for me using OpenCPN?.

I may have to upgrade my gps/fishfinder to link that to the OpenCPN cause its currently discontinued which p!$$#$ me off :x .

http://www.eaglenav.com/upload/Eagle/Do ... 120808.pdf

 

I do hope to gain enough experience and then have the courage to venture further than the BOI, first to the Cavalli's, Whangaroa harbour then perhaps the more daring BOI>Kawau island> Barrier island and back to BOI. For me THAT trip would be something!! but Id like to get this ole H28 in a suitable & functionable condition to make such a journey comfortable for my 99% female & 1% male ( me) crew:)

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I have open CPN on my home PC as well as using it extensively when sailing or fishing.

 

I find that here at home, its great for planning routes and dreaming. On the boats, having a 17" laptop display with high resolution makes it far more usable and more detailed than the 8" or smaller marine plotters/gps systems I tend to have access to. I am just looking at how I can get it to control the b&g autopilot. If it can...

 

As opposed to buying a simple USB gps dongle, I actually use a waterproof handheld GPS - in my case, a Garmin GPSmap 62csx which has a fair few topo and marine maps on it too. When its plugged into USB it is powered via the USB, so the installed batteries are there for when you need an emergency backup handheld GPS, or, if you need one to find your boat again in the dark...

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Yep, OpenCPN is truly awesome. I got full charts of the world from a cruising friend a few years ago, but there are various chart sets, and some are more accurate in some areas than others. Case in point, the world chart set that I got was waaaay out in the Ha'apai group in Tonga, but Crew.orger Kestrahl kindly furnished me with an alternative set that was more accurate in that area. So I just switched on that set for Ha'apai and then switched back to the full set elsewhere. Point being, don't rely toooo much on accuracy with OpenCPN. It's an incredible piece of software and absolutely amazing that it's free, but it's only as good as the charts you plug in, and some charts are better than others.

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but it's only as good as the charts you plug in,

 

spot on BB !

 

If you are out cruising it is well worth talking to "Your new friends"

to see if they have later versions.

 

America and its territories are no problems because you can down load them for free...Oz is way harder...

A lot of people are still relying on the original naughty Russian cracked Cmap folio. That is now getting pretty old and you would certainly not want to trust the Nav marks.

 

PS if it is an amalgamated folio you "inherit" then you may not even know unless you check the actual individual chart data.......do it.

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but it's only as good as the charts you plug in,

 

spot on BB !

 

If you are out cruising it is well worth talking to "Your new friends"

to see if they have later versions.

 

America and its territories are no problems because you can down load them for free...Oz is way harder...

A lot of people are still relying on the original naughty Russian cracked Cmap folio. That is now getting pretty old and you would certainly not want to trust the Nav marks.

 

PS if it is an amalgamated folio you "inherit" then you may not even know unless you check the actual individual chart data.......do it.

 

There are c-maps from 2011 and 2012 going around the cruising world so they are not necessary that old. Using google earth charts with open cpn is also very popular. You make the charts with a program called GE2KAP.

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Yes there is and I have some....my reply dosnt change.

All that I have seen so far....and am more than happy to be corrected, have updated charts for a lot of the world, but the chart corrections for a lot of places (like Oz) are old. That is because Oz sells their charts. Since the original Cmap thing, cruisers have been constantly updating them and adding the year that they did this to the folio name. I stress it does not mean that all of the charts are updated. I have heard of no Cmap hack in recent years.

They went to a great deal of trouble for that to never happen again.

As I said...if you have an "updated" version, then go to the charts of your concern in CPN and check the updated dates. If it is within a year or so, it should have the latest "notices to mariners" included. It will say the survey date PLUS the most recent additions.

Part of what the commercial suppliers do is to add the most recent changes (the purple writing in map speak) to their latest additions.

Google earth does not have a licence to make available the latest Oz chart updates. (or it would be free)...use it with caution.

 

I do not wish to be a kill joy....but too many people are getting sucked into the idea that these charts are spot on. They are not.

If in doubt..again...check the chart date...on CPN. Then use your discretion.

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