Sight impaired friend and a GPS - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 03-10-2009 Thread Starter
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Sight impaired friend and a GPS

Greetings

I have a sight impaired friend - he sees but will never be able to get a car driving license. He sails a West Wight Potter 19 which he calls Blind Ambition. He has a Garmin 76 GPS. He has a laptop on board.

Question:

Has anyone written a program that will take the GPS sentences coming from a Garmin and display them as data BIG on a laptop.

Thanks

Rik

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post #2 of Old 03-10-2009
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I haven't seen or heard of any program to make the text size larger on the 76. On my newer Garmin 3210 there is an option for text size, at least for soundings. Maybe a larger display would help? Hope you figure something out that helps.

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post #3 of Old 03-10-2009
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It shouldn't be that difficult to do, given that GPS sentences are just serial text data coming in over a serial port. Might try looking HERE.

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post #4 of Old 03-10-2009
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A couple of suggestions -- first, the Garmin 76 has an NMEA output and Garmin sells a PC interface cable https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=574. Maptech and others sell PC software which will plot GPS data on electronic charts.

There are other Garmin handhelds with better displays than the 76 -- the Garmin 76Cx or 76CSx have color screens, bright backlights and configurable background colors. The color screen is going to be more easily readable for someone who is visually impaired.

Last, he could simply get a GPS PCMCIA card for his laptop and eliminate the cable all together. I have no direct experience with these, but perhaps someone else can chime in.

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post #5 of Old 03-10-2009 Thread Starter
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He has the 76, he has the cable and he connects it to his laptop. He is writing his own software to do it - but I just thought I would check here for him in case anybody else has done it. He wants to put a "Garmin 76 like display" full screen on the laptop screen so he can see the direction to the next waypoint.

I have passed on the links to him.

Thanks

Rik

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post #6 of Old 03-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rikhall View Post
He has the 76, he has the cable and he connects it to his laptop. He is writing his own software to do it - but I just thought I would check here for him in case anybody else has done it. He wants to put a "Garmin 76 like display" full screen on the laptop screen so he can see the direction to the next waypoint.

I have passed on the links to him.

Thanks

Rik
Go to Maptech: Topo Maps Charts Navigation Software GPS and FREE Online Mapserver and check out either Chart Navigator or the U.S. Boating Charts software -- I think this has what your friend is looking for.

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post #7 of Old 03-15-2009
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Or he could go low-tech. I installed one of these:

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...456,43351&ap=1

on my Magellan Meridian GPS to make distance viewing easier. a couple of pieces of electrical tape to install it on the screen, and done. if you need higher maginification, make a stand off collar that fits around the screen.
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post #8 of Old 03-18-2009
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I'm not sure what you mean by GPS sentences, so this may be of no help, but if you can interface the laptop with the GPS, the Nobeltec software can customize the view all sorts of data - including text size & colour for SOG, Bearing, Distance to next Waypoint etc. You can change your heading line to various colours and thicknesses as well.

I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but I can't take a screen shot if you'd like. We use a USB GPS, and set the laptop on the companion way hatch (calmish weather of course!) in the pilothouse. This way, we can see if we're on course, and relevant data on the screen from about 6ft away. I'm in Canada, but I figure they'd display the same down south...

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post #9 of Old 03-19-2009
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If his computer is using Windows, go to the Control Panel and click on the Accessibility Options which will allow him to adjust the size of the screen display to meet his needs.

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post #10 of Old 03-20-2009
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What your friend needs is an NMEA (GPS) data display on a computer with configurable "dials". Most NMEA using programs do not have decent instruments (and those that show any output rarely have data windows that resize significantly or at all).

This is a "big secret under wraps" (and, personally, I hate talking about things that are not ready yet) but Polar Navy is working on virtual instrument console right now. If your friend is interested, get in touch with me and I can have the very first releasable version available for testing. It will include custom-sized digital instrument output for variety of data (i.e. he could size a single instrument to the entire screen).
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