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Anyone have any recommendations for Linux based ENC charting software? I have a netbook I'd like to use for this and it won't upgrade to the beast that is Windows 7. Opensource is always preferred.

Cheers,
PJ
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Yes to what the other guys said. We've got a notebook that was Windows Vista (shudder !!)) and would not upgrade to Windows 7. Be damned if I was going to then shell out for a brand new operating system so formatted the HD and went Linux. There is good and bad about that but the machine's main use is both on and off board for chart work and passage planning and OpenCPN is more than adequate for the task.

I am not however much of a computer expert so find Linux somewhat confusing when it needs modifying to run e.g. specifically Windows or Dos based programs. (I'm a bit of a sucker for some of the old Dos based computer games.) Linux will also not talk to my Android phone.

Couple of SailNet members (you know who you are) gave me a hell of a lot of help both in setting up Linux and chart programs. I couldn't have done it without them.
 

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You probably want to pick a Linux distribution that is mainstream; A version of Ubuntu would be my recommendation for first time users. I would suggest you choose a "Long term service" (LTS) version or one tailored for a netbook. I believe the last LTS version was 10.04 but we should see 12.04 coming up in April.

Linux will also not talk to my Android phone.
ohhhh wombat. Android is Linux-based and should be able to be connected to your system. We may end up hijacking this thread, but since the question was asked and answered, I guess that's ok. What, exactly, are you trying to do?
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Jordan,

Potential hijack yes, but the OP has had question answered .... all I am trying to do is get the Linux machine to acknowledge my Android exists. Plug the thing in through USB port and nothing. Doesn't even 'see' the connection. (Its a Sony Ericsson Xperia btw)
 

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Self-confessed computer nerd jumping in :)

Depending on the model of Sony Xperia being used, there are some known problems accessing the phone as anything more than an SD card (i.e. storage). Seems Sony decided that Mac & Windows users are all they can be bothered actually supporting (though, as I said, there is some success in getting access to the SD card).

Whilst both Android & Ubuntu are simply* versions of Linux, their connection is via the USB drivers & protocols. Windows & Mac install alot of drivers automatically and, what they don't, can be easily downloaded from the Internet as soon as you plug the device in. Linux tends to be a bit more of a pain about these things and I'm a nerd that likes it.

* Of course, the differences between Linux distributions are far from simple!
 

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all I am trying to do is get the Linux machine to acknowledge my Android exists. Plug the thing in through USB port and nothing. Doesn't even 'see' the connection. (Its a Sony Ericsson Xperia btw)
Well, I've got nothing but time over the next while so if you'd like some help, I'm always up for a good puzzle. I won't force it on you if you don't want to work at it, but my offer's open.

I'm assuming we're trying to connect to the device via USB (as opposed to bluetooth or wifi). I would start by plugging in the Xperia then using the "lsusb" command and to see if Ubuntu reports the device as attached. You will likely have a long list of devices attached, so we're looking for the Sony one in particular. It will have an 8-digit ID number (xxxx:xxxx) ... post an excerpt back and we'll go from there.

Cheers,
J.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Well, I've got nothing but time over the next while so if you'd like some help, I'm always up for a good puzzle. I won't force it on you if you don't want to work at it, but my offer's open.

I'm assuming we're trying to connect to the device via USB (as opposed to bluetooth or wifi). I would start by plugging in the Xperia then using the "lsusb" command and to see if Ubuntu reports the device as attached. You will likely have a long list of devices attached, so we're looking for the Sony one in particular. It will have an 8-digit ID number (xxxx:xxxx) ... post an excerpt back and we'll go from there.

Cheers,
J.
Thanks for the offer, thanks to you too Bent. I won't have more info until later today cos I'm in office on a Windows machine right now, the Linux is at home. I'll get that excerpt for you asap.

btw ... I really don't have any interest in going with the full Sony PC Companion software , I just want to be able to open the phone directory to transfer pics etc.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Seems to be sorted ... end hijack. Thanks again Jordan and Bent.
 

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Whoo hoo! Easiest trouble shooting I've done all day. :D

Glad to hear its sorted. Let me know if you run into any other problems and I'll do what I can to help.

Getting back to OpenCPN. I don't use my laptop on the boat because, well, the combo of my boat and my laptop just wouldn't work out so well. (Boat prefers to be wet or sunny outside, Laptop prefers to be dry and softly lit inside) but I'd love to get my hands on a Panasonic Toughbook to see how that would do. Still no place to mount it in my cockpit... but still.

What I *would* like to do is figure out how to transfer a list of waypoints from OpenCPN to my Garmin handheld (76 at present, but hopefully will have a 78s later this year).
 

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I am somewhat old-school and do my navigation below and in advance - on paper. I use my netbook below for AIS (one of the boats on which I teach) and to quickly verify positions when I am below. Since I work on several different boats I want to be able to have something I can use in all situations.

I have been known to shut the chartplotter off on good days when I find someone glued to it.

Have you tried the OpenCPN forum at CF to get an answer about waypoints?
 

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Hi Jackdale,
Although I'm a tech-head through most of life, on the boat, I try to stay away from it mostly. I find water and electronics don't mix. My luxuries, or exceptions, are my handheld GPS (no maps) which I wouldn't want to live without (particularly this past summer off the rocky coast near Tobermory), VHF and windex.

I enjoy navigating by paper, and that won't change. During this last summer's trip, I would sit down in the morning and create the list of my waypoints on paper then transfer them into the GPS... Have you tried to do that on a handheld? You must use a rocker switch to scroll through every digit. It takes FOREVER.

Over the winter, I have been playing with OpenCPN and have plotted several "trips" that I may take this summer. Eventually, I'll buy the paper maps for the trip I'll actually take but I dread having to input the the waypoints into the Garmin 76 ... I'm hoping OpenCPN can help me there. I've looked in several forums on the subject and IIRC, the G76 is supposed to allow you to input waypoints, but not full routes... Since I don't have the appropriate Serial-USB cable for the device, I have not been able to test it, but within the software, I don't see the option to send even the waypoints. I was hoping others here had done it, saving me experimentation time. I'll get back to googling once I have the cable (and hopefully the new GPS)

My ideal scenario would be a command line s.cript that I could use to input waypoints directly from keyboard... perhaps I'll write something myself if it doesn't exist.
 

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Good to hear, fuzzy. :)

On the toughbooks, through my work I've been able to get myself a hold of a Panasonic Toughbook and even one of the new ruggedised Motorola Android tablets. Very nice units that can REALLY take a beating. Expensive but nice. The Panasonic was running Windows and I only had it for a week of testing, so I can't speak to it's use in a boat. With that said, you've kind of incentivised me to look at getting OpenCPN running on an Android tablet. I can see that being very sexy.
 

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Good to hear, fuzzy. :)

On the toughbooks, through my work I've been able to get myself a hold of a Panasonic Toughbook and even one of the new ruggedised Motorola Android tablets. Very nice units that can REALLY take a beating. Expensive but nice. The Panasonic was running Windows and I only had it for a week of testing, so I can't speak to it's use in a boat. With that said, you've kind of incentivised me to look at getting OpenCPN running on an Android tablet. I can see that being very sexy.

Who was that ? One of the early Howard the Toad droids or The Hewson Drone ?

Okey Dokey .... now we are talking young master .... of course that means a tablet that connects to GPS. What are the contenders ? Or am I so far behind the game that this GPS connectivity is a given ? Galaxy suitable ?

Mush mush ... get working you slacker ... Wombat want tablet .... Wombat need tablet ... :p:p

Having Open CPN on tablet would swing the decision away from Kindle right ?
 

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The Hewson Drone! I love it :laugher :laugher

GPS connectivity is pretty much a given these days. Galaxy Tab has it's own internal A-GPS, as with most other recent tablets. More importantly though, Samsung hasn't locked down the platform as much as Apple did, so general USB connections (like the one we connected your laptop to, if I recall correctly) can plug the unit into your boat's navigation GPS feed. Of course, the internal GPS is far more handy should you be carrying the tablet into the cockpit ;)

Honestly, if it wasn't for me "getting to work", I'd be slacking off and working on it now. Getting OpenCPN working on the Android tablet sounds far more exciting that the XML processing and subsequent cloud-based search of the data contained I am am currently working on.

Yes, whilst I know someone who has our nav app successfully working on the Kindle (using an external GPS), I wouldn't recommend it. Stick to the Kindle for reading... more than that and you should probably move up to a proper tablet.
 

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I can transfer a route to my Garmin 72H. I use the USB connection and just tell OpenCPN to use the Garmin format for it. The 72H also feeds the GPS data into OpenCPN as well as my DSCVHF.
 

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It being commercial software, the likelihood of being able to do much of anything with the application beyond just using it as provided is slim. MX Mariner is pretty much a take it or leave it purchase... and given it's lack of Aussie waters coverage, it's looking like a "leave it" to me.

I actually write mapping software for a living, so rendering vector and raster maps in a variety of map projections is something I can whip up in a matter of hours from existing code. As is reading a basic NMEA feed for GPS data. From what I can see of MX Mariner - that's what they've done whilst making it easy to obtain raster charts & overlay waypoints onscreen. Converting the in-car mapping apps we already sell into something similar would take me maybe a week of work given access to the raster charts. Trust me, it's something I looked into before discovering how expensive it is to license marine data for sale here in Australia.

OpenCPN is a far better and more complex beast. It's not just rendering raster charts, it rendering multiple custom raster charts of differing detail level on the screen at the same time, the ability to read & display a large number of vector formats with customised display options, AIS integration & monitoring, automatic anchorage marking, the ability to set anchor alarms, etc.

Honestly, I think it is such a complex beast, the chances of it being usable in Android are slim to none (Android pretty much forces all but OpenGL display code to be written in Java - which OpenCPN is not) - but if/when I get the time, I will be seeing how much effort it would require to get something working from the codebase. It's been a while since I contributed to a sizable open-source project and this one tickles my fancy.
 

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It being commercial software, the likelihood of being able to do much of anything with the application beyond just using it as provided is slim. MX Mariner is pretty much a take it or leave it purchase... and given it's lack of Aussie waters coverage, it's looking like a "leave it" to me.
It's open sourced under the BSD license: Android Development Underway - Page 11 - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

The source for creating your own charts for it is also open sourced and written in Python so you should be able to add aussie charts to it. I think the main "sell" for it is that if you buy it he's packaged it all together with easily downloaded charts.

Edit: Here's the github for it and the chart coverter: https://github.com/manimaul
 
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