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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As posted here. I was involved in testing the new release, and wrote a couple chapters of the documentation:
bdbcat said:
8 January, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The OpenCPN Development Team is proud to announce the release of OpenCPN Version 4.0.
OpenCPN Version 4.0 is available for immediate download.

This version is a major feature upgrade and maintenance release of OpenCPN.

OpenCPN is a cross platform electronic navigation system (ECS) supporting a variety of cartography standards and hardware interface protocols. Versions are available for Linux, Windows, and Macintosh computer architectures.

Since widespread introduction in 2008, OpenCPN has gained a solid reputation.
OpenCPN version 3.x has been downloaded more than 400,000 times.

OpenCPN is running on hardware from tiny Raspberry Pis with 4" screens up to networked workstations. The adaption to specific user scenarios and needs is easily achieved by using the Plug-in architecture and the wide scope of user settings.

A responsive international user and developer community together with an up-to-date and complete documentation are warrants to make installation and use of OpenCPN a pleasure.

Some features of OpenCPN include:
- Quilted Raster(RNC) and Vector(ENC) digital chart display
- Full compliant support for official vector charts in S-57/S-63 format and InlandENCs
- Industry standard GPS receiver interfacing, with "moving map" on-screen vessel tracking.
- AIS receiver interfacing with configurable target safety monitoring
- Integrated Route, Track, and Waypoint database, with industry standard Import/Export capabilities
- Tide and Current prediction, with on-screen overlay of predicted data.
- Broad International Language support
- PlugIn architecture allowing on-going third-party functional enhancements.

OpenCPN is released under the GPLV2 license. The executable program and its source code are available for immediate, free, and unlimited download from sourceforge.net.

As a successor to OpenCPN Version 3.2, OpenCPN Version 4.0 contains many new features and enhanced functions.
Among them are:

- Increased performance in all modes, particularly when using OpenGL graphics acceleration.

- Additional network interface methods, including TCP/IP client/server and UDP broadcast.

- Support for multiple data source instances, including
Filtering and prioritization of messages
Output of NMEA data streams for real-time integration into ship systems

- Improved support for Mac OS X systems, including 64 bit native support.

- Integrated Tablet/Touch screen support.

- AIS Personal Locater Beacon (PLB) configuration and tracking.

- Enhanced AIS target tracking modes.

- GRIB PlugIn feature additions.
Graphical GRIB email request generation.
Moving particle wind overlay.
Enhanced GRIB data type support.

- Dashboard PlugIn feature additions.
More selectable instruments.

- Several new and updated Plug-ins, including
Digital Radar overlay for popular radar scanners
World Magnetic Model variation compensator
Climatology analysis
Dynamic route planning
Integrated logbook
Realtime datastream capture, record and playback
Google Earth integration
Weatherfax overlay
Vector chart object and feature search tool
S63 Encrypted vector chart support

- Major update to embedded Users Manual.

- Measurably improved performance and reliability over all supported platforms.

We hope you enjoy the new features of OpenCPN Version 4.0, and look forward to your continued feedback.

Download OpenCPN Version 4.0 at

OpenCPN | SourceForge.net

To get the complete insight about OpenCPN, for PlugIns and other useful information, visit our support website at
OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage

Discussions, questions and feature requests you will find here:

OpenCPN - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

The OpenCPN Development Team
Dave Register, Lead Developer
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
iPad compatible yet?
Short answer: No

Long answer: OpenCPN relies on wxWidgets library for cross-platform compilation of a unified source code. Under the current development model, it will not be available for Android or iOS unless wxWidgets becomes available for them. (Take this with a grain of salt, since it is my non-programmer's interpretation of the status.)

If you want it on a tablet, OpenCPN runs great on Win8.1 tablets that can be found for a low as $200.

If you really want Android, a few masochists have rooted their Android tablets and installed Linux on them so they could run OpenCPN.

A few other people run OpenCPN on a laptop and use VNC server/client to mirror the display on Android (and provides some control of the computer). Since there's a version of VNC for iPad, I bet you could do the exact same thing with an iPad.

The descriptions for all of this can be found at the OpenCPN support forum:

OpenCPN - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
 

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Thanks for that.
I'm running an iPad2, which is finally slowing down after all the IOS updates.
I may very well consider a Windoze tablet. My daughter seems to really like hers.
 

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Hmm. Not working for me on OS X 10.6. I get to the "Welcome to OpenCPN" screen where it asks you to press OK or Cancel and nothing happens when I press either button. Then after a short while it crashes.

I'll try it again at home on 10.9 and see if that works any better.

Or maybe I just need to wait for 4.0.1 :)
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Have tried this program a few times with mixed results. Just tried this new release but when trying to lay in a route, it seems the screen view charts (NOAA ENC) do not mesh one to the next. From one waypoint to the next, you run into a blank space with no chart. No tweaking of the magnification seems to be able to make the next quilted chart appear. All my other programs, even simple SeaClear will quilt charts as you proceed plotting waypoints. The program seems better than it used to be but still appears to be user-unfriendly as far as getting the appropriate chart views in place. The first few times I tried the program it simply locked and crashed so it has improved.
 

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Have tried this program a few times with mixed results. Just tried this new release but when trying to lay in a route, it seems the screen view charts (NOAA ENC) do not mesh one to the next. From one waypoint to the next, you run into a blank space with no chart. No tweaking of the magnification seems to be able to make the next quilted chart appear. All my other programs, even simple SeaClear will quilt charts as you proceed plotting waypoints. The program seems better than it used to be but still appears to be user-unfriendly as far as getting the appropriate chart views in place. The first few times I tried the program it simply locked and crashed so it has improved.
Status report: Working absolutely flawlessly here, Ubuntu 14.04. Caveat: haven't tried it with AIS yet (boat is on the hard) but don't expect any problems, worked out of the box on the previous version.
 

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Do windows tablets let you use a mouse?
Nav programs are much better with a mouse.
Yes they do. I use a small Bluetooth mouse with my Asus tablet. Also use a bluetooth keyboard when I have a table to set up on. ;)

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmm. Not working for me on OS X 10.6. I get to the "Welcome to OpenCPN" screen where it asks you to press OK or Cancel and nothing happens when I press either button. Then after a short while it crashes.

I'll try it again at home on 10.9 and see if that works any better.

Or maybe I just need to wait for 4.0.1 :)
Known problem. Monitor the support forum here for potential resolution. Snow Leopard is not currently supported in O4, but they are considering adding it for those who have old hardware that can't upgrade.

I think the author realize that a lot of people take their old hardware to the boat, where hostile environments are risky for their newer computers. Plus, OpenCPN doesn't take a lot of horsepower.
 
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Known problem. Monitor the support forum here for potential resolution. Snow Leopard is not currently supported in O4, but they are considering adding it for those who have old hardware that can't upgrade.

I think the author realize that a lot of people take their old hardware to the boat, where hostile environments are risky for their newer computers. Plus, OpenCPN doesn't take a lot of horsepower.
Thanks, good to know!

I'm keeping us on 10.6 at work for compatibility with some older software, right now I'm in a sweet spot where 10.6 will run the oldest software and the newest, but Adobe (and OpenCPN I guess) is forcing me to make some upgrades soon.

I hope they fix it though, I'm sure there's a lot of old MacBooks out there that won't run the newer OSes but would still be great boat computers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have tried this program a few times with mixed results. Just tried this new release but when trying to lay in a route, it seems the screen view charts (NOAA ENC) do not mesh one to the next. From one waypoint to the next, you run into a blank space with no chart. No tweaking of the magnification seems to be able to make the next quilted chart appear...
Are you have chart quilting turned on? Check the blue and green bars at the bottom of the screen. If their corners are not rounded off, then you do not have quilting turned on.

Sometimes when you are in an area covered by 10 or more charts, memory and/or cpu demands are too high and OpenCPN will have to turn off quilting to preserve memory. But in general, if you have quilting turned on the you should get quilting.
 

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Are you have chart quilting turned on? Check the blue and green bars at the bottom of the screen. If their corners are not rounded off, then you do not have quilting turned on.

Sometimes when you are in an area covered by 10 or more charts, memory and/or cpu demands are too high and OpenCPN will have to turn off quilting to preserve memory. But in general, if you have quilting turned on the you should get quilting.
I did have the quilting on as well as trying other menu options but could not seem to get it to roll over to the next chart when adding waypoints. Maybe it's my old XP system??? The only way to get the next chart to come up was to randomly change magnification/chart scale and then go back to the smaller scale. Was using the latest downloads of NOAA ENCs. In any case, it seems that once plotting is activated, it's obvious that quilting must be activated as well. Can't imagine it would not be the default. Will have to try it on another computer to see if it makes any difference.
 

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Also runs fine here on the new Windows 10 Technical preview.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did have the quilting on as well as trying other menu options but could not seem to get it to roll over to the next chart when adding waypoints. Maybe it's my old XP system??? The only way to get the next chart to come up was to randomly change magnification/chart scale and then go back to the smaller scale...
A couple things to try:

First, try waiting. On older, slower systems, it may take some time for the quilted charts to load. When you're plotting a course you want the charts to pop up instantaneously (or better, pre-load as you approach them), but on old hardware that might not be possible. I've noticed this on faster systems, but only when there were a dozen or more charts. On an older system that's slower and not as much memory to cache the charts, the slowdown might happen with only a few charts.

The changing magnification is a red flag for a different issue that's related to the chart detail settings. In O4 under Vector Chart setting there is a new slider bar titled CM93 Detail Level. Try moving that slide up and down and see if it affects your setting. On an old system, selecting less detail might reduce the CPU/memory demands and lead to better quilting. Or if hardware is not a limitation, maybe more detail would make it better. You should try both.

I am still figuring out this new feature - haven't used it much. Check here for documentation on vector charts - scroll to the bottom for info on the slider bar.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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A couple things to try:

First, try waiting. On older, slower systems, it may take some time for the quilted charts to load. When you're plotting a course you want the charts to pop up instantaneously (or better, pre-load as you approach them), but on old hardware that might not be possible. I've noticed this on faster systems, but only when there were a dozen or more charts. On an older system that's slower and not as much memory to cache the charts, the slowdown might happen with only a few charts.

The changing magnification is a red flag for a different issue that's related to the chart detail settings. In O4 under Vector Chart setting there is a new slider bar titled CM93 Detail Level. Try moving that slide up and down and see if it affects your setting. On an old system, selecting less detail might reduce the CPU/memory demands and lead to better quilting. Or if hardware is not a limitation, maybe more detail would make it better. You should try both.

I am still figuring out this new feature - haven't used it much. Check here for documentation on vector charts - scroll to the bottom for info on the slider bar.
I think you're probably right. Chart cache and look ahead programming for that function has got to be a terribly complex and memory intensive process. I'm amazed at the programming skills of the folks who work on these things. I've maxxed out the RAM on this computer but it has less speed and memory than newer systems. That said, it does work fine using Sailcruiser, Polar Navy, and the old SeaClear (with raster). The thing I like about SeaClear is that it allows chart selection on the fly if you ask for "best chart." I only use SeaClear now for printing out charts, not during navigation, but that simple function is very useful. The best program, (and the most expensive) is certainly Jeppesen's Sailcruiser which work pretty much flawlessly and is very intuitive. It also has specific sailing functions like Polars and tack angles. As in almost everything, you get what you pay for.
 

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Downloaded openCPN 4.0, thanks Rick.

Work for me in Windows 7, granted I have not used all the function and may never use them all but it works.

My computer may be a bit slow as the quilting does take a few seconds longer than instant, but if you quilt across all the charts you expect to use they then stay almost seamless thereafter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
...That said, it does work fine using Sailcruiser, Polar Navy, and the old SeaClear (with raster). The thing I like about SeaClear is that it allows chart selection on the fly if you ask for "best chart." I only use SeaClear now for printing out charts, not during navigation, but that simple function is very useful.
SeaClear was written in the days of much less powerful hardware, so it totally screams on newer hardware (with fewer fancy features, though).

OpenCPN's decision over which chart is "best" is complicated by many factors. For instance, an inset could be thought to be "better" because it is more detailed, but it might only be a small part of the area that you want to see, so might it actually be "worse." I believe that the CM93 detail adjustment affects the automated selection of "best," so you should play with that to see what gets your preferred result. Also try turning off "preserve scale when switching charts" since that might suppress the selection of a more detailed inset that you would prefer while constructing a route.

OpenCPN also offers a manual "best chart" functionality with the blue and green "piano keys" along the bottom of the window. The ones to the left are the most detailed ("best") charts. You can mouse-over and see metadata, and the region that the chart covers will be shaded. If quilting is off, it also shows a small preview of the whole chart in the upper left corner of the window.

I was a heavy user of Seaclear several years ago, and still pull it out once a year or so to use its chartcal tools. But I think OpenCPN has far surpassed it. I also did not like that SeaClear would not save routes to .gpx directly, requiring cumbersome utilities to translate the files for use in other chartplotters.

...As in almost everything, you get what you pay for.
In the case of OpenCPN, you get far more than you pay for. :)
 

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SeaClear was written in the days of much less powerful hardware, so it totally screams on newer hardware (with fewer fancy features, though).

OpenCPN's decision over which chart is "best" is complicated by many factors. For instance, an inset could be thought to be "better" because it is more detailed, but it might only be a small part of the area that you want to see, so might it actually be "worse." I believe that the CM93 detail adjustment affects the automated selection of "best," so you should play with that to see what gets your preferred result. Also try turning off "preserve scale when switching charts" since that might suppress the selection of a more detailed inset that you would prefer while constructing a route.

OpenCPN also offers a manual "best chart" functionality with the blue and green "piano keys" along the bottom of the window. The ones to the left are the most detailed ("best") charts. You can mouse-over and see metadata, and the region that the chart covers will be shaded. If quilting is off, it also shows a small preview of the whole chart in the upper left corner of the window.

I was a heavy user of Seaclear several years ago, and still pull it out once a year or so to use its chartcal tools. But I think OpenCPN has far surpassed it. I also did not like that SeaClear would not save routes to .gpx directly, requiring cumbersome utilities to translate the files for use in other chartplotters.

In the case of OpenCPN, you get far more than you pay for. :)
Don't get me wrong. I think the Open CPN project is great and have no doubt it is turning into an A1 piece of software. Being constantly in beta mode, it will have problems until they have been diagnosed out. I've followed the progress of it and have downloaded it three or four times now to give it a try. It is much better than it was a few years back and was far ahead of SeaClear even then. SeaClear only handles raster format. It does a good job of printing out screen views of charts without bloody ad logos taking up space on each page. I bought a copy of Polar Navy as a backup program and it too has its issues with chart quilting, mainly that it takes too long to load charts. This seems to be the biggest challenge for all of these programs. My original version of Sailcruiser simply locked up and crashed now and then but the last version is very stable and seems to now work flawlessly with CMap, vectors or rasters.
 
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