Navigation is not just for Nerds

The Navi is part of the boat as the anchor and the mooring. However, those who do not own a boat, not more than a few Times in the year, charters or with friend

Navigation is not just for Nerds

The Navi is part of the boat as the anchor and the mooring. However, those who do not own a boat, not more than a few Times in the year, charters or with friends, sailed, for the purchase of a Chartplotter for Navigation rarely worth. What then? For example, a Smartphone, and the Open CPN.

Open Source is, fortunately, in the Maritime a theme: there are in fact OpenCPN, a now well-known free navigation instrument may use all free of charge. The Software is available for almost every Software platform, available for Windows, Mac, or even for the Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu, Debian, etc. – and, of course, for Android.

The App displays their own routes, and ... © the Open CPN Float magazine ... water, shoals, as well as indicative of fire © the Open CPN Float magazine

As a user, I thought to myself: This is exactly what I want: I would like to develop my trip planning at home on my usual computer with the same program, which I then use later on the boat.

Two Apps to choose from

Charter customers nowadays find on every boat electronic Navigation. But who are the handling is not used, needs a while until he or she can handle the equipment safely. The only reason why most of the Crews will also have your own Equipment with you.

At the first view in the Playstore, I stumble directly on several Apps with the name of OpenCPN. Here, for example, there is a free, offered by Maison Automatique, and a paid – for 10,44 Euro – by Dave Register. Yes, the provider is really so.

The views of the last update and comparing it with the website of OpenCPN then brings clarity quickly. The Free Software of Maison Automatique has been for the past five years no longer updated, while the equivalent of Dave Register the version of OpenCPN and also as the official Version is linked. This creates trust!

Ten euros are not much

As a professional IT-ler, I know how much work is behind an App. So around 10 euros are not too much. Moreover, I've got through my knowledge of OpenCPN on Windows already have a rough idea what to expect.

the Installation of The App is simple. But then it says: charts add. For my Test I decide to use the free charts from OpenSeaMap. Of course, you can import but also many others – also in the official charts in the Tool.

Many of the formats are compatible, also ... © Stasch magazine Float ... the free charts from OpenSeaMap © Thomas Stasch Float magazine

However, should represent the Integration of the maps of the OpenSeaMaps for many users, already a stumbling block since it requires manual action and the Knowledge about the structure of the program.

Free of charge-documentary in Playstore

luckily, there are in the Playstore, but also a free documentary that you can install. It is informed about all major operating systems. Also for Android I find a tutorial on how to get to charts the Easiest.

I downloaded, for example, the maps for the North sea and the Baltic sea. These are compressed into two ZIP archives with a total size of 1.23 GB. Unpacked there are almost 4,000 files with a total size of 2.5 GB. These must then stand directly on the Android device.

From the PC to the Smartphone

Then, the location of the cards in the App. The next step: I want to transfer my worked-out trip from the PC to my mobile phone. In principle, there is the possibility to export a Route as a GPX file and then import again.

I want to know whether I would get this without the Export/Import is accomplished. Stored routes for the Navigation in the file navobj.xml. So, I copy the file from the computer to the phone in the file system of the OpenCPN App – and lo and behold: The Route will be shown in a moment!

NAVI-APP NV CHARTS raster map? Vector map? Both. Spartan interface

anyone Who has ever worked with OpenCPN, white:, there is, so to speak, the eggs legend Jack of all trades. The interface is very Spartan, and – compared with today's Design Standards – reminds you a little of the earlier times. You will find in the first Moment, unattractive.

But I need to be a ship leader the graphical bells and whistles? The Software must deliver what I need on a daily basis – and that is exactly what OpenCPN. I must be able to work out my routes to waypoints set and alarms programmed to notify me when I leave the Route or a waypoint to reach. More also not.

In addition, I want to record my Track, to be able to after the sailing trip with friends to "specify". If some of the more useful Features are here such as anchor watch, the connection of additional devices such as sonar and camera, as well as an AIS-Support, help me in the identification of vessels and Navaids, I'm already perfectly happy.

Easy handling

All of this OpenCPN offers. To claim that the Software would operate in each point, intuitively, is certainly a lie. Who has but once to grips with, is to learn the simple handling of love. And especially if you can use "device independent".

The graphics of the Open CPN is ... © Stasch magazine Float ... simple, but factual and informative © Stasch magazine

Float Admittedly, On a small Smartphone, the operation is in the fingers (especially the Sausage, as I have you) sometimes a bit cumbersome. However, on a large Tablet, the Software complements the built-in navigation system is very good.

NV-Charts are not readable

An important advantage: thanks to the typically built-in GPS Sensors in Smartphones and Tablets do I need in the Software, no adjustments, to get the current location shown.

if you would like to use the Software in the "safe" Navigation, so on official nautical charts using OpenCPN to navigate, was not, however, be noted that the maps of the NV-publishing work on Android, because the required Plugin is available only for Windows.

Better via PC

conclusion: for those Who are familiar with OpenCPN and a Laptop for Navigation has dragged along for this Version of Android is a real and actually comfortable Alternative to practice.

More than 300 users have rated the App already, mostly positive © Google Playstore Float magazine

You should consider however, whether you want to gather first experience with OpenCPN, of all things, on a mobile device with a correspondingly small Display.

Our recommendation: At the PC with a mouse and keyboard "playing around" and if you learned OpenCPN love, then install on Android.

Technical data Open CPN

Download and technical information in the Google PlayStore price: 10,44 EUR minimum requirement: Android Version varies with device users rating: 3,6 of 5

This article by Thomas Stasch

*The post "Navigation is not just for Nerds" was written and published by float magazine. Contact with the executives here.

float magazine
Date Of Update: 30 July 2020, 02:27

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