Navigation News

 

The following are some of the NavPak Newsletters, in part.  All of the complete NavPak Newsletters, with relating correspondence, are available on the NavPak User Group on Yahoo.

 

NavPak Newsletter, April, 2013

 

Dear Group,

 

We sent a request to various manufacturers of Personal AIS Beacons to get some raw NMEA sentences containing SARTs (Search And Rescue Targets).  Only McMurdo responded.  It is nice to know that at least one takes it seriously.    It would not be easy to find a SAR scenario by sifting through mountains of AIS data, so we also sent the request to the US Coast Guard.  They said that the data was freely available from commercial sources, but they could not supply it, because it is a security risk. 

 

Mcmurdo sent a PDF file with test sentences, and an AIS_Sender application that plays a crash scenario with SARTs, however they warned that it might crash (no pun intended).   We were not able to start the test App, so we used the PDF for testing.  Starting the test app is still on our list of things to do.  I will post the Mcmurdo test files here on the NavPak User Group download area.   Below is the email correspondence (in part) with Mcmurdo, which explains everything better than I can.

 

In conclusion, NavPak works well with the Mcmurdo test data in the PDF, and everything about Personal AIS beacons is NMEA specified, so we are confident that NavPak will work with other beacons as long as they are NMEA compliant.  Please use at your own risk, and if in doubt, you may be able to play the crash app available for download on the NavPak User Group, otherwise the PDF has test sentences.

 

Copies of NavPak after March 21 ( all versions except NavPak Lite )  have the new SART features.  They also will plot AtoNs, SAR aircraft, and there is a new alarm and settings dedicated to SARTs.  The SART alarm dings once for every sentence that it receives so it will give an audible indication that the signal is active.

 

 

------------------------------------ Start email to Mcmurdo  -------------------------------------------

Dear Mcmurdo,

 

Thank you for sending the pdf and AIS_Sender test app.    I have been using the NMEA sentences in the pdf  for testing over the last few days and they have been working well.  Our mission this week is to find a .docx reader and a computer with .net installed so that we can try the AIS_Sender .

 

We have a test file with over 5000 AIS targets scattered around the world, so we pasted the NMEA sentences (both GPS and AIS) from your pdf into the beginning of our test file.  Using this, we can see the SART and GPS at your location, then the 5000 targets stresses the system so that we can verify that the SART is not filtered out.  The idea for this test is to send the GPS and SART sentences once and then send a flood of AIS targets,

 

AIS readers, such as our chart plotting program, need to have a filter to remove dead targets.  This is based on the time interval since the last position update was received for the target.  Also targets with an invalid position, and targets that are too far away will be filtered out. 

 

We know that it could take a very long time to turn around in a ship or a sailboat with a big spinnaker or square sails, so we assume a worst case scenario where the vessel goes out of range of the SART or the SART beacon gets pulled underwater.   With this in mind, I think it is important to be sure a SART is not filtered or accidentally deleted, so with your NMEA sentences in the PDF file, we were able to achieve that. 

 

Another consideration is if the GPS antenna cable connector is loose, the GPS position could momentarily be 0-0, in which case the SART will show as thousands of miles away, so we were able to verify that it is not filtered in this case.  We changed our function to clear AIS targets so that it will not clear the SARTs, and provided a separate button to clear SARTs only after the user acknowledges a warning message.

 

The info in the pdf was very informative, and one thing in particular was especially interesting.  That is about the MMSI number:

<<  some ‘early bird’ plotters have wrongly used the 970 to trigger the SART symbol. >>

Our plotter (NavPak) was in that category, but it was easy to fix, once we knew about it.  We have since changed it so that the SART alarm is triggered if the MMSI is 97xxx... instead of 970xxx...

   We also posted a warning in the last NavPak Newsletter that the old copies of NavPak will plot a SART as a conventional AIS target.

 

For Michael:  Good idea to make a crash simulator and we will try it this week.   I hate .net also.  ANSI C with the Win32 API is probably faster and more reliable, and it runs on any old laptop that you can fish out of the trash.

 

I will be happy to list your personal AIS as compatible with NavPak.  We sent a query to Kannad at the same time that we sent the query to you, and they have not responded yet.  I will be happy to send some screen shots after I run the AIS_Sender crash simulator.   If you would like to try NavPak, just shout, and we can send a full set of ECDIS charts for the English Channel and an Unlock number that you can use with the NavPak Pro demo.  The demo has an AIS simulator, where you can steer one AIS target.  We will probably add a One-Shot button to the Simulator to show a SART.

 

At the moment we are testing on NavPak Pro for Windows 2000 - Windows 8.  After we finish that, we will update our NavPak apps for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, and Windows CE to include the new SART routines.

 

Thanks for your help, and I look forward to any comments.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 

NavPak Newsletter, Feburary, 2013

 

Dear NavPak User Group,

 

 New NavPak features and Important Warning

 

We added some new AIS features to NavPak Pro, Pilot Pocket, and CE editions.  These are as follows:

 

Personal AIS and Important Warning

For a Man Overboard situation, a Personal AIS is a great aid to recovery.  A Personal AIS target is a Search And Rescue Target (SART). 

NavPak would previously show a SART as a stationary AIS target.   If the NavPak Configuration is set to exclude stationary targets, then the SART will disappear.  Also in the NavPak Configuration, you can exclude targets greater than X miles.  This could exclude a SART if the distance is set to a small value.  We changed NavPak  so that a SART can not be excluded using the configuration settings, and also we made a unique flashing icon so that a SART can not be confused with a regular stationary AIS target. 

 

Color coded AIS targets

We added a flashing color coded dot to the AIS targets, based on ship type.  In addition to giving a hint of the ship type, the flashing dot gives a confirmation that the target still has a pulse.  When a target goes dead, such as when a transmitter is turned off or goes out of range, it can not send a message to the receiver that it is no longer valid, so all AIS readers need to filter out dead targets.  The flashing color coded dot will stop flashing as soon as it is filtered out as a dead target, so it gives a visual confirmation that a target is still active.

 

Aids to Navigation (AtoN)

AIS Aids to Navigation are becoming more common and are the wave of the future.  An AtoN can be Virtual so that an object can be marked without actually putting an antenna on it, instead the object info can be transmitted from another location as a Virtual AtoN.  For example, this could be used to temporarily mark a floating hulk or other hazard, without actually planting an AIS transmitter on it.  The target position and info is transmitted by an AIS repeater nearby.  We added AtoN capability to NavPak, so that the targets show as a unique flashing symbol. 

 

Search and Rescue Aircraft

AIS data also contains info for aircraft engaged in search and  rescue operations (SAR).  We added the capability to NavPak to plot these targets as another unique flashing symbol. 

 

As with normal AIS targets, you can retrieve info for SARTs, AtoN, and SAR aircraft by tapping or clicking the symbol on the screen and the info will be shown in the AIS dialog box.  The changes above were done to NavPak Pro, Pilot Pocket, and CE editions.

 

Scroll Bars in NavPak Pro

For NavPak Pro only, we added a new configuration setting so that you can turn off the scroll bars.  Since we added Drag-Scroll recently, the scroll bars are only really necessary for making a Route.  This gives you a little bit more chart area when the scroll bars are off. 

 

NavPak upgrades are available at low cost to registered NavPak Users.  As of this date, we have not yet finished testing the new AIS features.   Please contact us for more info. 

 

As always, we invite any comments from the NavPak User Group.

 

NavPak Newsletter, Feburary, 2013

 

NavPak Pro new features

 

We added Drag-Scroll to NavPak Pro.  This makes a big difference when using it on a tablet, and it is also handy to use on the desktop with a mouse.  Sometimes the scroll bars are difficult to use with touch seen, so the new Drag-Scroll will help.  NavPak Pocket and CE Editions have had Drag-Scroll from the beginning because the Pocket PC screen is too small for scroll bars.  Now NavPak Pro has both scroll bars and Drag-Scroll .

 

Also we changed the night colors to be darker, and many other small modifications.

NavPak CE - GPS 7031 Test Tablet

We found a problem with the GPS 7031 tablet mentioned in the last newsletter.  The tablet has Windows CE 6.0, and a custom front end that appears when you first start the tablet.  This front end loads a custom desktop with icons for various utilities, including the street GPS program.  While loading, it displays a picture of a Chinese Girl, so we call it the China Girl Front End.

 

If you start NavPak CE from the China Girl Front End and then open or save a file, the tablet hangs and must be reset.  Bad news for pilots and anyone else in close quarters.   If you start NavPak from Win CE, then everything works fine.  The hang up is caused when NavPak calls the standard Windows File Open or File Save dialog boxes. 

 

These are part of the Windows CE core, located in the Microsoft Common Dialog Library and we use the recommended procedures and code samples provided by Microsoft to initialize the Library and open the dialog boxes.  All versions of NavPak use the same File Open and File Save dialog boxes to open charts, tracks and way points.  So I dont think the bug is in NavPak.  I think when they made the China Girl Front End, they did not import the necessary dialog library, but that is only a wild guess.  I suspect that it is more of an omission than an error in the tablet, and I am not ready to point fingers yet. 

 

For this reason it is better to start NavPak from Win CE, then the problem never occurs.  On the 7031 tablet custom desktop is an icon to go to Win CE, then when you shut down, use Suspend in the menu..  Then when you turn the tablet on, Win CE starts immediately.  In Win CE File Explorer, you can hi-light NavPak and send it to the desktop as an icon.  In this way, you can bypass the China Girl Front End completely.  Probably the best solution is to flash the ROM with a standard Windows CE image, effectively deleting the China Girl Front End.  It may be possible to keep the existing Win CE image and just delete the front end.  In either case, it will free up a lot of memory.  

 

If you are looking for a tablet to use with NavPak CE, then you may want to get something that is Windows CE only, or be aware that you should bypass the custom front end and start Windows CE directly.    There are some tablets and panel PCs for industrial use that always start directly in Windows CE (no custom front end).  Be sure to specify your preferred language for Windows CE, as you may not be able to change it without flashing the ROM.  Overall Windows CE is a good choice for reliability, because it is a small OS that can fit on a solid state hard disk.


As always, we invite any comments from the NavPak User Group.

 

 

NavPak Newsletter, December, 2012

Season Greetings to NavPak Users.

NAVPAK CE

We are happy to announce the release of NavPak CE.  NavPak CE is made for Windows CE tablets, panel PCs, laptops, and anything else that runs Windows CE version 3 or later. NavPak CE was written to use the standard minimum core kernel of Windows CE so that it should be compatible with almost any Windows CE computer. Windows CE gives the performance of compiled C code on Android hardware prices.   The display speed is super fast, even on big color charts.  

The NavPak CE demo contains a working copy of the program without the electronic interface for GPS plotting. The demo can be used as a chart viewer, and for navigation by traditional techniques.   It also has a GPS Simulator that can be used as a DR function. If you are comfortable finding your way around using traditional navigation, then grab your charts and you are ready to go with free navigation software.  Release copies have GPS and AIS interfaces.

Here is a link to the NavPak CE introduction and demo:

http://www.globenav.com/intro_ce.html

There are many inexpensive tablets, panel computers, and laptops with Windows CE available from the manufacturers.   Some, if not most Android tablets and phones can be flashed with Windows CE, and some dual boot tablets are available with Windows CE and Android.   To write NavPak CE, we purchased a 7 inch tablet for $55.  It has an internal GPS and it is loaded with Windows CE 6.0 and a great street mapping program called "iGo My Way".  It makes a good terrestrial compliment to NavPak CE with world wide street maps.  The tablet came with a car mounting bracket that would work great on a boat, and it also included power and USB cables.   

We have been using the tablet all day, every day for 3 months while writing NavPak CE, and it is still working great.  We received the tablet promptly after ordering and we were able to pay by PayPal.

We purchased the tablet from Rico Industrial Limited.  Here is a link to their website:  http://www.ricoel.com/main.html
The model we got is 7031.    They also have a tablet with Windows CE and a marine mapping program, which we plan to order now.

The suggested Reatil Price of NavPak CE is US$ 180.00.  Deep discounts are available to existing NavPak users.  Prices in US$ as follows:

For existing users of NavPak Pilot Pocket Edition:   $48.
For existing users of NavPak Professional Edition:  $71.
For existing users of NavPak Pocket Edition:         $121.
For existing users of NavPak Lite Edition:           $128.


SAFETY NOTICE

This came down the news wire:
Australian Police warn users not to use Apple Maps since they could be life threatening.  Apparantly some people have gotten lost using these maps in Australia. 

CELESTIAL NAVIGATION EXCERCISE

How can you find out when is the Southern Solstice without using Yahoo ?   Most people know that it is December 21, but it may not be the 21st in your time zone and when during the day does the celestial event occur ?  You could use your 2012 Nautical Almanac to answer these questions.  It is available free online, but every chart table should have a printed copy. 

In the Almanac, look at the Declination of the sun for December 20, 21, and 22.  Notice that the high spot* is 23 Degrees 26.1 min all day on the 21st, and for the last 4 hours of the 20th and for the first 3 hours of the 22nd.   Without doing any calculations, that puts the Solstice at about 11:30 GMT.  To convert GMT to your local time, without using Yahoo, see your Yellow Pages under: Time Zones.

*Celestial calculations are done relative to the elevated pole.  The Southern Solstice is when the declination is at the highest point relative to the South Pole.  High latitudes are near the poles, north and south.  Low latitudes are near the equator.


We wish you all the best for this holiday season and the new year.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

NavPak Newsletter, April 2, 2012

Here at Global navigation Software Company, we keep a close watch on new handheld devices and their Operating Systems. The following are some notes about Windows Mobile and other operating systems.

A little history about hand held Operating Systems: Windows CE has been controlling factory automation for decades. When handheld computers came along, Palm offered the Palm Operating system (OS) and Microsoft made the Pocket PC OS. NavPak Pocket editions are written for the Pocket PC OS. To make this OS, Microsoft used Windows CE and added Tap and Hold to pop up a dialog box for a handheld interface. Then as MS added more features, they called it Windows Mobile. The Pocket PC OS is still a subset of Windows Mobile, so NavPak is compatible with Windows Mobile. Since Windows CE is a subset of the Pocket PC OS, then it is also a sub set of Windows Mobile. After Windows Mobile, Microsoft developed Windows Phone 7 and Mango. These are for entertainment machines, so Windows Mobile still holds the commercial market share.

Android lacks power because it is not a compiled language and the memory manager is crude. For most people it is OK, but a nautical chart is a much bigger file than most people open in their daily computer use. The Apple OS for handhelds allows us to program in a compiled language but it must be Object Orientated, similar to C++. That extra ++ makes it easier to reuse components, but for raw speed, and flexibility, C is still the best. Windows and the UNIX Kernel are written in C, as are most big applications like MS Office Suite, AutoCAD, and NavPak/MapSetup. So for handhelds, Windows Mobile is still the best industrial OS because we can program it in C. A fast program is more reliable and will use less battery power than one that is struggeling.

Now that Windows Phone 7 is here, with its flipping tiles and other fancy things, is Windows Mobile (versions 6.5 and before) on it's way out? To answer this question, the first thing we did was to look at the graphic functions in the Windows Phone 7 SDK. It looks OK for an entertainment machine, but for pure industrial power, the Windows Mobile SDK looks much better. Later in 2012, we will make a test app in Windows Metro to check the display speed and resource usage compared to Windows Mobile and Windows 8.

The next thing we did was to surf the internet to see what Operating System (OS) the hardware builders are putting into their latest mobile devices. There is no shortage of rugged handhelds using Windows Mobile at this link: http://www.rugged-systems.com/p/handhelds/mesa.htm

Pencomputing has plenty of press releases about new handhelds using Windows Mobile at this link: http://www.pencomputing.com/

Some of the headlines from Pen Computing are sumarized below:

Opticon H22 Handheld Computer

Competent, rugged Windows Mobile-based handheld computer and data collection device. Opticon is a worldwide supplier of ruggedized handheld computers. The Opticon H22 was introduced on March 16, 2012 .... It's essentially a ruggedized Pocket PC (as Microsoft used to call them), or now simply a Windows Mobile handheld.

UPS begins deployment of 100,000 Windows Mobile-based DIAD V rugged handhelds

While consumers use tens of millions of iPhones and Android smartphones, Windows Mobile (or Windows Embedded Handheld as it's now called) continues to rule the vertical markets. Case in point: UPS announced on February 29, 2012, that it has begun to equip its drivers worldwide with a Windows Mobile 6.5-based handheld.

Motorola Solutions launches a remarkable Mission Critical Handheld for first responders

Motorola Solutions introduced the LEX 700 Mission Critical Handheld that's hardly bigger than a consumer smartphone but is an entirely different class of device ....... currently runs Windows Embedded Handheld (Windows Mobile).

New rugged Trimble Juno GIS handhelds

GPS/GIS specialist Trimble introduced a new generation of its Juno line of handhelds that combine Windows Mobile computing power with exceptional GPS/GIS performance in a rugged 11 ounce package.

Psion Teklogix Omnii EP10

A sensible, competent, multi-talented rugged PDA. Psion described it as a rugged PDA device that offers "all the functionality of high-end, full-size devices in a smaller form factor and at an affordable price" and that it would extend Psion's reach to a new category of buyers, "business users who employ consumer-grade smartphones and devices for commercial and industrial activities to deploy business applications into the field." This, of course, is a concept that has seen product introductions from most of the major handheld manufacturers over the past year. For software, Psion chose Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.3, which, on the plus side, extends all the benefits of the Windows CE platform (leverage, software tools, experience, compatibility).

Janam rugged handhelds

Janam is a new York-based provider of an interesting lineup of rugged handheld computers that all aim to supply tried-and-true functionality in handy, durable packages and employing mature technology, both on the hardware and the software side. Janam offers the Windows Mobile-based XM66.

Winmate introduces hybrid 4.3-inch rugged handheld with capacitive touch

While most consumer smartphones run Android or the iOS and have capacitive touch screens, most rugged industrial handhelds still use resistive screens and Windows CE/Mobile. Winmate has now introduced the S430T hybrid device, a rugged industrial handheld with a conventional form factor, but equipped with projected capacitive touch and capable of running .... Windows Mobile 6.5.

-------------- End Pen Computing Press Releases -----------------------------------

In addition to these computers, one of our favorites is the Panasonic tablet that runs Windows Mobile or Windows 7 :

http://www.windowsfordevices.com/c/a/News/Panasonic-Toughbook-U1-Ultra/

This is the Rolls Royce of tablets. Very expensive but most reliable. The Transreflective Display will save heaps of battery power because you can view it in the sun without the display back light, and the machine will run much cooler without the backlight. Cooler running means greater reliability.

Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5

On 10 January 2011, Microsoft announced Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. The operating system has compatibility with Windows Mobile 6.5 and is presented as an enterprise handheld device, targeting retailers, delivery companies, and other companies that rely on handheld computing. NavPak Pocket editions are compatible with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

PSA Maritime Chooses NavPak

Global Navigation Software Co. is pleased to announce that PSA Maritime has selected NavPak for it's maritime operations. PSA has been testing charting software for a few years, and determined that NavPak is the fastest and most reliable program available for their critical needs. PSA has approximately 200 maritime pilots in 22 countries world wide, a fleet of ocean going tugs, and other support vessels.
[ Go to PSA Marine ]

NavPak Newsletter, Nov 17, 2010

Warning ECDIS users:

DETECTION of LAND AREA OBJECTS (applies to S-57 ENC charts)

Some of you may have seen a note about this in Notice to Mariners or somewhere else. Apparently some ECDIS systems fail to detect navigational hazards as expected to trigger an alarm. We received a letter from the IHB on this subject. We replied to the letter that NavPak is not affected by this since it does not automatically detect navigational hazards. Both letters are shown below in part to explain the situation.

Letter to Global Navigation Software Company from IHB (in part):

Dear ECDIS Software Manufacturer or User, We are contacting you because you are an IHO S-63 Licensee, and thereby recognised by the IHO as a potential producer or user of ECDIS processing software. The Directing Committee of the IHO has been informed that some ECDIS equipment may not trigger the required alarms and indications based on the detection of the ENC chart object LNDARE (Land Area). As a result, IHO Circular Letter 54/2010 – Limitations in ECDIS Equipment Software (copy at Annex A) was sent to all IHO Member States and Accredited Observers. The problem described in IHO Circular Letter 54/2010 appears to be associated with ECDIS software rather than ENC data encoding......" End excerpt of letter from IHB. The letter continues with a questionnaire about our software which we completed, and we also sent the following reply (in part):

Dear IHB, Thank you for keeping us informed. NavPak does not automatically detect objects that are navigational hazards. We left this as an exercise for the navigator. We chose not to implement this feature because it is very resource intensive and may not work in some circumstances. LNDARE objects would be one of the most resource intensive objects to check since they are so big and numerous. Maybe this is why we hear about ECDIS systems crashing every now and then. After browsing through thousands of ENC charts from various sources, I have seen inconsistencies in how some attributes are encoded for objects that may be navigational hazards. For example I have seen rocks, wrecks, and obstructions where the depth is encoded as part of INFORM instead of VALSOU. In this case the system may fail to detect it or it may trigger a false alarm. I mention this only to illustrate why we did not implement a function to detect navigational hazards ahead.

If you have any questions about NavPak or MapSetup, we will be happy to help. Regards, Pete Palmer Global Navigation Software Company

End letter to IHB

/////////////////////////////////////////// NEW NavPak SENC FORMAT

We have been updating the NavPak SENC format since January 2010. The format has not changed since we implemented it in NavPak about 10 years ago. This update incorporates all the improvements we decided to add since then, and should allow for future expansion, so that the format is not likely to change again. All copies of NavPak & MapSetup since June 23, 2010 are using the new format. These early releases of the new format did not utilize all the new features of the format so we did not make an announcement of update at that time. Now the new features are enabled and fairly well tested, so we are making the official release today (Nov 17, 2010). Since there are major differences from the old format to the new one, it was not practical to make it backward compatible. This means that if you have SENC charts made with old copies of MapSetup (dated before June 23, 2010), then you will need to reconvert the original S-57 ENC files with the new copy of MapSetup to be able to use them with the new NavPak (Pro & Pocket editions). We tried to anticipate future expansion of charting in general so that hopefully it will not be necessary to reconvert your S-57 files again, except when you have chart updates. The new SENC format looks similar to the old format and the conversion from ENC to SENC in MapSetup is similar but a little easier. One thing you will notice is that there are more notes and attributes associated with various objects. Another thing is that there are provisions for a polygon of detail in the chart file. Previously SENC charts were all rectangles, now you can define a polygon boundary of up to 48 sides. The new MapSetup has a function to digitize the polygon boundary. Also there are more new tools in MapSetup to work with S-57 ENC and NavPak SENC charts. These include utilities to move and copy files, zoom in while showing cells relative, easier selection of individual cells, and utilities to crop and disassemble cells that have multiple detail areas. We are committed to making NavPak backward compatibile with things like charts, way points and tracks. but in the case of the new SENC format, it just couldn't be done.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Chart Lock-- (Applicable to NavPak-Pro Nov 15, 2010)

This new feature does more to change the look and feel of NavPak since adding the NavPak SENC format about 10 years ago. When Chart Lock is on, NavPak behaves exactly the same as older copies. When Chart Lock is off and a Chart Library is loaded, then when you scroll or zoom to the extent of the existing chart, the next one will be displayed. This is good for quick browsing of charts. If you are drawing or plotting, it is better if the chart does not suddenly and unexpectedly change to a different chart, so this is one of the situations where Chart Lock can be turned on. If Chart Lock is off and there is no Chart Library, then the system will behave the same as if Chart Lock is on. In other words, if Chart Lock is off and you scroll to the edge of the chart or zoom all the way in or out, then normally the system will display the next chart based on the selection of charts in the Chart Library. If there is no Chart Library, then zooming and scrolling will stop at the extents of the existing chart, the same as if Chart Lock is on. When Chart Lock is on, you can still change charts by all other methods, except zooming and scrolling. These methods include selecting Open Chart in the menu. If a Chart Library is loaded, then you can also change charts using the F5, F6, and F7 keys, and the GoTo buttons in the Way Point, Track, AIS, ARPA and DSC dialog boxes. The system will also change charts if AutoScroll is on, and the GPS position moves off the existing chart, whether Chart Lock is on or off. Chart Lock is turned on and off using the check box in the System Configuration dialog box.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////

SATELLITE PHOTOS in C-Map

C-Map has sent us new files to integrate into NavPak Pro to incorporate their latest format which includes satellite photos. We have finished integrating the new C-Map library and DLL, so satellite photos in C-Map will be available soon.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

SATELLITE PHOTOS FROM OTHER SOURCES

There are some interesting third party utilities that you can use to capture satellite photos from the major online satellite photo providers, such as Google. After a little processing with MapSetup and an image editor such as PaintShop Pro, these can be useful for navigation. NavPak will load and scroll a 256 color TIFF chart very fast, even one that is hundreds of megabytes in size, so you should be able to capture a large area at high resolution with one of these utilities and use it to make a photo chart.

As always, don't rely on a single aid to navigation, rather use everything available. On this theme, our favorite way to make a Chart Library is to mix raster, vector, and photo charts in the same library, then you can quickly see all of them by pumping the F6 (open smaller scale chart) and F7 (open larger scale chart) keys.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

TECH TIP: Windows turns off power to USB devices as part of its Power Management functions. It is common these days for the GPS to be powered completely by the USB port, so the GPS will stop when the computer goes into sleep and/or maybe hibernate mode. You can prevent this in Windows Device Manager. To do this, go to Device Manager, highlight the USB connection where the GPS is connected then uncheck the box that says: Allow the computer to turn off power to this device. Then click OK to apply it and exit.

////////////////////////////////////////////

Free almanac for Celestial navigators

http://www.navsoft.com/downloads

/////////////////////////////////////////////

CHARTS

As always we are way behind on updating our list of available charts. If you need charts of a particular area, just let us know by phone or email and we can let you know the latest info. We will generally give everything we have to NavPak users for just a nominal copy and mailing fee. We don't update these but the price is right. This service is reserved for registered NavPak users only. If anyone wants updated charts, C-Map has worldwide charts that are compatible with NavPak. //////////////////////// End NewsLetter.

Previous NavPak newsletters are available on the NavPak User Group, in Yahoo Groups. Sign up is required to prevent spam.

C-Map MAX charts

NavPak Professional Edition is now compatible with C-Map MAX format charts. NavPak is still compatible with NT and NT+ charts as before. The MAX format adds some nice features including pictures, tidal currents and perspective view.

Encrypted ENC Charts

Now you can use S-63 Encrypted charts with NavPak Professional and Pocket Editions, using the NavPak_S63_Decrypter program, available to NavPak users.

Excerpt from article about PC charting programs. This appeared in Marine Electronics magazine (The official Journal of NMEA), Nov/Dec 2006.

NavPak Professional Edition, Global Navigation Software Company- NavPak Pro is a reliable and inexpensive PC chart plotter. It is compatible with a wide variety of raster and vector charts, including the free NOAA charts of US waters. For other areas of the world, charts are readily available from various commercial sources or you can scan your own charts and maps. NavPak Professional Edition can be used with almost any NMEA compatible electronic instrument that you would want to connect to a PC chart plotter, such as GPS, RADAR, AIS, DSC, auto pilot, compass, log, depth sounder, temperature, wind instruments or a NMEA 2000 bridge. To help simplify the system, it will interface with multiple ports on the PC, so that you don't need an external multiplexer, or you can feed everything into one port without fear of buffer over runs. To further simplify things, each port is setup for bi-directional communication so that Talkers and Listeners can be combined on one port. NavPak will also output GPS, compass and way point sentences on the same port, or separate ports, to feed peripherals such as RADAR and DSC. This can go a long way towards minimizing connectors and cable. For example, to connect a RADAR to a PC, you could receive the ARPA, and send the GPS, compass and waypoint on the same cable. NavPak is inexpensive, but no compromises were made in the reliability, so it is the choice of navigators that require a program that runs fast with minimal hardware and never locks-up. It is also easy to setup and trouble shoot with built in diagnostic aids, such as status and terminal windows for each port, to show the NMEA sentences coming in or going out. To help plan an integrated system, NavPak Pro has a Simulator for GPS, RADAR, AIS, auto pilot, compass and log, which behaves exactly as if connected to real instruments. Using the Simulator, you can stage current set and drift scenarios with the GPS, compass and log, you can steer ARPA and AIS targets, and you can control the RADAR VRMs, EBLs and cursor, as it is all plotted on your chart. In addition to the ease and versatility of connecting electronics, NavPak also has a complete set of traditional coastal and celestial navigation tools. A working demo for PC and Pocket PC computers is available from Global Navigation Software Company at www.globenav.com. The traditional navigation tools are enabled in the demo, so if you feel comfortable finding your way around using a sextant and compass, then your navigation software is free. Global Navigation Software Company, is pleased to announce a dedicated version of NavPak, specifically written for Maritime Pilots. This is the only charting program that runs on a Pocket PC with S-57 ENC charts and AIS interface. It is like having an ECDIS in your hand, except that NavPak is very inexpensive. The NavPak Pilot Pocket Edition is easy to connect to an AIS Pilot Port or run it with a GPS. NavPak is being used by Pilots all over the world. //////////// End excerpt from NMEA article ///////////////

NavPak Japanese Version

Global Navigation Software Company is pleased to announce that NavPak Professional and Pocket Editions have been translated to Japanese and is available now.

C-MAP charts

Global Navigation Software Company is now an Authorized C-MAP reseller. Extended Port Info and marina details are now available. These charts offer world wide coverage.

NOAA, NGD and FAA charts

Global Navigation Software Company is an Authorized FAA, NOAA and NGD reseller of original nautical and aeronautical paper charts. We offer big discounts to NavPak users for the latest paper charts directly from the US government. These charts offer world wide coverage.

Other NavPak news

This is an interesting article, in Ocean Navigator Magazine, about integrating marine electronics and PC navigation programs: "Convergence Hits the Nav Station". (March/April 2003)
[ Go to Ocean Navigator ]


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