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GPS software designed for use on the high seas?
RsH
I'm about to cruise from Boston to Quebec City and back, and then continue, via Caribbean islands and central America and Mexico to New Orleans. I will have my GPS units with me and will keep the track we sail, but there doesn't seem to be any good package that covers those of us who cruise to these various locations in the Caribbean. GPS coverage of Barbados or the Virgin Islands or Aruba or Curaco, and so on is lacking, as far as I can tell, as is accurate mapping of the ports we will be using in Canada and those islands. The land roads in Canada and the U.S. are fine, but the ports themselves, with the piers used by the cruise ships or the places the tender deposits the passengers is definitely missing. Does anyone know if there are plans to cover this part of GPS usage for the many people who do cruise? Its definitely NOT nice to only be able to see things after the fact via programs such as RouteConverter or Google Earth after we get our GPS file into those programs from the GPS unit itself.
Ken in Regina
Garmin's BlueChart Americas with nRoute.

...ken...
t1d
This thread may be of a general interest to you, but it does not address non-US waters...

http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/3823-what-do-i-need-pc-based-marine-gps-chartplotter-system
tcassidy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Garmin's BlueChart Americas with nRoute.

...ken...

That could cost quite a bit for a discontinued product as it would require a lot of unlock codes for the various regions.

Terry
RsH
I've downloaded SeaClear II and it indeed will cover the water IF I can find the appropriate charts and zoom in, but it does not cover the land side of each of the various Caribbean ports... the roads and points of interest, etc., which I also need as a 'cruise user' and which is also lacking, as far as I can tell, from most of the GPS products sold here in Canada. I'd like ONE product that does it all for me... and not two or three products. Likely an impossible dream at this stage, unfortunately.
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcassidy
That could cost quite a bit for a discontinued product as it would require a lot of unlock codes for the various regions.

Terry
Yes, I didn't think about that. I just looked at the coverage versus where he said he wanted to go and that product matched it pretty good.

RsH, it's a virtual certainty you aren't going to get one product that will cover both land and sea. The differences in the technical details are too great and the potential market too small for that to happen. The best you would get would be to have the necessary sea charts plus the necessary road maps in something like, say, nRoute so you can easily switch between them.

But if you're doing all this on a laptop or netbook, it's not really a lot more difficult to switch between navigation programs when you want to look at something on land versus at sea.

And you can do the tried and true GPSGate approach, splitting the GPS signal and running two nav programs simultaneously. Then Alt-Tab will be your friend.

...ken...
RsH
I agree, but actually I use two ASUS R300 GPS units that have been modified using ASUSPocket, because I use the GPX output file to geocode the photos I take with my three cameras. I use the Netbook on the cruise only to get email and to geocode the photos after I download them from the cameras and download the GPX files from the GPS units, using GPicSync. I know I can use both land and water maps/charts, and I have a number of tools that will do it in multiple ways. There is RouteConverter for correcting errors caused by building reflections in the actual GPX file's path. There is Global Mapper, which will work with almost any map and with the GPX files too. I will also be working on getting relevant charts for the SeaClear II program [that could be an interesting challenge...]

The ports of call and dates are as follows:

Name Latitude Longitude Date Place
Boston MA 4220'38" -7101'57.30" 10/09/2010 Black Falcon Cruise Terminal
Bar Harbor 4423'32" -6812'14.45" 10/10/2010 Landing area - floating docks at Harbor Place
Saint John 4516'20" -6604'09" 10/11/2010 Long Wharf Terminal
Halifax NS 4438'27" -6333'57.30" 10/12/2010 Pier 20
Sydney NS 4608'30" -6012'02" 10/13/2010 Sydney Marine Terminal
Corner Brook 4857'34" -5756'32.67" 10/14/2010 Main Cruise Berth
Quebec City 4649'03.50" -7111'57" 10/16/2010 Sector 21 at Pointe-A-Carcy
Sept Iles 5011'51.20" -6622'58.11" 10/18/2010 New Cruise Berth
Charlottetown 4613'56.90" -6307'01.35" 10/19/2010 Charlottetown Cruise Ship Terminal
Halifax NS 4437'57" -6333'52.50" 10/21/2010 Pier 1-A, Berth 34
Portland 4339'25.33" -7014'49.44" 10/22/2010 Ocean Terminal, Pier 1
Boston MA 4220'38" -7101'57.30" 10/23/2010 Black Falcon Cruise Terminal
Samana DR 1912'06.75" -6919'36.63" 10/26/2010 Landing area - Private Pier
Road Town Tortola 1825'19.92" -6436'46.67" 10/27/2010 Road Town Cruise Pier
Basseterre St. Kitts 1717'24.72" -6243'21.60" 10/28/2010 Basseterre, Port Zante Cruise Pier
Bridgetown Barbados 1306'08.02" -5937'43.31" 10/29/2010 Bridgetown Deep Water Harbor
Willemstad Curacao 1206'16" -6856'30.10" 10/31/2010 Willemstad, Curacao Mega Cruise Terminal
Oranjestad Aruba 1231'09.03" -7002'33.11" 11/01/2010 Aruba Cruise Ship Terminal
Roatan Honduras 1618'44.69" -8632'42.49 11/04/2010 Cruise Ship Pier - Coxen Hole
Cozumel 2030'35.30" -8657'24.80" 11/05/2010 Punta Langosta Cruise Pier
New Orleans LA 2956'27" -9003'40.10" 11/07/2010 Erato Street Cruise Terminal
Ken in Regina
I've done a couple of Alaska cruises and I mostly just used the road maps (City Navigator North America). Depending on what I wanted to do, I used either my handheld GPS or my netbook (with Bluetooth GPS receiver), both with the City Navigator maps. This covered almost everything that was of any interest to me along the way.

I had no great interest in all the stuff that BlueCharts, or similar charts, show because I was not piloting the ship. I found that the road maps showed enough of the harbour details to satisfy me, even though it does not show the details of the individual slips at the docks.

You have not said exactly why you want chart details. If you're on a cruise, you won't be doing the navigation/piloting of the vessel, so what specific details do you need that aren't supplied by road maps, like Garmin's City Navigator North America and what is the purpose (curiousity is a legitimate purpose )?

...ken...
RsH
Mostly to see the course that the ship uses. I agree we are not piloting, but I have a fairly powerful optical zoom on one of the cameras and it is nice to know that I was X nautical miles away from Y when I took that photo of Y, and the easiest way is to use those charts and go from there. I can simply do the math as well, via spherical trig if I need to, but its more fun using the charts. For the on shore portion, there does NOT seem to be good coverage of the various Caribbean islands in the list I provided for almost any GPS product these days. I suspect it is the low population in each island/area so they do not see a profit from doing the work... but I still will do the tracking and then geocode the photos after correcting the track for building reflection inaccuracies. Keeps me out of mischief as well... which my wife likes <grin>...
Ken in Regina
When are you wanting to figure the distance? At the instant you take the picture or sometime later?

If it's sometime later, many of the map viewing products, like Garmin's Mapsource or Google Earth will let you load a track file and have a "ruler" function built in. So you can load the relevant track file, choose the point that has the same timestamp as the image and use the ruler to measure the distance.

Google Earth is perfect for this sort of thing because you can get the geotagged images and the track files to appear on the map, so you have a nice visual "travelogue".

You can even have Google Earth do realtime navigation if you choose. Whether you choose to use it for realtime navigation or not, you can use it for what I described above while on the cruise. The free version of Google Earth allows you to load a 2GB cache with map information, including the aerial imagery, which you can use offline. You can set Google Earth for the hybrid (imagery plus road maps) display and browse all of those places you plan to visit. That will be loaded into the cache and you can then view it any time during the cruise.

I did this for our most recent Alaska cruise and it was interesting to play with. I also used a program called GooPS to help me use Google Earth for realtime navigation display. It was not always successful but it was interesting.

...ken...
xPosTech
Yeah GooPs is kinda fun sometimes.

Don't most cruise lines have WiFi or full cellular links nowadays? If so, he wouldn't need to use the cache feature of GE.

Ted
RsH
1. The ship we will be on is the Norwegian Spirit, built in 1998. It does NOT have WiFi in the cabins, only the suites have Internet, else you have to go to where they do have WiFi, in midships or nearer the bow. Our cabin is at the stern end, so it is a bit of a hike to the nearest location with WiFi access.

2. They charge a minimum of 40 cents a minute for use of WiFi on the ship, if you buy a 250 minute package for $100.00. No package means pay 75 cents a minute. So I get the package and all I use the WiFi for is getting and sending my email in batches once or twice a day. The rest of the time is spend OFF LINE. Their biggest package gives me 8.6 minutes a day online unless I spend even more for a package they don't offer or buy 2 of the package to get 17 minutes a day.

3. Roaming cell usage with Rogers while at sea would bankrupt me <grin> and, in any case, we still have rotary service here at home and do NOT have any cell phones or similar high fallutin devices. What you think - we be modern? No Way, Jose... Bell hates us since all we pay is $22 a month for service.
Ken in Regina
Are you doing the Boston-Quebec City loop during the fall colours? My sister and brother-in-law did that one last fall and they loved it. I don't know which cruise line they were on or which American city they departed from but the itinerary was very similar to yours, as I recall. The Canadian stops were the same ones.

All of the cruise lines charge outrageous prices for wifi and cell service.

...ken...
xPosTech
I've never been on a cruise so didn't know the rates. In that light I guess it was a ID 10T suggestion.

Can you select the cache location with GE? If so, you could have multiple cache folders, although 2 GB is a lot of data.

Ted
Ken in Regina
No need to be embarrased. I was quite astonished when I first found out what it cost. Then I realized that when you are out on the high seas the only way you can do wifi or cellular is via satellite. That stuff is really expensive, so it's not really the cruise lines trying to rip you off. ... Well, they might be ... but they've got some really serious costs to deliver the services.

You can't select the cache location ... at least I haven't figured out how. But you can find the cache location and use the old renaming trick to have multiple cache files.

But you can get an amazing amount of highly detailed coverage into the 2GB cache.

One thing to note is that you can adjust the size of the cache. I'm not sure if it defaults to the full 2GB or something smaller so it's worth checking -- Tools > Options > Cache tab.

You can find the cache here -- HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Earth\CachePath

Or, if you have/had Google Earth Plus installed at any time, look in "Google Earth Plus" instead of "Google Earth".

I've read of utilities out there that help with loading and managing the cache but I haven't tried any myself.

...ken...
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