Current Version 2.3.1
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THE USER INTERFACE
When your launch The Plotter, for the first time you
will be greeted by a green tinted screen with raged outlines
of coast lines. A Bulls Eye shows the default location on
the U.S. coast at 31.8439 N and 080.7019" W
The outline of the installed ENC chart shows as a green
square. (Red chart outlines indicate raster charts when
Default start screen
Let's get familiar
with the Tool Bar.
the Plotter tool bar.
The Icons from left to right:
ZOOM IN and
ZOOM OUT - Magnifying
These change the scale (size on your screen) of the
chart you are working with. This allows you to see more
details. The Plotter now supports the use of the
scroll wheel to accomplish this.
New is the
overzoom warning feature which indicates a zoom
greater than 4x..
SCALE IN and
These buttons will allow you to change the scale of
chart you are using on RNC and ENC Charts.
larger scale chart (large scale = greater detail in
a smaller area) is available for the location of you
mouse pointer will see more than one segmented bar
in the lower left hand corner of the chart window.
The segmented colour bars in the Status Bar -BLUE
for Raster Green For ENC's, Brown/Yellow for other
charts The current chart displays as a lighter
shade of its colour.
When you hover the mouse pointer over the bar a
thumbnail of the chart will appear under the SCALE
IN/OUT icons. By clicking on the appropriate bar, or
using the appropriate HOT KEYS, you will switch to
the chart shown in the thumbnail. This feature is
especially useful if you wish to view ECN or a
Raster chart of the same area.
CREATE NEW ROUTE
Click it. Using the cursor keys navigate to the
appropriate chart. Left-Clicking sets a waypoint
Right-Click displays the route context menu.
If creating a route which extends off the currently
displayed chart, move the route cursor into the
desired area, Right-Click and select 'MAX DETAIL
HERE' or 'Scale Out'. This will give you a chart
showing the area under your mouse pointer without
ending the route. Continue creating the route, using
Right-Click drop-down menu zoom wheel or courser
keys as necessary change chart, scale and/or zoom or
to move the chart under your cursor. Practice to see
which combination and methods work best for you.
Activate Route. Turns red
- deactivated routes are blue
The current version of The Plotter has no
provision to hide multiple routes so all your routes
will show on the chart all the time.
To keep the chart clear of useful but un-needed routes
follow these steps:
- Create your route.
- 'Export to GPX' with an descriptive file name
and save it is a created folder called GPX_Routes.
- Delete the route from the chart.
- When needed, simply use the 'Import GPX' to
re-load the route file.
Click on this to centre the chart display on your
current GPS location and engage Auto Follow
(sometime called 'Cruise Mode'), for navigation.
TOOL BOX - a.k.a.
The Plotter program settings
Selections are self explanatory.:
Automatic Anchor Mark
Automatic Anchor Mark drops an anchor marker on
the chart provided the following conditions are met:
- In "Cruising" mode, meaning that speed has at
some point exceeded 3.0 kts.
- Current speed is less than 0.5
- The Plotter has been up at least 30 minutes
- And, The Plotter is going down now by normal
- And, there is no "Anchorage" waypoint within
0.25 NM of current GPS location
If these conditions are all true, The Plotter
will drop a waypoint at the current location, with
the name - "Anchorage created on [Date Stamp]".
Thus waypoints are automatically created for known
good anchorages as you shut down the computer. The 0.25
NM condition prevents clogging up frequently visited
anchorages with closely spaced waypoints. The other
conditions help to prevent spurious waypoints.
Set and/or remove your chart directories
Vector Charts: - ENC
Console - the font used
in the navigation info window, displayed when a route is
Marks - the font
properties used for waypoint marks.
ETC - additional
GPX - turns the GPX
icons in the toolbar on and off.
Radar Rings - display
on/off options, number of rings to display, distance
between rings and nautical miles/kilometres settings.
-toggles the lock/unlock of waypoints.
GUI Options -
enable/disable middle mouse wheel Zoom-to-cursor option.
Show ENC Text- Click to display S-57 text on your
Note: This may not appear to work if you have
Show Important Text Only selected in the
'Settings/Vector Charts' tab. This setting has no
function on Raster Charts.
To show or hide current velocity and direction
arrows. Click the base of the current arrow to
display data for that location.
Shows Tide Stations on chart. Right Click the 'T'
icon to display tide information for that location.
Close the box to hide the information.
Hint: The tide icon, 'T', remains the
same size regardless of chart scale. Zoom out and
the icons will be easier to find.
Makes a remarkably fine cup of decaffeinated coffee
and a toasted bacon sandwich, just the thing for a
chilly night watch.
If refreshments are not forthcoming, check the
printer for a print of the current chart view.
GPX Import / Export
supports the import and export of
) files. This format contains one of two
types of information, TRACKS or ROUTES.
- Tracks: are a record of a journey made. It will
contain the minimum of a latitude and longitude of a
single waypoint. It usually contains additional
information such as mark number, timestamp. etc.
- Routes: are a plan of a journey to be made It
must contains a latitude and longitude of at least
one waypoint; It may also include other information
such as a mark name.
To import a previous track or route, click the GFX-in
button and use the file browser to locate the
desired file. It will auto load and display in The
Plotter. Loaded GPX can be manipulated within The
Plotter: For instance, a saved outbound track
can be used as return route - right-click on the
track and select "Reverse Route". Similarly,
addition waypoints may be added or removed from the
If the GPX Icons are not visible in the toolbar,
they can be activated from Settings->Etc.->Show GFX
GPX Export saves all current routes and tracks into
a single file a directory on your hard disc.
Single routes/tracks can be saved to an
individual file by right clicking on the line
and selecting "export". A file browser will open
for you to save to a directory of your choice.
By default, the track icon is displayed in the
toolbar: If it's not visible, tick the checkbox in
Tools->Etc.->Show track Icon. Addition settings
control the track points by time interval (in
seconds) or in nautical mile (resolution 0.00)
Tracking is on upon startup by default. Clicking the
icon toggles between enabled and disabled.
Right clicking on a track will generate a popup:
Delete Track: Removes the current track.
Export... saves the track as a GFX file. This
can be re-imported later using GPX IN.
The tracking function does not use course or speed.
It uses only the Lat and Lon position data report
from the GPS. If you decrease the logging frequency
you will get "straighter" lines. Ensure your GPS is
set to produce at least three digits of resolution.
(GRIdded Binary) is a mathematically concise data
format commonly used in meteorology to store
historical and forecast weather data. It is
standardized by the World Meteorological
Organization's Commission for Basic Systems, known
under number GRIB FM 92-IX, described in WMO Manual
on Codes No.306. GRIB superseded the Aeronautical
Data Format (ADF).
In short, it displays weather information on The
The icon enables and disables the function. If the
icon is not visible, it can be displayed from Tools
-> GRIB -> Show GRIB Icon. When first used, a pop-up
window requests the path to the GRIB information.
Any GRIB filename which is greyed out indicates no
weather information or data which is unreadable.
The Plotter currently supports and displays
wind barbs and pressure isobars at sea level.
GRIB data available is:
Wind speed (in Knots).
Significant wave height (in meters).
Please keep in mind The Plotter is primarily
an ECN reader and not a GRIB viewer: GRIBs in The
Plotter are intended to be a convenience for
passage planning. Other programs will provide better
analysis and display of complete GRIB data models.
Clicking this icon will cycle through preset
screen/colour/brightness settings for day/dusk/night