OpenCPN on Windows 8

We got very fond of our iPad 2. Small, fast to start, last couple of ours of typing. Love it. Except that it does not run our Windows applications like dictionaries, Office and such. Thus we when we visited Taiwan, we bought ourselves Asus VivoTab Smart tablet with Windows 8.

Main excuse for this expense was so that we can write without turning on our laptops. The second one was, that we can run OpenCPN and have instant navigation tool other than Navionics on iPad.

OpenCPN on Windows 8 tablet

OpenCPN on Windows 8 tablet

The only trouble is, that Microsoft decided to wrap the internal GPS with an API that many application don’t know (including some sold by Microsoft!). There is a $15 solution, but it doesn’t work as reliably as one would expect.

So I’ve decided to write a little TCP server that interfaces the Location API and sends NMEA sentences so that OpenCPN can read them.

More details here: https://bitbucket.org/petrsimon/geolocationtcp/wiki/Home

I’ve tested it briefly, seems to be working. We will test it at sea next week when we head down the west coast of Borneo. If it turns out to be usable, I will improve it and make a proper application out of it.

Let me know if it works for you.

11 comments to OpenCPN on Windows 8

  • Hello Petr,
    thanks for this great little piece of software. I am standing in awe in front of you getting these data out of the new style windows, which is hiding everything from the user.

    I just tried it on my PC and it shows the correct position 12°05,00N & 068°52,30W as Latitude and Longitude, but OpenCPN seems only to understand the Latitude and not the Longitude, putting us on the 0° Meridian (which in combination would be in the middle of Africa instead of the Caribbean) .

    I give you an example of one sentences sent by your SW:

    $GPRMC,052737,A,1205,00,N,06852,30,W,,,250514,,*00

    Do you have any idea what can be the origin of the problem?

    Greatings from the Caribbean, Andreas
    flottelotteontour@wordpress.com

  • Hello Petr,
    this is great, I had R5beore and now with R6 it works perfectly.
    Thanks a lot, Andreas

  • That’s a great news. Have fun, but I see that you already do :)

  • Andrew

    Hi Petr, Just purchased a Asus VivoTab Smart tablet with Windows 8 and was really excited to find your TCP server that I can use with OpenCPN. One question: did you update your tablet to windows 8.1, and will your TCP server work with windows 8.1? I am trying to decide if I should update to 8.1 before loading your TCP server and OpenCPN.

    Thanks so much!!

    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew,
      my pleasure. Hope it works as intended :)
      I did upgrade to 8.1. I’ve forgotten if I even gave it much thought, if I did, I’ve forgotten about it already.
      Anyway, the upgrade shouldn’t affect the TCP server. It’s a standalone application, it was developed back at the time of v8 and seems to be working just fine on v8.1.
      Cheers
      Petr

  • Hello Petr,
    Roger here, S/V Hanoah, in Panama. I have OpenCpn on a Lenovo Mix2 Win 8.1 I am using the r6 version of your program. The location updates every second! However the ship icon does not stay lighted up, mostly stays black and close but not correct position. Any ideas? Thank you. Roger

  • Hello Petr

    Just writing again to say I got the ship’s icon and gps working happily together. Don’t know why they weren’t speaking with each other before, but, now ship’s position and icon are good. Thank you very much for the software.
    By the way, in Kudat did you see a boat on the hard named Creola? Linda is a friend of mine, hope she is handling things alright. The boat, as you may know, went on a reef on the way to Kudat. Cheers, Roger

  • Hey Roger, uff :) Glad you got it sorted out!
    The name rings a bell, but it’s been a while…
    Fair winds
    Petr

  • Audun

    Hi, looks like R6 still might have some bugs?
    In opencpn4 these sentences place the boat far from my real position?
    In the nmea debug window i see that opencpn recieves data.
    Windows 8.1
    When I check position on another device it seems like R6 is not reading my position correctly – MSmap sw places me at the correct position. Other GPS data sw reports different lat/lon than R6 for my current position.
    Any hints apprechiated! (sorry for typos- no keyboard/mice)

    (norwegian regional settings)
    29.01.2015 00:17:42 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111742,A,5930.44,N,01041.57,E,,,280115,,*1B
    29.01.2015 00:18:13 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111813,A,5930.44,N,01041.59,E,,,280115,,*1E
    29.01.2015 00:18:43 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111843,A,5930.44,N,01041.58,E,,,280115,,*1A
    29.01.2015 00:19:14 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111914,A,5930.44,N,01041.59,E,,,280115,,*18
    29.01.2015 00:17:42 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111742,A,5930.44,N,01041.57,E,,,280115,,*1B
    29.01.2015 00:18:13 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111813,A,5930.44,N,01041.59,E,,,280115,,*1E
    29.01.2015 00:18:43 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111843,A,5930.44,N,01041.58,E,,,280115,,*1A
    29.01.2015 00:19:14 +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,111914,A,5930.44,N,01041.59,E,,,280115,,*18
    1/29/2015 12:24:51 AM +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,112451,A,5930.44,N,01041.58,E,,,280115,,*16
    1/29/2015 12:25:22 AM +01:00 sending NMEA:
    $GPRMC,112522,A,5930.44,N,01041.58,E,,,280115,,*13

    • Do you have wifi or data connectivity? If that’s the case, you have to turn them off to get proper gnss position. The windows8 location api uses the wifi and cell location in preference to gnss.
      Let me know if that’s not the problem 😉
      Cheers
      Petr

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