- OpenCPN User Manual
Marks and Routes
Marks...are the basic points that is used for many things, such as creating routes, marking fishing spots, good anchorages or anything of interest.
Once a mark is created a focused right-click dialog becomes available, when clickin on the mark.
Creating a markThere are a few ways to directly create marks.
- Pressing "Enter" or "Space" creates a mark at the boats position.
- "Ctrl + M" creates a mark at the cursor position.
- Right-click and and press "Drop Mark" creates a mark, at the position of the cursor, when clicking.
- Marks are created at the start of each leg in a route, and one at the end of the route. More about routes a bit further down this page.
The default icon, when creating a mark, is settable by changing the the value "DefaultWPIcon" in the opencpn.ini(config) file. Use the name of any available icon in the properties dialog.
In the [Settings/Others] section set the option DefaultWPIcon to one of [empty, airplane, anchorage, anchor, boarding, boundary, bouy1, bouy2, campfire, camping, coral, fishhaven, fishing, fish, floating, food, fuel, greenlite, kelp, light, light1, litevessel, mooring, oilbouy, platform, redgreenlite, redlite, rock1, rock2, sand, scuba, shoal, snag, square, triangle, diamond, circle, wreck1, wreck2, xmblue, xmblue_, xmgreen, xmgreen_, xmred, xmred_, activepoint] values representing the default set of built-in icons or to a filename of any of your UserIcons, without the the path and .xpm extension. If you have a file called MyICON.xpm in the user icons folder, the value will be simply MyICON
You can move the mark by left-click-dragging it around.
You can delete a mark by right-clicking its icon, and selecting "Delete".
There is an built in undo/redo buffer for creating, deleting or moving marks or waypoints. If you have just created, deleted or moved a mark the right-click dialog will have relevant entries. The undo/redo, for moving or creating marks, follows a straight time-line and is not tied to an individual mark.
Above is a right-click menu just after moving a mark a few times and undoing the last move, and one mark was deleted, and then the deletion was undone. CTRL + Z and CTRL + Y works as hot-keys for undo/redo.
All marks have properties that can be seen by right-clicking and pressing "Properties", or even simpler just double click the mark.
Read all about the properties dialog in Extended Marks
Marks can be manipulated through the Route Managers Waypoints tab as well. Deleting a mark that is part of a route, will also change the route.Marks that are a part of a "layer" cannot be changed at all. Marks can also be imported into OpenCPN in a number of ways.
Read all about the The Route Manager and Gpx Data
A general locking of all marks is available. Goto Options -> User Interface
and tick the box. This feature is handy, to prevent accidentally moving a mark. Activate this feature when underway, deactivate it when planning.
The Man Over Board mark can be activated through the icon in the toolbar, or through hitting Ctrl + Space-bar. The mark looks like the button and is dropped on own boats present gps position. This mark cannot be moved or deleted with the cursor or keyboard (by mistake), but can still be deleted from the Route/Waypoint manager dialog. More about Man Over Board here.
All the details of the Mark/WP Properties dialog are dealt with in Extended Marks
Use your own IconsOpenCPN comes with a handful of different icons that can be assigned to a mark. Right click or use the Route Manager and activate the properties dialog. The Mark Icon window in the dialog shows the available icons.
A user can install his or her own icons to use with marks and "own ship".
1. Create a directory called "UserIcons" in the same place that holds your opencpn.ini(config) file. Instructions to find the directory (folder) location here:Installing OpenCPN
2. Add .png image files to this directory. The legacy .xpm format works as well. The icons can be any size. The name of the file (without the extension) becomes the name of the new waypoint icon. These new icons will appear on the Waypoint Properties dialog, and can be assigned to any waypoint. They can also be assigned in GPX Import files.
3. The User Icons page contains links to a few sets of user contributed icons.
4.To replace the default own ship icon , just put a file "ownship.png" or "ownship.xpm", containing the ownship picture you prefer, in the UserIcons directory, described above.
More about "ownship" icons and setting "ownship" size in Setting Options.
Press the -button and start the creation of a route. Hotkey "CTRL R" is an alternative way to start a route and "Esc" ends the route. The cursor changes to a ( ) pencil. Left click along the desired route you want to make. This will leave sequential numbered waypoints as you click along, the numbers will not be visible, but are available in the Route Properties Dialog, accessible through the right click menu or the Route Manager. The running total distance of the whole route will be shown along the "pencil" together with the course and distance from the last marked waypoint. When creating routes, OpenCPN will ask if it should use a nearby mark, when a route point is added that is close to an already existing mark. If answering "yes", the existing mark is copied to the route.
For longer distances, specially on east.west courses on higher latitudes, the Create Rout tool seamlessly switches to also offer a great circles alternative, instead of Mercator rhumb-line route legs. Read more Great-circle Sailing.
Holding the cursor over the route brings up a roll-over info. The name of the route, if it is set in the properties dialog, the total length of the route, the course and distance for the leg under the cursor and distance run so far along the route, to the first waypoint in the current leg.
Looking at the four legged route above. The total distance is 8.8 NMi. The third leg is 1.89 NMi i true direction 160° and the accumulated distance in the first two legs is 4.76 NMi.
If your desired route extends off the currently displayed chart, move the route cursor in the desired direction and the display will automatically pan to show the area. You can zoom in and out with the mouse scroll wheel or keyboard +/- keys during route creating. You can also right click and select 'MAX DETAIL HERE' or 'Scale Out' during route creation. When finished right click and choose end route from the context menu, alternatively just press the "Esc" key.
You should now have an inactive (Blue) route. Active routes are Red, inactivated routes are Blue.
Right-clicking on a route brings up a focused menu
In OpenCPN multiple routes can be handled in a couple of different ways.
Many routes can be created in a session or imported into a session.
The visibility of every route is controlled in the Route Manager. There is an "eye" to the far left on the line for each route. This works as a toggle switch. A PLAIN Eye means that the route is visible, while an eye with a red cross, means that it's hidden.
This way only the route(s) of interest for the moment can be shown.
Another way is to create and export routes, and later import them when needed.
To keep the chart clear of useful, but not needed routes follow these steps:
• Create a folder called, 'GPX_Routes', or another suitable name.
• Create your route.
• Use the Route Manager to export the route, with a descriptive file name and save it in GPX_Routes.
• Delete the route from the chart.
• You can export all your routes as one big file or export and delete a route as you create them
• When needed, simply use the Route Managers "Import" Button to open the route file.
To get rid of the way points left on the chart when a route has been imported and then deleted, which may happen depending on the imported gpx file.
1. Open the Route Managers Waypoint tab and press the "Delete All" button
2. Say 'Yes' to: 'Are you sure you want to delete <ALL> waypoints?'
Saving and Loading Routes and Marks
- Refer to The Route Manager and Gpx Data to load and save data using The Route Manager
Activating and using routesRight clicking on the track, changes the color from blue to orange and brings up a comprehensive menu.
Clicking "Activate Route" or performing the same action through the Route Manager, changes the route color to red and new, route information window appears on the right side of the display. Once a route is activated, you are presented with the choice of "Deactivate Route" in the different menus.
Right clicking on a waypoint in a route brings up a few options, otherwise not available.
- Properties. The dialog is the same as for an individual mark.
- Activate - Gives the direction to the chosen waypoint instead of the first waypoint in the route, which is the default. Useful when joining, for example, an imported route, at an arbitrary waypoint.
- Remove from Route, but don't delete it.
- Copy as kml, for use with Qtvlm or Google Earth.
- Delete Waypoint from Route.
- Send to GPS is seen in the rightclick menus for routes and waypoints. If a port is not selected, the case in the picture above, a dialog is shown to select an output port. To change the selected port, go to the route manager and select "Send to GPS".
XTE Cross Track Error. How far off course your boat is.
BRG Direction to next waypoint.
RNG Distance to next waypoint.
VMG Velocity made good to next waypoint
TTG Time To Go to next waypoint.
Right clicking on "This Leg" above brings up this dialog
Show just the current leg or the entire route. Show or hide the highway.
Autopilots and RoutesIf an autopilot output port is defined in the Options->Connections tab, OpenCPN sends instructions to the A/P when a route is active. OpenCPN creates and sends the NMEA RMC sentence to the A/P output port when a route is activated. Read more in Setting Options.
OpenCPN automatically shifts to the next waypoint in the route using an arrival radius of 0.05 miles (= 92.6 m). This is all automatic and not user configurable or "signal-able".
This works fine in the general case. The A/P is watching the RMB strings. It sees a new destination lat/lon, and new heading to steer, and then asks the user for confirmation to make the turn. Raytheon/Autohelm work this way.
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