Saturday, November 21, 2009

3rd dimension for GRIB smoothing

We already had the surface (2D) smoothing, we now have a time smoothing for the GRIB data.
That means that you can get a better resolution for the GRIB cell (divide the cells, and set the values based on the ones of the cells around), the same is now available for time.
You download a 2 degrees by 2 degrees GRIB, for 3 days, every 24 hours, you can very well render a GRIB of 1 degree by 1 degree (or less), every 1 hour. And it works pretty well (offshore, of course, local coastal phenomenons, like the one shown here, cannot be taken care of by a GRIB).
In addition, some performance issues have been fixed, impacting the GRIB animation. With the previously described feature, we can now generate an animation that shows a frame every hour.
That will definitely minimize the demand on the SSB, when downloading the data at sea.
For example, you download a GRIB file for a given area, with cells 2° × 2°, with a frame every 24 hours. With the smoothing, you can easily display it with a 1° × 1° resolution (or less, your call), and with a frame every 1 hour. The equivalent GRIB would be 2×2×24 times bigger, that it 96 times bigger. That does not sound that great, but you can put it another way: instead of 1 minute to download it, it will take more that 1 and half hour. Sounds more convincing like that!
In addition, the dustlets take advantage of the same feature, you can watch really smooth animations.

A Composite has been displayed
Hide the faxes and place labels
Change the wind display to colors
Play animation, it's anything but smooth

Set a (2D) smoothing factor of 3
Looks better for each frame
Play animation, it's still not ideal

Now, set the time smoothing factor so it generates a frame every one hour
Play animation, it's now much better, perturbations evolution becomes way clearer.
Vancouver is going to be windy and wet again ;)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Externalizing the Look and Feel option

The possibility to apply a Swing Look and Feel on the UI has been externalized. You can apply any Look and Feel you want, its name will be mentioned in the command-line, or in the shortcut properties. That brings more flexibility to the user, and cuts the dependencies with the providers.
On the right is an example of what's possible, using the "Napkin" Look and Feel.
The default look and feel is the System one, not the Metal one (Java default).
Those who have already installed the program should re-install it, as some modifications in the launching script were made.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Transparent Tootip Window

There is now an option to display the data at the mouse in a transparent window of top of the chart, rather than using the regular tooltip bubble. The window can be moved within the chart boundaries just like any other window. It can also be resized, the font size follows the window's size.
There is also a new address to download the software, at

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mercator Templates

Using the ChartComponents package, I generated some Mercator Templates (aka Mercator Plotting Sheets) that can be used for celestial navigation. They're available as pdf documents in different sizes: 11" x 8½", 11" x 17" and 17" x 22".
The Letter format (11" x 8.5"), which is quite small. I need to try it to make sure this is not too small. I reduced on all versions the latitude span to 3 degrees (instead of 6, on the charts published by the French SHOM, format ½ Grand Aigle), for the definition of a mile not to be too small.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New feature: Load composite from the web

You can now load an archived composite from the web, in the Weather Wizard.
There are archived composites at, and they can be accessed directly. Go to File > Load Composite from the web.
There was a lot of activity in the tropical zone during the past weeks, hurricanes, typhoons, tropical waves, depressions and storms. They can be visualized this way, in case you did not follow those phenomenons on a daily base.

Monday, July 6, 2009

China Camp

We left Drakes Bay this morning at 6am, nice NW wind, 2 to 3 Beaufort.
The weather was cold, but the sky was 100% clear.
We went down the Bonita Channel at about 9 knots (on the ground), and through the Golden Gate and then Raccoon Strait.
We dropped the anchor at China Camp a 1:30pm.
Great sun, and warm wind!

Click this

Quitté Drakes Bay ce matin à 6 heures, dans un bon vent de noroît 2 à 3 Beaufort.
Le temps était froid, mais le ciel dégagé.
On a descendu Bonita Channel à plus de 9 noeuds sur le fond, et embouqué le Golden Gate puis Raccoon Strait.
On a mouillé à China Camp à 13:30.
Grand soleil, et le vent est chaud!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Drakes Bay

We switched to plan Z... With the wind as it is, there is no way we can go to the Channel Islands and come back in time...
We left Half Moon Bay in the end of the morning, heading North.
We arrived in Drakes Bay the next morning, after an easy light (but cold) night.

Check this.

On a changé de plan, avec le vent comme il est, ca n'aurait pas été raisonnable d'aller aux Channel Islands, on n'aurait pas pu revenir à temps.
On a donc quitté Half Moon Bay en fin de matinée, cap vers le Nord.
On est arrivé à Drakes Bay le matin suivant, après une nuit légère (mais froide).

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Anchored in Half Moon Bay

We left Oyster Point this morning, the wind outside the Gate was blowing South West, then West, then South West again, South-South-West, and finally, South (where we're going)!
We made a stop in Half Moon Bay...

On a quitté Oyster Point ce matin, le vent après le Golden Gate soufflait du SW, puis de l'W, et ensuite SW à nouveau, SSW, et pour finir, S (ou on va)!
On a fait un arrêt à Half Moon Bay...

Click this

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Routing Computation Improvement

Found - and fixed - an important performance bug in the routing computation.
That one appeared when a restriction like "Avoid TWS above XX" or "Avoid TWA below YY" was set.
It now behaves like the computation that has no restriction, which is good!
Update is available at its usual place, or through the automatic update mechanism.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I repackaged the install.
The dustlet is now implemented as a user-exit, that minimizes the dependencies.
I also integrated and modified the JGrib code, in order not to have to worry about Log4J, which was not quite mandatory in our case.
The best way to get the new version is to uninstall, and then re-install. This is because of some implied structural changes in the soft.
After that, the auto-update feature will keep working OK.


Monday, March 16, 2009

"What if" routing

Mostly dedicated to cruisers - not good for racing - here is a new feature.Think it like "What if I keep sailing at 50 degrees of the true wind, starboard tack, for 3 days?". Or "What if I keep heading 230 true for 5 days?".
This shows you where you would be! There are some limitations of course, like when you keep sailing head to wind, you wacky weirdo.

Friday, February 27, 2009

User Exit

Rendering of faxes and GRIB data seems to be an endless topic..., the soft this blog is about provides some options, but there is way more to do.
That's why we came up with this user-exit feature, that allows anyone who knows a bit of Java to do whatever he wants, with the faxes - reworked or not (color and transparency) - and the GRIB data. This creates an entry in the popup menu of the chart panel, which you can select to trigger external code. The only restriction is to implement a given Java Interface, and you can access the context of the chart panel. 
Above is an example of such a user-exit, smoothing and animating the GRIB data currently displayed in the chart pane. 500mb charts look a bit like a big slug drooling across the ocean...
We will soon post on the site a repository of such user exits (along with explanations about the way to write yours), the possibilities are endless.
The rendering provided by Processing is gorgious, I still need to look into it, for now I'm struggling with thread issues. They manage their own pool apparently, and I need to somehow sneak in... We'll see. 


The video above is a preview of the animated GRIB slug. It's smaller than the real one, but the picture on top will give you an idea of the actual size.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Introducing GRIB Slicing

We now have the possibility on rendered GRIB file to draw a line. A graph will then show up, representing the values along the line of the different data contained in the GRIB. 
If the mouse is held clicked on the graph, then a red dot is displayed on the map (and on the line of course), showing where the point is geographically. It becomes easy to see where the wind is the strongest, the pressure the highest, the temperature the warmest, the precipitations the heaviest, etc.
This feature is available immediatly.