Sunday, 30 March 2008

More adventures with Satmap

The software for the Satmap Active 10 satnav for walkers, cyclists and rowers has been upgraded, and the Satmap people sent all registered owners an SD card with the new software on it. This is exceptional customer service - most computer companies don't give a stuff about you once the payment is in.
The new software brings a number of improvements, the most important being a better power management system so battery life is noticeably longer. For me, however, the major new feature is the ability to plan trips on your PC and download the waypoints, POIs and so on to the Satmap. After the trip, you can upload the actual track you followed and display exactly where you went wrong on your mapping software.
It is a huge improvement. The only gripe I have is that track data is in .gpx format, so you have to convert to .kml to use Google Earth. Happily there are a number of free utilities on the web for converting to .kml automatically - I used GPS Visualiser with complete satisfaction.
The weather was supposed to be awful today, and neap tides mean the water was only available at five in the morning and six in the evening, so I went to Langstone village at about four to see what was occuring.A number of lessons were learned.
1) Switch on the Satmap on arrival - the first few positions may be wildly out.
2) Don't be a cheapskate and set the power management system to switch off after a period. You will be in the middle of the harbour and discover that the Satmap has failed to record the last quarter of an hour, apparently showing that you have taken a short cut across Hayling Island.
3) Congratulate yourself that the satnav has failed to notice that you nipped in to the Royal Oak for a gipsy's and a quick half of Abbot after you got the boat back on the trailer.
4) Take no notice of the track when you are driving - accuracy declines with speed and it will show you driving through everybody's front gardens.
5) Don't be surprised if the end point is in a Bronze Age fortification known locally as the Devil's Ditch, five miles from where you switched the device off.
It was a fabulous day. A cutter was hammering up the Emsworth Channel - I think it must have been the Langstone Cutters crew that is training for the London to Paris row in a couple of months. They were looking good - best of luck to you all!
I rather liked the yacht too. Despite heading against the tide, he didn't have the bloody motor on. Good show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for the yacht skipper I say also - though the dinghy looks a bit scary.