PolarView NS is a fast, user-friendly and comprehensive navigation application suite, that includes vector and raster chart viewer, complete passage planning support, live GPS navigation and AIS support, tides and currents viewer, GRIB viewer and more.
Press Ctrl+O or select menu File->Chart Manager to open Chart Manager.
Press "Add Directory" button to add a directory containing ENC or RNC chart cells. Navigate to directory containing S57 or BSB chart cells and press "OK". Directory will be automatically scanned and all S57 and BSB cells found under it will be added to Chart Manager. To set cell replacement mode use "Existing cells:" selector. By default existing cells will be replaced with new cells of the same name.
To remove cells, select cell rows from list and press "Delete" button.
Use available ENC User permit to order S63 chart cells. To add S63 permits, click "Manage permits" button. In Permit Manager window, press "Add" button and navigate to permit file. Select the file and press "OK" to load.
To enable or disable individual chart cells or groups of cells, select one or more cells and press a "+" or "-" button to enable or disable cells respectively. Disabled chart cells will be denoted as "Off" in status column.
Press Ctrl+D or select menu File->Chart Download to launch download control. Select area by either entering East-West and North-South boundaries in appropriate fields, or using "Select" option to select the area on a chart. Press "Find Charts" to launch Find Charts control
Select desired charts from the list and press "Download". If this is the first time you are using chart download, you will be prompted for a new chart directory. Select directory with sufficient space on a local disk - disk speed is crucial for best PolarView performance.
Press Ctrl+B or select menu File->Image Manager to open Image Manager.
To add an image, press "Add" button, when prompted - select file in PNG or JPEG format. The file needs to be "georeferenced" - i.e. you need to provide geographic coordinates for at least 3 points in the image. Unless georeferencing information is available in an XML file alongside the image, you will be prompted with Reference Points dialog. Enter X and Y values in image coordinates and corresponding Latitude and Longitude. You can add, remove or modify points in the list. Once ready, press "OK" to apply.
You can change reference points for an existing image at any time by pressing "Refer." button.
Unlike charts, images are not quilted. At most one image will be shown at any time. To make an image visible select it from the list and press "Show" button or double click to relocate chart view to the image location.
Navigating Around Chart Window
Arrow keys - Pan chart view in appropriate direction
Shift + Arrow keys - Faster panning of chart view
Drag with mouse - Move chart view with mouse
Right Mouse Menu->Go To Coordinates
View->Go To Coordinates
- Enter coordinates of new location to recenter chart
'+' or '1' - "Zoom in" (go to next larger scale)
'-' or '2' - "Zoom out" (go to next smaller scale)
Right Mouse Menu->Zoom
select "zoom level" (chart scale) directly
- rotate chart view 10° counter-clockwise
- rotate chart view 10° clockwise
- restore "North Up" orientation Double-click on a chart cell entry in Chart Manager to center on that cell. Ctrl+I - Open Object Information window.
Object panel of Chart Information window provides information about chart objects. Click on any chart location to display information about objects at that location.
Charts pane of Object Information window will contain a list of chart cells ("chart stack") for a given location. You can control individual chart visibility by selecting chart entry and pressing '+' or '-' buttons below.
POI pane of Object Information window provides information about currently selected Point of Interest. Where applicable, a 'Review' button will be available to submit comments and reviews for selected POI
Managing ActiveCaptain POI
Press Ctrl+A or select menu File->POI List to open Point Of Interest Manager.
Before first download, press 'Configure' button. In configuration dialog enter your ActiveCaptain user name (usually your e-mail address) and password and press 'Login' button. Once logged in, you do not need to login again unless your ActiveCaptain password has changed.
Press 'Update' button to update your POI data. The initial update can take a while over a slow Internet link. You would need to update your data periodically to stay current.
Working with Waypoints and Routes
Shift-click on any chart location - start "Quick Route". Use this as a distance and bearing measurement tool. Move the mouse around and distance and bearing to current mouse pointer along with total route distance will be displayed. Current distance/bearing mode (Great Circle or Rhumb line) is set in Preferences menu.
Shift-click again to place more route points. Distance/bearing from previous point and route total distance will be displayed.
Esc key - pause current route editing. If in distance/bearing measurement mode (less than 2 route points placed on "Quick Route"), the route is removed.
Shift-click on existing route point to activate it. Once activated, it can be moved to a new location just like a new route point. Shift-click again to place it in the new location. Press Esc key to return route point to its previous location. Press Backspace/Delete key to remove route point.
Shift-click on existing route line to add route point in the middle of route line.
To clear current route press 'C' or use Right Mouse Menu->Clear Current Route.
To reverse current route press 'R' or use Right Mouse Menu->Reverse Current Route.
PolarView provides multiple "Quick Routes" to allow fast simultaneous route editing, taking multiple bearings/lines of position etc. To select currently used "Quick Route" press 'Q' or use Right Moust Menu->Select Quick Route.
To place line of position (LOP) start new "Quick Route" on object to which you have a bearing, then press 'R' to reverse route. This will display bearing to desired object on the route leg annotation. Note that all quick routes are visible at all times.
Ctrl-click on any chart location to add new waypoint.
Ctrl-click on existing waypoint to make it current. Move waypoint around, then place again with Ctrl-click. Press Esc key to return waypoint to its previous location. Press Backspace/Delete key to remove waypoint.
Activate right-button mouse menu over the existing waypoint and select Edit Waypoint. Waypoint Information dialog will appear. Press Edit button to start editing. Press Save button to save changes.
Routes can be "snapped" to waypoints. To do that, Shift-click the current route point over the existing waypoint. Route point will attach itself to the waypoint. Once attached, route point cannot be individually moved. Route point will move if waypoint is moved. To disconnect route point, select it as above and press Backspace/Delete to remove.
Waypoints can be tagged with arbitrary tags. By default any new waypoint is a member of tags [All] and [Recent]. [Recent] contains 100 most recent waypoints.
Working with Route and Waypoint Manager
Press Ctrl+R or select menu Routes->Route Manager to open Route Manager.
In Routes pane, press '+' button to add a new route. Press '-' to remove currently selected route. Press 'Copy' button to duplicate currently selected route.
Double-click any route entry to toggle its visiblity on the chart. Visible entries will be marked with '>' symbol next to the name.
In route points list, select route points and press Delete/Backspace button to remove them from route.
Double click route point entry to recenter the chart on its location.
Press 'Load' button to load routes from GPX or CSV file. Select file type and navigate to data file. Press OK to load data.
Press 'Save' button to save currently selected route to GPX or CSV file. Select file type and destination file name. Press OK to save data.
In Waypoints pane, you may add or remove a tag to/from multiple waypoints. Select desired waypoints from waypoint list. Type a new or chose an existing tag name from a tag name combo box located under tag list. Press '+' button to add the tag to selected waypoints. Press '-' button to remove the tag from selected waypoints.
Double-click any tag entry to toggle visiblity of waypoints carrying this tag on the chart. Visible entries will be marked with '>' symbol next to the name.
Press 'Load' button to load waypoints from GPX or CSV file. Select file type and navigate to data file. Press OK to load data.
Press 'Save' button to save waypoints for a currently selected tag to GPX or CSV file. Select file type and destination file name. Press OK to save data.
When connection to PolarCOM is active and GPS device is connected, you can upload waypoints over NMEA link to your GPS device. To do so, select waypoints to be uploaded and press 'Upload' button.
Working with GRIB data
Press Ctrl+G or select menu File->Grib Manager to open Grib Manager.
Weather pane provides control of locally stored GRIB files.
Press "Load" button to load Grib file. Once file is loaded, entries for wind and pressure data with effective time will appear in the Grib Manager list.
Use up & down arrow keys to navigate the list. Double click on Grib entry to center on the grid location.
Options pane provides control of GRIB display options.
You can toggle specific types of information to be displayed: wind, pressure and wave height.
Download pane connects you to Polar Navy's "in-house" GRIB download service. To download GRIB data:
- Select download area by either entering East-West and North-South boundaries in appropriate fields, or using "Select" option to select the area on a chart. Make sure that the area is at least 1 degree by 1 degree in size.
- Select type of forecast model and model frequency.
- Press "Download" button - data should be downloaded shortly. If you are behind an HTTP proxy, use Network pane in configuration dialog to enter host name and port of your HTTP proxy.
Viewing Tides and Currents
To select a tide or current station on screen click on the tide or current station icon on the chart (represented by a small dual-colored circle). A current status of tide or current for the station will be shown on a chart. For detailed information and tidal graph, select "Tides & Currents" from context menu. This will open Tide Manager and display tide information for the selected station.
Arrows on current station icons denote the direction of flood and ebb current.
Press Ctrl+T or select menu File->Tide Manager to open Tide Manager.
Data pane shows tide or current information for selected tide station. Select graph or text view to show data as either graph or text. Tide prediction duration can be varied between 1 and 7 days.
Select dates from calendar to get predictions for future or past dates. To return to current date press "Today" button.
Tide Stations pane shows current set of tide and current stations. You can limit the set of stations by distance (as measured from current center of visible chart). Press refresh button if you moved the chart, to re-filter the list.
PolarView Tide Manager uses the standard TCD (Tide Constituent Database) files, compatible with a number of other tide prediction applications. You can select another tide database file by pressing "Select Database" button. Press "Default" button to return to the built-in tide database.
Live Ship View
- Make sure PolarCOM is operational and receives data from GPS or other NMEA input providing position information.
- In PolarView select Comm->Connect to PolarCOM menu. You should see a ship icon on the chart.
- Select Comm->Go To Ship or press 'S' key to bring ship in the center of screen. Chart view will move to maintain ship position.
- Two modes of ship view are available - "course up" and user-defined. In "course-up" mode chart will be continuously rotated to match the course of the vessel. In user defined mode chart can be left in "North-up" orientation or turned to arbitrary angle using standard chart controls. Chart view mode is controlled by "Keep course up" check-box from Preferences dialog Ship pane.
- Use "Show position circles" option from Preferences dialog Ship pane you can toggle display of "radar rings" showing circles of specific distance around your vessel.
- Use "Show ship heading" option from Preferences dialog Ship pane to show a heading line and orient vessel icon in line with heading, rather than course over ground. This option requires heading input available from your NMEA network. When turned off, or if heading information is not available, ship will be drawn aligned with course over ground.
- Use "Show Set & Drift" option from Preferences dialog Ship pane to show optional set and drift vector. This vector requires that both GPS SOG/COG as well as heading and speed through water be available from your NMEA network.
Navigation and Working with Routes
PolarView creates a special "navigation route" to be followed by the vessel. This route is shared between PolarView and PolarCOM. Navigation route is shown in red in daytime chart palette. Once navigation route is established, it will be maintained by PolarCOM if you close PolarView and will be restored and shown on the chart if PolarView is restarted.
- 'N', Ctrl+click (Context) Mouse Menu->Navigate - access Navigation sub-menu.
The following navigation options are available:
Navigate here - a navigation route from current ship position to position under mouse pointer will be created
Navigate to waypoint - this option will only be active if mouse pointer is placed on a waypoint on the chart. A route from current ship position to this waypoint will be created.
Navigate Route - this option will only be active if current route is available. Navigation route will be created using a copy of the current route. First leg of navigation route will follow from current ship position to the first route point of the original route.
Navigate Route from Here - this option will only be active if current route is available and mouse pointer is placed on one of the route legs or points. A new navigation route will be created using a copy of current route with the first leg from current ship position to selected point on the route.
Next Route Point - when navigating a route, you can switch to the next defined route point.
Previous Route Point - when navigating a route, you can switch to the previous defined route point.
Stop Navigation - clears navigation route and stops navigation.
"Man Overboard" function is available from on-screen touch button menu. Press "Man Overboard" (Life Ring) button to drop an MOB waypoint at current ship location and begin navigating to this point. While MOB is active, no other navigation modes can be activated. You can, however, restart navigation to MOB point by selecting an option "Navigate to MOB" from Navigation menu. This may improve quality of XTE information.
Anchorage mode may be entered from the on-screen touch button menu. Press "Anchor" button to stop navigation, and initiate an anchor guard circle around current ship location. Anchor circle radius is defined in Alarms panel of PolarCOM.
Tracks are automatically created while ship position is shown on the chart. Two track modes are available, controlled from Preferences dialog Tracks pane.
- An adaptive track mode attempts to create tracks that follow vessel movement as closely as possible, while avoiding unnecessary track points. In this mode you can control relative precision of track point creation. Specific intervals will be automatically determined.
- A traditional periodic track mode will create a new track point at a pre-defined time interval.
Tracks can be viewed in Tracks pane of Route & Waypoint manager. They will be named based on starting date of a given track.
PolarView supports AIS target display on the chart, as well as a list of all currently available AIS vessels for quick access.
AIS vessels have distinct colors depending on the vessel type and condition. Green denotes a non-sailing vessel underway moving, blue - sailing vessel underway, gray - vessel not moving/anchored. Vessels in danger of collision or otherwise triggering CPA alarm will be rendered in red.
AIS ships for which dimensions are available will be rendred "to scale" when the scaled image of the vessel on chart is larger than the standard AIS ship icon. Own ship icon will be rendered "to scale" if dimensions of own ship are entered in the Alarms/Limits pane of PolarCOM.
Click on a vessel icon to turn on information label. Click again to turn off information label. Use option Ship->Clear AIS Labels to clear all currently turned on AIS ship labels.
Press Ctrl+S or select menu File->AIS Ship List to open AIS Ship List.
The list will show currently known AIS targets including MMSI, vessel name, bearing and distance - if GPS own vessel location is available. For ships within about 100NM radius CPA and TCPA will also be shown. Vessels triggering CPA/TCPA alarm limits will be shown in red.
Selecting a vessel from the list or clicking on vessel on the chart will display available information in lower pane of AIS Ship List. This information may include MMSI, flag country, vessel name, type and status, coordinates, ship dimensions (LOA/beam), speed, course and heading. MMSI number links to the vessel page on www.marinetraffic.com
PolarCOM is a multifunctional NMEA data multiplexor, instrument display and alarm. PolarCOM is designed to be used both as a self-contained application and as a data interface for PolarView - our integrated navigation system. PolarCOM runs in a system tray and all its functions can be accessed through context menu by Ctrl-clicking the system tray icon or using specific "hot keys".
Working with Serial IO
Right click on PolarCOM tray icon and select Configure menu option. This will bring up configuration dialog. You can also reach Configuration dialog by pressing a "hot key" combination together with letter 'C'.
In the Ports pane click on "Add" button to bring up Port Add dialog. The default port type is a "Serial Port". From the combo box select appropriate port name (i.e. COM3). You can keep default values for port baud rate, input/output modes and connection timeouts.
Uncheck "Activate on startup" checkbox if you do not wish this port to automatically activate whenever you run PolarCOM.
To send NMEA data from other ports out on a given port, check 'Mux Out' checkbox.
To send NMEA data generated by PolarCOM, including waypoints and autopilot control sentences, check 'NMEA Out' checkbox.
Enter visible name for the port in the text box above and press "Add" button.
The new serial port should appear in "Off" state in the list of ports. Select it from the port list and press "Start" button to activate.
When connected to a serial port, the status will be set as "Running". If serial port is not available, port status will be set to "Waiting" pending connection of serial port device.
To verify that data is being received right click on PolarCOM tray icon and select NMEA Terminal menu option. This will bring up a terminal window showing any incoming NMEA data.
Working with Dial Panels
PolarCOM processes NMEA information and displays it using a number of digital and analog dials. Dials can be placed on dial panels to create the best view appropriate to current mode of navigation.
To create a new dial panel, open Configure dialog and select Instruments pane. Press "Add" button to add a new dial panel. The panel is created empty. You can rename the panel by Ctrl-clicking its name in the instrument panel list.
The grid on the right hand side represents possible dial locations on the panel. Select a location from the grid, select desired dial from the drop down box below and press "Change" button to place a dial in that location. Dial will be drawn immediately. To remove the dial, select its location in the grid, choose "<empty>" from the drop-down list and press "Change" button.
For best view resize dial panels by first adjusting the width until desired text or analog display size is achieved, then adjusting height to place the entire dial in view.
Right click on dial panel to reach context menu. You can toggle each dial panel to stay on top of all other applications, and to be transparent.
Dial panels can be toggled on and off screen using system-wide "hot keys". The default "hot key" combination is Shift+Alt. This combination can be changed in Configuration pane. Press "hot key" combination and a number key (0 - 9) from the main keyboard, to bring appropriate dial panel to main screen or remove it from view.
Working with Alarms
PolarCOM maintains a number of ship and navigation metrics and provides audio and visual alarms when specified limits are reached. Arrival and XTE (cross track error) alarms operate in conjunction with PolarView ship navigation mode.
To open Alarms dialog right click on PolarCOM tray icon and select menu option "Alarms", or press "hot key" combination together with letter 'A'.
Settings pane of Alarms dialog provides entry for the following alarm and limit types:
- Alarm mode - select from a single chime, a continuous alarm, or no alarm modes.
- Select action to be performed upon arrival at waypoint. PolarCOM can go to next route point automatically upon reaching desired way point, wait for user to dismiss Arrival alarm before moving on to next route point, or do nothing. In the latter case user would need to activate next route point from PolarView navigation menu.
- Enter distance (in specified units) from route point - when the vessel is at this distance from desired point, alarm will be activated and point will be considered "arrived at".
- Select arrival mode. Two modes are available. Distance/Arrival Circle will declare arrival when vessel is closer than a given distance to destination waypoint. CPA/Perpendicular will require that vessel cross the line perpendicular to route leg from previous point, in addition to being inside the arrival circle.
- Check the check-box to turn depth alarm on.
- Enter minimum depth value for alarm to activate.
- Optionally enter your vessel's draft and transducer offset. Positive transducer offset is from water surface, negative is from keel. Offsets may be used to calculate water depth from NMEA messages that carry only depth under transducer or keel.
Anchor Drag Alarm
- Check the check-box to turn anchor alarm on. Once alarm is turned on, if PolarView is connected, an anchor circle will be shown around the ship to indicate anchorage boundary area.
- Enter maximum anchorage area swing radius. This defines the size of boundary circle. If the vessel travels outside the circle, alarm will sound.
XTE (Cross Track Error) Alarm
- Check the check-box to turn XTE alarm on.
- Enter maximum XTE distance in the text entry field. If vessel is following a route specified in PolarView, alarm will sound if vessel cross track error exceeds this value.
- Check the check-box to turn CPA/Proximity alarm on.
- Enter minimum CPA (Closest Point of Approach) distance. Enter maximum TCPA (Time to Closest Point of Approach) in minutes.
- Recommended: enter dimensions of your own vessel. Dimensions are from the "reference" point on your vessel for which coordinates are generated by GPS unit, normally this is the point of location for your GPS antenna.
CPA algorithm will calculate closest approach distances for all vessels within a given timeframe. CPA algorithm takes into account your own vessel dimensions, as well as those of other ships (when available) to calculate appropriate distances. CPA alarm will be triggered if within a time of less than or equal to defined TCPA your ship and another vessel will be closer than defined CPA minimum distance. If minimum CPA distance is set to 0, CPA alarm will only be triggered when potential direct incursion is estimated. It is strongly recommended that you set a CPA minimum distance according to navigation conditions and type of your vessel.
Lost Data Alarm
- Select this option to provide a choice of a chime or a continuous alarm when GPS or depth data from NMEA input is lost.
You can close the Alarm dialog, once all the settings are set. Alarm dialog will be brought up automatically if any of the alarms are triggered.
PolarCOM configuration data panel provides a number of configurable options.
- True Wind can be calculated using a number of modes. Select the one most appropriate to your situation. Note, that 'SOG/COG' mode does not use vessel heading and may provide poor estimates of True Wind. This mode is reserved for users that do not have vessel heading sensor.
- Data Dampening helps reduce fluctuations in measured values of specific instrument readings. It is particularly useful with un-dampened GPS input where reported SOG or COG may "jump" significantly when vessel is stationary or moving slowly.
- NMEA Output allows user to send autopilot control sentences and currently active route over NMEA link to appropriate devices. You can control which waypoint names are sent to autopilot. This selection may affect your autopilot confirmation when next waypoint in the active route is selected.
'Waypoints/Routepoints' - PolarCOM will send all user-created waypoints, but will not send generated Great Circle route sub-points
'All' - PolarCOM will send all waypoint names including any generated Great Circle points
'Fixed Waypoint' - PolarCOM will send a fixed point name. WARNING: in this mode your autopilot may not request additional confirmation when switching to the next route or waypoint!