Friday, August 14, 2020

Wind and wave data from a buoy near you

With the release of OpenCPN 5.2, the sQuiddio plugin has also undergone a major upgrade, adding new functionality such as one-click Google Maps download for all sQuiddio Points of Interest,  NMEA logs data sharing etc. More on these in upcoming blog posts or on the Quiddio plugin manual on OpenCPN.

The new super-handy feature we wanted to highlight today is the addition of NDBC Buoy reports right in your OpenCPN chart. Check out the lastest wind and wave conditions for locations near you before you cast off!

NDBC Buoy reports hold wind, wave, and other marine data collected by the NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). The data are collected from NDBC moored buoys and from C-MAN (Coastal-Marine Automated Network) stations located on piers, offshore towers, lighthouses, and beaches. Parameters reported by both buoys and C-MAN stations include air temperature and pressure, wind speed and direction, wind gust, and sea surface temperature. The buoys (and a few C-MAN stations located on offshore towers) also report wave data, usually including wave height, wave period, and wave spectra. 

NDBC Buoy reports are downloaded and displayed on OpenCPN charts by means of a new round, organge sQuiddio marker. Clicking on the marker will display the latest 24 hours worth of data available for the buoy.

To view buoy reports on your chart, activate the sQuiddio plugin (make sure you have varsion 1.3 or greater), then turn on the NDBC Buoy Reports checkbox in the View tab of the plugin settings. 

If you don't have the sQuiddio plugin installed, OpenCPN version 5.2 has a easy new way of downloading plugins in a semi-automated method through their new Plugin Manager (if not, you can always follow the instructions on the OpenCPN page).

Buoy reports are handled just like any other Point of Interest in the sQuiddio plugin. Just right click on the relevant area of the chart and select sQuiddio: Download (Update) local Points of Interest from the contextual menu.

Important: the data is cached locally with each download, and available offline if you lose your internet connection. To view the most recent reports, you need to download the POIs again (in other words, no automatic updates of Buoy Data!).

Also, most buoy reports currently available for the United States, though there is a sprinkling of buoys around the world as well, and coverage appears to be expanding as the NDBC adds new partners, such as the British MetOffice

Let us know if you enjoy this new feature and perhaps suggest ways to improve it. 

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