Rich Media - v2.7

Rich Media

I’m a daily user of Wikipedia and Twitter. And I’ve long imagined adapting the spirit of these innovations into DeepZoom, creating an authoritative information source for trips and markers (the Wikipedia part) along with user contributions including comments, images, videos, and ratings (the Twitter part).

This release marks the introduction of both of these features.

To some extent, these features overlap those offered by https://activecaptain.com and https://marinas.com. So rather than focusing on the ever changing details of which marinas have ice, or total number of berths, the intent is just to provide a link to the authoritative source at the top of each marker description.

But what is unique here is that each marker and trip can optionally include a series of comments with images and video. The user interaction model is similar to Twitter, and you can comment on others comments.

Anyone who has tried to spelunk through Amazon product reviews for valid information knows that the tragedy of the commons applies to the internet. Mindless and irrelevant comments and reviews seem to be the norm, and bots seem to be taking over. To try and limit such flotsam and jetsam on DeepZoom, only subscribers can post new content or add ratings.

There are two classes of markers: public markers appear on everyone’s chart, and private markers are only stored within a Trip. The next planned feature will allow users to promote their private markers into the public arena. For example, if you have a collection of Puget Sound SCUBA sites with accompanying rich media you’ll be able to have these show up on everyone’s chart. Just mark the Trip containing the markers as public and if the trip garners a high enough star ranking and votes (number to be determined) the markers will become automagically become public.

The content editor

The editor is divided into three sections: text, images, videos. Each section is optional.
Both images and videos can be drag and dropped onto the editing page. Images retain their full original resolution. At this time, videos must be hosted on YouTube.

Seattle to Lopez Island Loop

This trip has been updated to demonstrate adding rich media at each port of call.

Try it: https://www.deepzoom.com/trip/yzp5ybrk

Seattle To Glacier Bay via Inside Passage

This trip has been updated to demonstrate adding rich media to the trip itself. Scroll down on the “Trip” tab to see comments and images.

Try it: https://www.deepzoom.com/trip/4jvmcnf6

Bug fixes

  1. Sometimes when changing properties of a route another route would be incorrectly selected. Sorry for all the aggravation this bug has caused, but it is now fixed!
  2. The “Kingman - Cuttyhunk” Trip could hang the app. Fixed.

The Pine Tar Experiment

I promise to not clutter this blog with non-DeepZoom deviations into politics or religion. But since the following topic consumes ~10% of my total brain capacity and likely counts as a form of OCD, I’m compelled to share.

Brightwork

We purchased Serenade, a 1997 Pacific Seacraft 40’ cutter, in 2001. She had been well maintained, with many coats of expertly applied varnish on the exposed teak. Over the next 12 years, I slowly learned the craft of varnishing: an endless cycle of scraping, sanding, taping, painting, dripping, and cleanup. The commitment to maintain that gleaming wood seemed excessive, but so was the rate of decay without continuous maintenance.

Finally, the caprail was beyond the point of repair, so I tore off the varnish and began the process of going au naturel. For the next decade I progressively removed varnish from other exposed areas and let the wood turn silver, protected only by the naturally high teak oil content. This approach works for wood which is frequently splashed with salt water, which both cleans and protects the wood.

But the Seattle waterfront isn’t especially clean, the marina is under the flight paths of Boeing and SeaTac airports, and we’re making fewer trips out of the relatively placid waters of Puget Sound. So the silver would often turn to a dark grunge and I began to notice moss and small plants growing from difficult-to-clean crevices. Then the bung plugs started popping out and the wood loss became visible so it was time to change course once again.

Returning to my roots

Norwegian stave churches made entirely of wood have lasted for a millennium.
How do they do it?

The exterior coating is primarily composed of pine tar, an ingredient in many “boat soup” recipes. Boat soup is traditionally a mixture of left-over varnish, pine tar, gum turpentine, and boiled linseed oil, applied more for protection than aesthetics. The pine tar is usually a dark and thick variety and makes up maybe 10-33% of the mixture. The dark tar and aging linseed oil causes the mixture to darken with age. Not especially attractive.

A different tack

One of the nastier aspects of varnishing is the high level of VOCs emitted during the process. So I’ve been on a quest for an alternative protection which is low maintenance, less toxic, easy to apply, cheap, and beautiful. Finally I was swayed by the description of Dalburnt Pine Tar:

  • Dalburnt Pine Tar is a pure, natural product with a golden color, low content of pitch, high resin content and high purity. Kiln Burned Pine Tar is a high performance tar especially for medical purposes but also for veterinary use as well as for wood and wood preservation.

  • Dalburnt Pine Tar is used as an ingredient in shampoos, soaps, expectorants and in ointments against allergic rash, psoriasis and eczema, among others.

  • Heat up the Pine tar to 50 – 60 °C in a water bath and mix with purified raw Linseed Oil to make the material thinner and easier to apply. You will also achieve a better finish and increase the penetration of the wood. Apply only a thin layer of Pine Tar when treating your wooden surface for a best result

So I got a $10 crock pot from Amazon, assembled the ingredients and waited for a warm summer day.

Prep work

Since the teak had been left in the elements for a decade, I cleaned the teak with Eco-100 teak cleaner and then did a quick sanding of the caprail with 80 grit to level off the worst of the hardwood/softwood ridges. The remaining cockpit teak was wet sanded with Dalys Tung oil and 120 grit sand paper just to bring out the wood grain a bit more, and left to dry for a week. Overall, a somewhat slapdash prep effort…

Application

The pine tar and raw linseed oil were mixed 50/50 and warmed in the crock pot with a water bath to 140-160° F. Beware, the fumes are flammmable if exposed to an open flame. A light coating was applied to the wood with a foam brush, left to soak in for 5-10 minutes, and finally the excess wiped off. No taping. Almost no drips or spills and the few small messes cleaned up easily with mineral spirits. In total, I used only 1/3 liter of each ingredient.

The smell was like being in the middle of a campfire, wondering if smore fixings were available. Overwhelmingly intense; like floating in a turpene bath. A different kind of VOCs…

I came back the next day to clean up any drips since it had rained lightly overnight (not a problem). The smell had only marginally diminished. The crew on the neighboring sailboat had watched my progress with interest the previous day. They reported that after I left, the marina staff were running up and down the docks, peering through portholes trying to figure out which vessel was on fire! Our neighbors pointed to Serenade’s brightwork, everyone came over for a sniff, and the mystery was solved.

Since the caprail looked pleasing enough I brought out the crock pot again and mixed up another batch for the cockpit teak. The was applied OVER the Daly’s Tung Oil applied a week earlier. Now I’m really winging it…

BEWARE OF THE OILY RAGS! THEY CAN SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST!
Either immerse rags in water or keep them spread out and well ventilated until dry.

Unknowns

  • Will this mixture darken excessively over time? If too dark, the wood becomes uncomfortable in the sun underfoot and undertuchus.
  • How much maintenance will be required?
  • Will the presence of the linseed oil deep in the wood actually increase the rate of decay since it provides food for fungi? Or will the pine tar antiseptic properties limit this effect?

Results

  • 2 weeks. Lovely. The wood looks rich and well oiled. Some areas which were not well sanded have raised grain. The smell is fading, although it will take up to 6 weeks for the raw linseed oil to fully cure. Surfaces feel dry to the touch and don’t stain clothing.

Caprail is raw wood with pine tar / linseed oil.

Wood near winch has a single coat of Tung oil under the pine tar / linseed oil. Looks great!

  • To be continued…

Scripting Routes - v2.5

New features

  1. You can now add script events to any route (previously scripts were only attached to the whole trip).

Script events are added to one of three groups, depending on the selection of the topmost tab:

  • before: All of these events run before the route or trip is activated.
  • during: These events are activated relative to the route or trip completion (0.0 to 1.0, or time slider full left to slider full right).
  • after: All of these events run after the route or trip completes.

In the example above, two events have been added to the before group of a route, setting the chart opacity to zero and selecting a current station before the route becomes active.

  • Use the + button to add a new event, previously selected from the event type list.
  • Use the garbage can button to delete any selected events from the list.
  • Use the Δ t button to reassign the relative time of all selected events in the during group. (First drag the time slider to the moment you want the event to occur).

By default, adding a script event stores the current value of that setting, such as opacity, zoom, location, selected marker, selected tide station, etc. But you can always edit the default setting by just clicking on the value in the list box.

Trip Events vs Route Events

While conceptually very similar, trip during events are relative the entire trip, while route during events are relative the particular route. Also, trip before events are only executed once when the trip is first loaded. Trip after events execute as the timeline loops back to the beginning.

Bug fixes

  1. After saving a trip, the timebase sometimes did not account for the last route in the trip.

Seattle to Glacier Bay updated

This trip has been updated to use route scripts, changing the nautical chart opacity to “0” during the Canadian routes.

Try it: https://www.deepzoom.com/trip/4jvmcnf6


PayDay - v2.4

New features

  1. The pleasure of intermittently developing DeepZoom over the last ~15 years has included a total outlay of something like $12K for hosting, insurance, Mapbox, domain name, and some contract programming. Which of course doesn’t include anything for my time, personal computers, or, er, profit. So Ducky has urged me to try out a voluntary annual subscription model. Subscription fulfillment is via Stripe. The promised ability allowing subscribers to add comments, photos, (and videos?) to public Markers and Trips will be coming on line over the summer.

  2. Added upper left hamburger menu for account access on desktop. Simplified hamburger menu on phones.

  3. Top Search button brings up dialog to either search for a named place or for trips in view.

Bug fixes

  1. Logging in was sometimes flakey. Fixed.
  2. Unselected tide stations no longer show tidal heights.

Newport to Bermuda Race 2022

The 2022 Newport to Bermuda race is kicking off June 17th. Here’s the historical windrose data for the race.

Try it: https://deepzoom.com/trip/cmmqy69y


Trip editing improvements - v2.3.23

New features

  1. Many improvements to route editing. Of particular note is the ability to split routes using the snip tool (scissors icon in the above image).
  2. Added the ability to attach scripts to Markers. At present, this means script actions can be triggered at any of the following times.
    • When a trip is loaded.
    • At a relative point along a trip.
    • New: Marker Arrival scripts execute when in Play mode and the map center is within 1 nMi of the Marker location.
    • New: Marker Departure scripts execute when in Play mode and the map center moves 1 nMi away from the Marker location.
      In the future, the trigger distance will be programmable.
  3. Routes and Markers have a separate button to edit the name. Editing the name in place was a continuing nightmare so I went with this simpler alternative.

Bug fixes

  1. Markers can now be deleted.

Up Next

From the outset of DeepZoom V2, I’ve been contemplating whether to add user generated rich content (text, images, video) to Markers.

There are plenty of websites which attach commercial content to map markers showing marinas, gas prices, and the like, but I’ve been imagining something closes to a mashup of Twitter and Wikipedia, where you can add comments on anchorages, dive spots, fishing holes, kayaking campgrounds, etc. along with images, videos, and ratings or likes/dislikes.

But entering this arena means higher operating costs and the more serious problem of moderating user submissions.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on this topic, I’d love to hear them.

https://github.com/jaybo/deepzoom-blog/discussions/3


The TypeScript rewrite - v2.3

JavaScript, the quandary

I started writing DeepZoom in 2007??? when I knew just about nothing about the lingua franca of the web: JavaScript. Over the intervening decade and a half, I’ve worked on the code sporadically, but then really kicked into gear again in 2020 as Covid hit. As a result, the codebase was a mashup of different styles, reflecting changes in my understanding of JavaScript best practices, and adopting modern features of the language as it evolved every few years.

Overall, the experience has been terrifying. Coming from a background in strongly typed languages such as C, C++, and C#, the whole dynamic nature of JavaScript where a variable can morph to contain content of any type has been disquieting. Gary Bernhardt has a fun video on the subject of JavaScript inconsistencies: Wat

Some typical JavaScript madness:

// random JavaScript: Is k a string, a number, or something else?
let k = "you'll never take me alive, Copper!"
k = 42
k = lifeTheUniverseEverything(k)

Equally frightening, DeepZoom is directly dependent on ~40 other NPM packages (code libraries), which in turn rely on over 1,300 other libraries. Any of which can be randomly updated, bugs added or fixed, and behaviors changed. In a typical week two or three of the direct dependency libraries will be updated.

Meanwhile DeepZoom continues to grow. It’s currently about 80 files, and about 30,000 lines of code (not counting images and other assets).

find ./ -type f -regex '.*\.\(vue\|js\|ts\)$' -print0 | wc -l --files0-from=- // LOC js, ts, vue

Not huge by any means, but large enough that attempting non-trivial enhancements was a challenge. Partly because I lacked the discipline to document every function, variable, and return value, but also due to the nature of JavaScript itself. Enter … TypeScript.

The TypeScript rewrite

I’ve been casting longing glances in the direction of TypeScript for a few years. And I finally took the plunge. After flicking some switches in the Quasar tooling to enable TypeScript, I started with the simplest modules with the fewest dependencies, and just changed the file extension from .js to .ts. Add a few type definitions, and it’s working! VSCode starts showing intellisense for all variables and functions. Errors pop up when types don’t match.

The largest modules took a few days to port over; overall I spent about two months on the rewrite. During the rewrite maybe two dozen real bugs popped up due to type checking. And there were a few sections of code that I just scratched my head and wondered how/if it ever really worked.

The relief is palpable.

Fixes

  • New drawer menu on mobile devices
  • Handle the iPhone “notch” and env(safe-area-inset-*)
  • Fix all known issues with changing route names

Seattle to Glacier Bay

To test all this new functionality, I created a Trip based on our 2001 expedition from Seattle to Glacier Bay aboard s/v Serenade. The trip includes 28 routes, and has a duration of about a month.

Try it: https://www.deepzoom.com/trip/4jvmcnf6


Tide selection annoyance - v2.2.17

Oops, I broke backwards compatibility

V2.2.17 uses a slightly modified trip storage format. If you have a tide or current station selected in your old file, it will not be auto selected in a newer version of DeepZoom. Sorry, but this is a one time upgrade and it wasn’t trivial to maintain backwards compatibility.

To fix this problem, open the trip in DeepZoom. Select the station again, and then resave the trip.
Make sure Include view settings is Yes.

save a trip

If you’re one of the adventurous few who is actually writing a scripted trip, then you’ll need to manually update the tideOrCurrent entries within the script.


Tide data refresh - v2.2.112

Tide and current data refresh

All of the USA tides and currents are now updated to the latest NOAA 2022 data release. Tide and current data is available between the dates of 2014.01.01 through 2029.12.31 inclusive.

For the first time in DeepZoom, this includes coverage for currents in Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and many locations in New England.

Thanks, as always to David Flater (xtide) for collecting and publishing the .tcd files which I use to generate the millions tide fragment files which enables DeepZoom’s rapid display.

I would be delighted to extend DeepZoom tide and current coverage throughout the world.
If you know of any public domain harmonic sources please let me know!


Trip: Intracoastal Waterway

Intracoastal waterway (ICW)

Now that .gpx import is working I needed a really big trip to do some stress testing.

Ann and Bob Sherer publish a set of .gpx routes and tracks along the ICW. For reasons unknown to me, these have come to be known around the web as the Bob423 tracks.

I imported these to DeepZoom by just dragging and dropping one or more .gpx files onto the right side panel. Next I converted the tracks to routes using the handy new button on the Tracks panel. Finally I adjusted some of the departure dates to form a reasonable itinerary, and voilà, we have a trip!

The resulting 1067 nMi trip from Norfolk to Key West has seven routes, many thousand waypoints, and a trip duration of 44 days at 6.5 knots with several layovers.

Tip! You can adjust the starting date for all routes in a trip in one operation. Click “today”, +1, -1, or the calendar icon to change the start date for the earliest route and all other routes will be modified to the same relative time offset.

Try it out: https://www.deepzoom.com/trip/y88qfms3

Tip! you can add-in Bob423’s side trips and anchorages by dragging in this file.


Trip: ARC Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

About 200 boats participate annually in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC).. The 2700 nMi rally follows the trade winds from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean.

These trips are optimized to show wind direction and strength along the route. To understand how to read the windrose, see this post.

ARC 2022 Direct

This is the shorter, direct route.

Try it out: https://www.deepzoom.com/trip/6b8d958m

ARC+ 2022

The longer route departs a few days later, with a stopover in Mindelo, Sao Vicente.

Try it out: https://www.deepzoom.com/trip/bktytsf9


Recent Posts

Rich Media - v2.7

5 minute read

Rich Media I’m a daily user of Wikipedia and Twitter. And I’ve long imagined adapting the spirit of these innovations into DeepZoom, creating an authoritat...

The Pine Tar Experiment

13 minute read

I promise to not clutter this blog with non-DeepZoom deviations into politics or religion. But since the following topic consumes ~10% of my total brain capa...