Easy Tools

Software-On-Board Online Manual


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The Conversions Form


SOBvMAX, the [F12] key previously displayed the Conversions form, but now toggles Perspective View. The Conversions form is now located on the Ship's Form (click the Ship's Target, or press the [F9] key).

Enter any style of angle to convert between the three possible combinations:

  • Decimal Degrees: DD.dddd°
  • Degrees, Dec-minutes: DD°MM.mmm'
  • Degrees, Minutes, Seconds: DD° MM' SS"

Notice that: entering a "sexagesimal" bigger than 60 will increment the higher order. eg: 95 minutes entered will be 1°35' plus whatever the Degrees entered.

Once a decimal point is entered into either the Degrees or Minutes boxes, other boxes will be disabled to prevent entering an invalid combination of Deg, Min and Sec.

To use the distance converter, simply enter your number in the correct "known" box, the other possibilities will be automatically filled. In the example, "2 Nautical Miles" was entered.


Chart Data, Nautical Information, Marine Services and Tides

Display detailed information on chart objects and chart symbols ...

Right-click on any chart object or symbol to display the data for that area. This data could be: navigation lights, piloting info, yacht clubs and marinas, current streams, depths, hazard/warning areas, marine parks or fishing grounds etc etc etc. View this screen shot for an example.

Tide Symbol
If chart Level C or D is available in your portfolio, then the Tide symbol will appear in standard datum locations and can be right-clicked for comprehensive tide prediction information and graphs. (Sample Tide data)


Object Info
Depress OI, sets a quasi right-click mode, the next chart touch (or click with the left-mouse button) will perform a detailed "All information at cursor" search. This is the same as right-clicking AT ANY TIME on the chart.

Also in OI mode, a QuickInfo box will appear whenever the mouse becomes stationary over a location with data beneath it (light, buoy, rock, yacht club, etc). 


Sample QuickInfo Box showing the data for Sydney Harbour's Macquarie Lighthouse. 

As all navigators should know (?) it means:
White Tower, with a white flashing light, twice every 10 seconds. 
The light is 105 metres above sea level and 
is visible for 25 Nautical Miles in ideal conditions!

  Other actions possible from OI mode:
Lock down the CentreShip button will keep the Ship's Target always visible on the display. If the ships is about to "sail off" the computer screen, the chart will re-position itself to keep the Ship's Target visible. The charts may change to a less detailed level when re-positioning if no detailed levels are available for this location.
Press the Route Tool button when in OI mode to display the AllRoutes form.  
Press the Waypoint Tool button when in OI mode to display the AllWaypoints form.  
Press the Targets button to display the Target Friends form.


  Range and Bearing Lines (RBL)

Touch the chart to draw an RBL from Ship’s Target to the mouse position, consecutive Touches will extend the RBL. 
Up to five extensions can be drawn, then the RBL will restart.

While the RBL is being drawn, each new point will draw from the previous point AND to the Ship's Target. After the next chart refresh, only the start and end points of the RBL will connect back to the Ship’s Target.

Manually restart the Range & Bearing Line by pressing the RBL toolbar button twice (ie: Turn-Off RBL mode, then Turn-On RBL mode again).

The RBL’s have a short life span, whenever the RBL button is depressed the current RBL is cleared and a new RBL is started. So to remove the RBL from the chart: enter RBL mode (press button), then exit RBL mode.

Past Track

(see also Power Users Manual Page)

The functionality of SOB's PastTrack features are severely restricted if SOB has not been Unlocked.

About 5 times every minute, SOB will drop a dot on the chart display at your position, every 10 of these markers (sometimes known as the fabled "bread crumb") will be double-sized.

The default colour of the PastTrack "crumbs" depends upon the navigation mode. Log file replay mode will show a red PastTrack, while  dead reckoning mode will show a grey coloured PastTrack. Real-time navigating mode with an active GPS will show black dots with the double-sized dots highlighted.

A Variety of display options are possible with the PastTrack: Colour-shading can represent Water Depths, Boat Speed or Wind Strength; and Wind Tails will show a wind direction indicator at each PastTrack position.

To display this form: click the Colour Scale if visible; CTRL-click any PastTrack point, or press the [Backspace] key; or use the button on the Ships Form.

Selectively display or hide the Ship’s past track with the checkbox on the Ship's or this PastTrack form.

[Save Now] will immediately save the displayed PastTrack to the !LastTrack.trk file, use the Autosave settings to have SOB perform this backup at defined times.

[Restart Now] to save the current PastTrack to a separate file (auto named as Track xxx(YYY-MM-DD).txt) and restart the  !PastTrack.txt file. Use the settings to have SOB perform regular automatic restarts.

Rename any PastTrack in the list by clicking on the name of a highlighted item to make an in-place edit box.

Load any previous PastTrack by selecting it in the list and pressing the [Load...] button, or by double-clicking the file name in the list. You have a choice to replace the current track or to continue to display it and display the selected one as well.

Show Colour Scale displays the colour legend (pictured next) on the chart screen. Be aware that the colour used for each point is relative to the "range" of values between the recorded max and min values (of speed, depth, strength). As the min and max values change, the PastTrack shading colours drawn will be adjusted to any change in the range.

Click the colour scale to show/hide the PastTrack Settings form.

When SOB exits, the current on-screen PastTrack is automatically logged to two different files:
!PastTrack.txt will be appended with any unlogged points from the current session. 
This file will continue to grow dependant on the settings chosen on the PastTrack form.

The data in this file is designed to be thoroughly analysed and graphed in
(see Power Users - Analyse your Voyage)
!LastTrack.trk will be created to temporarily hold the current PastTrack, this track will be redisplayed in SOB when next started. 

At any time you can convert your displayed PastTrack to a Route, only the large dots are used when converting to a route.

SOB also automatically converts any unlogged TurnMarks to a Route (named PastTrack00x.rte) and saves it to the Routes folder when SOB exits. This PastTrack Route will NOT be created if there is less than 20 minutes of data (running time).
Reverse the route to use it as a "Track Back" possibility.

Navigating to a Destination (N2D)

see also Advanced Tools

In N2D mode, a red "Destination"
 Information Panel will show all
 necessary data to help you navigate to
your destination - be it a Man-Over-Board
position; specific Waypoint; or 
next Turn Point in the Active Route.

SOB will automatically provide extra information in a ViewPanel whenever a Navigate to Destination scenario is active.

If you have a connected autopilot, SOB will only send data to the autopilot when a navigate to destination scenario is active, and the appropriate NMEA commands are enabled on the Raw NMEA Data form.

There are three such N2D scenarios in SOB. In order of priority they are:

  1. Man-Over-Board
    Enabled by pressing the MOB button. 
  2. Navigate to Destination Waypoint
    Any waypoint can be set as a destination, by pressing the "Navigate to..." button on it's Waypoint Form. Also, for a destination waypoint, an "Arrival Zone Alarm" can be set. The arrival zone will appear on the chart as a red "hashed" circle around the destination waypoint.
  3. Next Turn Mark on an Active Route
    If neither (1) nor (2) apply, AND a Route is currently marked as active, then the "Navigate to..." panel will show details pertaining to the next turning point on a Route if it is marked as active (press the "Activate" button on the Route Form).
    The active route is displayed on the chart as thick red lines, any passed TurnMark is drawn as a green dot with the next TurnMark shown as a yellow dot. The current leg and the Destination ViewPanel is automatically updated as the turn marks are passed (either by sailing within the arrival zone, or passing a "perpendicular" from your course to the mark).

TTG & ETA on this Destination ViewPanel are calculated based on VMG (Velocity Made Good).
VMG represents that component of your speed and heading which is actually helping you get to the destination. If VMG is negative, then you are receding from your destination (getting farther away).

XTE is the "Cross Track Error" value sent to the AutoPilot when under remote control, and represents the perpendicular distance away from the original course line to the destination. 


Making SOB "Come Alive"


Dead Reckoning
Click the Ship's Target (or press the [F9] function key) to display the Setup Ship's Position form, then check Dead Reckoning, enter your estimated (or measured) course and speed to "animate" SOB into movement. 

Any Route can be loaded (or drawn), then "dry-runned" while in DR mode. The Route can be Activated and course and speed manually changed as necessary to simulate this voyage. The Destination ViewPanel will display data based upon the DR settings.

Voyage Replay
Double-click the chart surface to display the Raw NMEA Data form. Press the button to replay a pre-recorded NMEA log file. 

See also Power Users Page - Logfiles  and  Technical Information - Logfiles Folder

Real-Time Navigation
Just plug any NMEA compatible positioning device (typically a GPS) into your computer's serial port, and watch the Ship's Target move around the chart with pinpoint accuracy.

WAN Connect
(The Network User License and AccessLevel 4 is required to enable WAN features)
Connected WAN ships will be displayed in SOB, either as the primary ship, if selected, or as simulated Targets.   

See also Networking Information - WAN Manual Page


... see also    |   AllRoutes Form   |   Advanced Tools Page - Active Route   |

Drawing, Editing and Activating Routes

Create a new Route: Start Route mode, consecutively Touching chart will place the Starting-Mark, Turning-Marks and Destination positions.

Select a Route: Touch any route TurnMark to select that route, the route will change colour to red to show it is selected. The currently selected TurnMark, will become a large solid dot, the next mark along the route will be a large hollow dot. 

Edit a Route: The Route/mark must first be selected, then Touch the new location to move the mark. (Hint: if the old mark is in the way when moving, first move to a different location, then move back)

Touch the same Route TurnMark twice to pop-up the Route Button Menu.

Insert Route TurnMark: Touch a mark twice, pressing the [Insert a TurnMark] button will place a new mark after the selected one. Move the new mark to its desired location.

Delete a TurnMark: Touch the mark twice, then press the [Delete a TurnMark] button.

Display Route Details Form: Touch a route mark to select it, then Touch it again and press [Route Details] on the button menu. 

Activate a Route: by depressing the button on a Route Form. refer to  Advanced Tools Page - Active Route

Load a Route from file: Display the Route Form then press the [Load…] button. 
All routes used during a SOB session are automatically saved when the program exits, the route name is used for the file name. To delete one of these routes, simply delete the file name. Route Files will be saved to the  \SOB\Routes\archived  folder before being over-written.  
See also  AllRoutes Form for comprehensive Route File management features.

GreateCircle (GC):  Convert a leg to a GreateCircle, or if on a GC TurnMark then delete all TurnMarks ahead on the GC leg.

Route Details Form: Individual Legs can have their own estimated speed for Route planning



see also Quick Start Manual Page

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Change the name of the Waypoint at any time, be sure to save this change by exiting the form with the [Close] button.

Any name is suitable for use with SOB, however it's worth being aware that if transferring Waypoints between different systems (eg: the GPS, C-MAP User Card, other Nav Programs) there may be limitations as to what characters are allowed, and how many characters are possible. For instance, most GPS units will only accept 6 letter names for waypoints.

Distance, Heading and Time Data

The data displayed at the top of the form provides detailed information about the location of the waypoint relative to the Ship's Position.

Notice that the "Heading to Wpt", and "Bearing from Wpt" are reciprocals (ie: same course but opposite directions). And these angles are given as True compass values.

The SOG is Speed-Over-Ground supplied by the GPS. SPD is the Boat-Speed across the water as supplied by a speed LOG device (if connected). 

Velocity-Made-Good (or VMG) is that component of your speed that is actually helping you make ground towards the waypoint. If heading directly to the Waypoint, then VMG = 100% of SOG. if heading away from the Waypoint, then VMG will be ZERO or have a negative value. According to Pythagoras and trigonometry, the VMG for other headings will be calculated appropriately.


Temporary waypoints are set if the "Save Wpt when SOB exits" checkbox is not ticked, ie:  the Waypoint will exist only while SOB is running.

To keep this waypoint in the !default.wpt file to automatically load when SOB starts, ensure that this box is ticked.

All waypoints in the !default.wpt file will be loaded when SOB starts. 
If the waypoint is not marked as "Autoload Wpt when SOB next starts", then the waypoint will still be loaded, however, it will be drawn hidden (the [Show/Hide] button will be "up") and appear as a small "dashed" circle on the display. This waypoint can be selected in the normal way (select the Waypoint Tool) and its setting changed if you desire.

... see also AllWaypoints form on this page.

Navigate to Destination (N2D)

...see Easy Tools Page - N2D and Advanced Tools Page - N2D

Press this button to set the Waypoint as a Destination waypoint. Only one waypoint will be a nominated Destination at one time, although other Waypoints can have this button pressed.

SOB will set THE FIRST SEQUENTIAL WPT as the Destination. Once this waypoint has been arrived at (see Arrival Zone next), its status as a Destination will be automatically reset. If any other waypoints are nominated as Destinations then the NEXT SEQUENTIAL WPT will become the new active Destination.

Note: SOB will automatically use the next, and any subsequent, Destination waypoints as each previous destination Waypoint is passed.  See the example of this: Advanced Tools - Waypoints as Destinations

The Waypoint sequence is determined by the order in which they were created. This order can be seen in the Loaded Waypoints Listing on the AllWaypoints form.

Destination Waypoints are easily recognised on the chart as they have additional text in the Waypoint Label (see picture below for example).

Arrival/Anchor Zones

The [Alarm] button and Radius textbox serve a dual purpose:

  • they serve as an ArrivalZone circle when the Waypoint is used as a Destination. A hashed circle is drawn around the Waypoint marker (pictured below). When the ship breaches this ArrivalZone, SOB will emit a buzzing alarm and log the alarm event to the Messages ViewPanel.
  • if the waypoint is not set as a Destination, then the [Alarm] button will set an AnchorZone alarm to the size nominated in the radius box.
    Again, the AnchorZone circle will be shown hashed on the chart, and the buzzing alarm will sound and the event logged, if the Ship moves outside the zone. 


New Position

Manually move the Waypoint to a different location by entering the Latitude and Longitude directly, then press the [Set] button. Note that the coordinates are entered as Decimal-Degrees, use the Conversions form to acquire the dec-degs if necessary.

Label & Style

Set these to customise the appearance of the Waypoint symbol, and its accompanying text.

The size of the Waypoint's label text will change along with the Small, Medium, Large settings for the Waypoint style, and on the scale setting.

A collection of waypoint icons are also available for display, (the Size & Solid options are not available for all waypoint icon types):

As you may notice, there are some blank buttons on the form. If you have any particular symbols that you would like us to include in SOB, please send us the bitmap (.bmp) capture of your icon for consideration. This must be your won original image or a non-copyrighted image from the Public Domain. Email wpt@sob.com.au for more details, or instructions on how to capture an existing image.

Wind Shadow

See Advanced Manual  Page - Wind Tools 



   Man-Over-Board (aka MOB)

A Man-Over-Board marker is a regular Waypoint placed at the Ship's Position with the following properties set:

  • Name is "MOB"
  • [Navigate to Destination] set to ON
  • [Alarm] turned ON
  • ArrivalZone circle radius set to 50 metres
  • RNG/BRG and TTG/ETA label enabled
  • Style set to: Small, crossed, red circle
  • Notes: UTC at time of setting MOB mode

  • In addition, on the Setup Ship's Position form, the CourseLine is turned ON.

The MOB tool should also be used if you want to place a Waypoint at your current exact position (for instance: if at anchor, or positioned over a dive wreck, etc).

If not being used as a Destination, then this should be disabled at the first opportunity. Note though that the Waypoint Tool will be unable to select this waypoint until the ship moves off it, as the Ships Form will always appear first when clicked with any tool selected. The ship can be manually (temporarily) moved off the waypoint by clicking on the chart where you'd like the ship moved to, then press [F9] or click the Ship's Target to display the Ships Form, then press the [Set] button to move the Ship's Target. (You may need to temporarily turn off or unplug the GPS to prevent it from moving the Ship back).

With the Ship's Target separated from the Waypoint, it is now possible to select and alter the Waypoint's settings by clicking it with the Waypoint Tool selected.

   AllWaypoints Form

  • Copy/Move Groups of Waypoints

  • Import Waypoint files from other sources

  • Capture Waypoints from GPS

  • Import Waypoints from C-MAP User Card

  • display the RADAR unit's cursors, marks 

Copying/Moving Waypoints to a different file:
Any loaded waypoints can be saved to their own file.  In the right-hand list, select multiple waypoints by holding down the SHIFT and/or CTRL key while clicking your choices, then press the [Save to File...] button and enter a name for the new WPT file containing just your chosen wpts. To move the waypoints, untick the Also Save with Default Waypoints box, tick this box will Copy the waypoints, leaving them to also autoload.. 

Importing CSV files
SOB is quite good at importing waypoint lists and converting them automatically to SOB's proprietary ".WPT" file format. Simply copy your correctly formatted CSV waypoint file into SOB's \Waypoints folder and they will appear in the Waypoint Files list, marked as "raw" files. The filenames must have a ".CSV" or ".TXT" file-extension.

Click on these raw files and SOB will automatically convert them to a SOB ".WPT" file and move the original file into the \Waypoints\archived folder. Now you can load/unload the SOB format file in the normal way.

The new WPT file will have the same base name as the original, with a three digit number added...
eg: "testfile.csv" would become "testfile001.wpt", the "testfile.csv" will be moved to the "archived" folder.


For a successful file import, the following file format description must be adhered to ...

Sample CSV file excerpt

  • ----------------------------------------- 
  • NAME, LAT, Lng 
  • SINGAPR, 04°11.020, 134°55.885 
  • TEST , 04°11.020, 134.93142 
  • BOATKEY, 04°11.020, 134 55'53" 
  • SAVE011, 00°48.734, 124 11.743 
  • ----------------------------------------- 


  • The first line of the list must contain the column headings, the order doesn't matter, SOB will figure it out so long as the headings contain a recognisable word (eg: longitude, lng or long are all recognised).
  • Each "field" should be separated by commas or Tabs or semi-colons.
  • The coordinates can be in any format: DD.ddd°, or DD°MM.mmm', or DD°MM'SS". A [space] can be used instead of the degree ( ° ) symbol. No other spaces should be in the coordinates. ( ' ) and ( " ) should appear when appropriate. S & W hemispheres should contain either a leading minus ( - ) sign, or trailing characters ( S ) or ( W ) as appropriate. 
    The coordinates format used can even differ from one waypoint to the next (see excerpt - SINGAPR, TEST & BOATKEY all have the same longitude)
  • A "Notes" field will be imported with each waypoint if the Notes field is the last column in each line (including the "Header Line") and it can't contain any "newline" characters (aka CarriageReturn/LineFeed pairs).

Basic Waypoint Information
SOB can import some additional information with waypoints, although this is mostly done automatically when it's available.

As there is no "standard" for waypoint data, it is hard for SOB to import all information correctly, all the time (For best chances of success you may need to do some manipulation with some lists in Excel.)

However, some fairly standardised settings are SHAPE & COLOR & NOTES, although there's no universal way these are stored/represented amongst all the different programs and devices that use waypoints. 

SOB can import the shape, colour and notes from some known sources (eg: the C-Map UserCard, most Magellan GPS) and infact, SOB can will try to match even more waypoint shapes that are exported by the sending data source. A similar story for colours, each other device or program store their code for colours differently. 
The future: is likely to be a universal transfer format known as XML. SOB will support the XML format in a future version to simplify waypoint transfer.

Capturing Waypoints from a GPS 

Works simply through the normal NMEA connection. Some devices also send colour, shape and notes. SOB imports these waypoints easily via the "Capture" section of the AllWaypoints form.

Use their own proprietary
communication protocols and SOB is not compatible with this format.

There are two ways you can import Garmin waypoints: 

  1. Place your wpts into a route, which the Garmin exports in the conventional NMEA manner when the route is activated in the GPS and captured in SOB's AllRoutes form.
  2. Use a third party program to capture a list of wpts from the Garmin - then format/reformat this list to be compatible with SOB's CSV importing.

Most Furuno devices send a proprietary NMEA sentence through the normal connection. SOB can directly capture these waypoints on the AllWaypoints form.

Other Models
If they can be set up to transmit the RTE or WPL NMEA sentences, then SOB can capture them. Otherwise use a third-party waypoint program to produce a CSV list for SOB to directly import.

We also have a few macros and 3-rd party programs that our users have created to help with importing Waypoints and Routes. Please email support@digiboat.com.au for more information.


   AllRoutes Form


AllRoutes form with Import/Export facilities from any drive, folder, file.

  • Maximum number of Routes that can be loaded in a SOB Session = 20

  • Load/Unload Routes into current SOB session.

  • Routes can be "Reversed"

  • Auto Search Route creation

  • Create Route from PastTrack

  • Capture Routes from GPS (GPS must output RTE and WPL NMEA Sentences)

  • Convert PastTrack and GPS NMEA messages (RTE/WPL) to a Route

  • Routes are easily transferred between computers (either email as an attachment, or save to disk), just place the file in the Routes folder, then load it as described above.

Importing Route files
SOB doesn't directly import routes from other programs. However, we have a few macros and 3-rd party programs that our users have created to help with importing Waypoints and Routes. 
Email support@digiboat.com.au for more information.

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