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Author Topic:   HDS Gen2 Touch: Improved Waypoint Management
jimh posted 01-14-2013 10:36 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Lowrance has improved the management of waypoint data in the operating system used in their new HDS Gen2 Touch devices. Previously in the HDS series, waypoint data from the chart plotter could be exported, but the export process was all-inclusive. When data was exported, you got all the data on that HDS chart plotter--all the waypoint, all the routes, all the trails--combined into one archive file. See

for an overview of the process that was available.

Lowrance has improved this process in the HDS Gen2 Touch devices by providing a method to select a subset of data to be exported. The new feature adds the option to select only a subset of all waypoints, trails, and routes to be exported. It further allows the subset to be determined by geographic bounds.

To accomplish selective export of data, the user selects a new option in the export process, EXPORT REGION. When this option is selected, the user is presented with a chart presentation showing the available waypoints, and on this chart a red bounding rectangle is drawn. By using the touch-screen interface, the user may move and adjust the position and size of the bounding rectangle to encompass a selected area and the waypoints contained therein. Once the bounding area is adjusted to the desired region, the user can export the waypoint data from that region to a file. This allows the creation of files containing sets of waypoints for particular areas.

For users, particularly avid fishermen, who tend to accumulate a lot of waypoints, the ability to organize and manage the waypoints on the HDS Gen2 Touch chart plotter itself is a significant upgrade. Previously, management of waypoints and organization of them into smaller file sets had to be done on a computer using various application software. With this new feature, waypoint organization and creation of files containing sets of waypoints specific to a particular area, such as a lake or portion of a lake, can be done right on the HDS chart plotter.

Another very significant improvement in waypoint management that occurs with the new Lowance HDS Gen2 Touch devices is the ease of entering text for the purpose of giving names or descriptions to waypoints. Previously the entry of text was accomplished by a slow and tedious process of using cursor keys to move the screen pointer over a typewriter keyboard, followed by hitting the ENTER key to select the character. Each character entered could need ten button pushes or more. In the Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch units, the user interface is now a touch-screen typewriter keyboard, and text can be very rapidly entered just by touch-typing on the screen. Each character requires only a single touch. The speed improvement in entering text for naming or descriptions is very great. This feature also significantly improves management of waypoint data on the new Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch devices compared to the non-touch units.

A recorded presentation that shows the selective export process using the EXPORT REGION option is available about one minute into this youTube feature:

The feature also demonstrates the touch screen typewriter keyboard text entry.

jimh posted 01-14-2013 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another subtle change in the operating system on the HDS Gen2 Touch device compared to the prior HDS devices: in the FILES page the collection of data for waypoints, routes, and trails is referred to as a "database." This perhaps may be significant. If the data is actually now stored in a database file, there may be further possibilities for manipulation of the data available. For example, perhaps it may be possible to sort the data on other parameters, such as date or distance. In the present HDS non-touch implementation, waypoint data is always presented using a sort based on the waypoint name and in alphabetical order.

Perhaps correlated to the use of the term "database" is the appearance of a new file format for export. The Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch devices offer a "Version 5" file format to contain the exported data. I have not seen any details of the new file format. Perhaps the .USR5 format is organized as a database file in some useful manner that will be further exploited.

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