At the outset, I must stress that I am in no way connected with either of the companies producing the software we use, although I did some de-bugging and beta-testing for the late Syd Arkless whose excellent software sparked off the whole world of electronic planning, logging and the use of GPS on the Cut. There are now numerous on-line planning apps/programs and mobile phone trackers are also plentiful. I have chosen the following as I believe they best suit my needs.
Syd Arkless was an amateur programmer who wrote databases for charities and small businesses, but was also a boat owner. He created what I believe to be the first software which gave boaters the ability to plan one's route around the Cut. Updates were supplied to him by individual 'members' and he circulated them to all other members through a monthly update file. He also created a logger to record one's trips and provide statistics of distances, locks and speeds. On his death, the software passed to his son, but is now neither available nor supported.
The original code for 'CPW' was adapted by Mike Kelly, in conjunction with River Canal Rescue , and 'Water Way' was born. It incorporated all the volumes of the Nicholson's Guides and provided route planning for your cruise. Along with locks, tunnels, bridges etc it shows all canal services (water, fuel etc) as well as significant services in towns (shops etc). Start, stop, and intermediate points can be marked, and distance and time automatically calculated. Calculations can be downloaded to spreadsheet. An edition is also available for Europe. It can be linked to an external GPS antenna (if desired) and real-time positioning can then be superimposed on the planning map during the cruise. It can save the trip in NMEA format and replay it through the same software, but it cannot provide statistics nor real-time output to a user's webpage.
Since purchase, Mike has sold his program rights to RCR who now market it under their name 'WaterNav', but I am given to believe that Mike's rights to Nicholson's copyright material were not transferred so there may be some data short on the 'Water Way' software.
This software requires an open internet connection (usually through a mobile phone) to function. The 'Navvygator' software logs onto the 'Water Explorer' website and forwards each GPS location to their server (an external GPS antenna is required). Whilst doing this, it also displays the location on the local PC. Their map concentrates on locks, bridges, winding holes (turning points) and junctions (although that is superimposed on Google Maps) - no references are made to water, elsan, refuse, pump-out etc. Whilst displaying the location, it also calculates the distance and time to the next lock, place, winding hole and junction. This is useful if you wish to know whether you have time for a coffee before the next lock. If one does not have a GPS, it is possible (as a 'member') to manually log onto their website and, by clicking on locations as one passes them, create cruise logs. Details of each cruise are stored on their server and can be viewed or downloaded by members for statistical uses.
The app is only available for Windows-based computers.