Sunday, April 14, 2013

I’ve started so I’ll finish. Digital CanalOmeters now easier thanks to CanalPlan

Thanks to the co-operation of Nick Atty, the author of CanalPlan you can now make one of my CanalOmeter spreadsheets without most of the kerfuffle I described in my recent post.  That one seemed to be received with a deafening silence, so perhaps the sight of the download palaver put people off.  So forget all that because . .

Now Nick has built us a dedicated CanalPlan output format for CanalOmeter data, so all you have to do is your normal CanalPlan  “plan a journey” – no messing with option settings or output headings – and go to the Export page where you can click on the Select output format button to reveal an option for CanalOmeter.  Da Daaah!

Download the file and copy it into my new improved template (Mark III) and Bob’s yer Uncle.  Simples.  Thanks Nick.

Now in a couple of minutes you can build easy to use sheets to instantly calculate the time between any two points on the journey of your choice.  All you have to do is look down the list of places on the journey, type an F for your From point and a T for your To point.  The spreadsheet does the rest.  In half an hour you could create sheets for half a dozen of your favourite trips, then use them off line whenever you want.

Is it perfect?  Naah. Nothing ever is.  Nick’ s bit works fine and mine does too if you are using a Windows (or possibly Unix)  PC /laptop.  Ipads are OK too if you drop the data into the template on a PC and then sync to the iPad through iTunes.  Sadly though, I have yet to get the iPad to do it all on its own.  Despite many hours of cursing and swearing iPad spreadsheet apps don’t seem to let me pick up the exported data direct from Nick’s download. It’s all to do with the way iPad apps hold their data files.  Blame Apple, not me.

If anyone out there can crack it, I will buy them a large drink.

So just to clarify – the CanalOmeter spreadsheets do work on an iPad, but you’ll have to download the CanalPlan data onto a PC first and then transfer it.  Sorry about that.

My new template contains all the instructions you need to make your own sheet and use it.  Try it.  It’s free.

Things I would change in a later version would start with protection of the calculation cells.  This ought to be easy, but the protections don’t seem to survive the download process from the web to your spreadsheet.  So just be careful not to overwrite the formula cells.  Stick to the pink To and From column and you’ll be fine.

As ever I’d be glad of any feedback.


Chris Thorn said...

Just tried it out and posted a note of praise on the Canalplan AC Facebook page. Thanks for providing such a useful tool!


Vallypee said...

I think I'm going to recommend this to some of my more technical fellow boaters over here, especially those who go to France a lot.