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Captain Cook in Google Earth: new user interface

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I have now applied the same range of techniques used for presenting Joshua Slocum’s first solo circumnavigation at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum to Captain Cook’s First Voyage Round the World at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Cook

This means that all of the features introduced recently for Sailing Alone Around the World, like autoplay, passage highlighting, window resizing, and status information, mostly implemented using jQuery, are now part of the First Voyage for Round the World re-enactment.

Now, hopefully, I can get back to developing the Slocum voyage itself…

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

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Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: new features

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This morning I smartened up the presentation of Joshua Slocum’s first solo circumnavigation of our planet (see: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum) by adding the following features:

Autoplay

When you click on a passage in the menu, that part of Slocum’s voyage is fetched from the server and starts playing in the Google Earth viewer as soon as it is loaded. In coding terms, I simply needed to add a call to the play() method after loading the tour:

          ge.getTourPlayer().setTour(tour);
          ge.getTourPlayer().play();

Improved cursor control

Previously, when the user clicked on a passage in the menu, I used the following jQuery expression to set the cursor icon to show that the user should wait for the passage to load:

          $('body').css("cursor":"wait");

This was quite hit and miss; the cursor would change to ‘wait’ but would frequently revert to the ‘hand’ as the mouse roamed over nearby anchor elements. By changing the jQuery to the following, this was resolved:

          $('*').css("cursor":"wait");

This code changes the cursor for all elements (“*”) so it doesn’t matter where the mouse moves, the cursor remains in the wait state until the passage is retrieved.

Status information

It can take several seconds to retrieve, parse, and load a KML file for display in the Google Earth plug-in, especially if there are multiple 3D models in the file. In addition to changing the cursor, I have added a line of status information which appears above the menu. This shows the text: “Please wait: fetching voyage…”. The text is removed as soon as loading of the KML completes. The jQuery statements for these actions are:

          $("#status").text("Please wait: fetching voyage...");

to show the message, and:

          $("#status").text("");

to remove it, where “status” is the id of the <p> element positioned where the status should be displayed.

Highlight current passage

Previously, it was difficult to know which passage was currently selected among the several that might be in the menu for a given chapter of the presentation. To remove any doubt, when the user clicks on a passage the text of that menu option changes colour (I’m English). I used the following code to achieve this effect – having first given each menu option a CSS class of “leg”:

          $(document).ready(function() {
              $(".leg").click(function() {
                  $(".leg").css({ "color": "#996615" });
                  $(this).css({ "color": "Blue" });
                  $("*").css("cursor", "wait");
                  $("#status").text("Please wait: fetching voyage...");
              });
          });

The function that handles the click event for a given element of the “leg” class will first change the colour of all “leg” elements to the default colour (#996615). This clears any previous selection. Then the function changes the colour of the text of the currently selected “leg” element, identified by ‘this’, to ‘Blue’.

As you can see, this is also the place to change the cursor and set the status.

Summary

I hope you agree that these features improve the usability of the presentation quite considerably. The fact that they were not built into the initial design reflects, to a large degree, that I am new to jQuery. This project started life as a .Net application but I am now more than content to convert it to Javascript.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

If you enjoy the presentation of Joshua Slocum’s voyage, you might also like the First Voyage Round the World of Captain James Cook:  http://www.hazelhurst.net/Cook/

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: the Equator to Rio de Janeiro

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You can follow Joshua Slocum’s single-handed voyage round the world at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum/

Today I added to the presentation the remainder of Chapter V that sees the Spray sailing from the Equator first to Pernambuco (Recife) and then on to Rio de Janeiro.

Arriving Pernambuco (Recife) about noon on 05Oct1895

Slocum reaches Pernambuco 40 days out from Gibraltar and finds himself among old friends, and new enemies. The friends are the sea-captains he knows from frequent voyages to the coast of Brazil while the potential enemies are the members of the Mello faction against whom he had delivered a ship only two years before. The Destroyer was designed by the Swedish-American inventor John Ericsson and had a submarine cannon, effectively making her a torpedo boat. Slocum was employed as master but was never paid by the Brazilian government for his work.

Doctor Perreira, an old friend entertains Slocum and tries to fatten him up for the voyage ahead with the very best Brazilian fare, but despite his efforts Slocum ‘fattened slowly’.

There is a slight problem getting out of Pernambuco. The awkward squad of the Mello faction, now in government, wants to charge Slocum tonnage dues but, as a yacht, this should not have been applied. In the end an old merchant friend pays the fees and the Spray is released to have a fine run without incident down to Rio de Janeiro where she arrives on 05Nov1895.

Trying out the new rig in Rio harbour, 27Nov1895

It was here that Slocum converted the Spray from a sloop to a yawl, by the addition of a new mast fully aft. (Note, this means that my 3D model on the voyage to date is inaccurate. I’m waiting for a new model which will correct this.)

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Note: to view the presentation you will need to install the Google Earth plugin in your web browser; and if you enjoy the Slocum presentation, why not look at Cook’s First Voyage Round the World?

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: Cape Verde Islands to the Equator

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You can follow Joshua Slocum’s single-handed voyage round the world at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum/

Today I added to the presentation the section of Chapter V that sees the Spray reach the Equator 20 days after leaving the Cape Verde Islands astern and 30 days out from Gibraltar.

Sailing through the doldrums

While pondering his solitude Slocum gets a surprise when he hears voices alongside; the voices belong to sailors on a white bark under full sail which just misses the Spray. He spends the rest of the night on deck “thinking of ships and watching the constellations on their voyage.”

Over the next few days he sees more ships but they are too distant to contact.

The Spray enters the doldrums, the region of variable and light winds situated between the north-east and south-east trade winds. The sea is choppy and the towering rain clouds to the south finally dump on him their torrents of rain.

After meeting the schooner Nantasket of Boston, the tiny ecosystem on the Spray‘s hull  is disturbed when many of the fish that have been following the craft ‘jump ship’ and transfer to the Nantasket because her hull, fouled by shell-fish, is a richer feeding ground.

One notable and regretted loss is an injured dolphin that kept along with the Spray for over a thousand miles. Unable to forage well for itself, it was happy to receive Slocum’ scraps thrown overboard.

At about 6 degrees north Slocum encounters thunderstorms and is reminded of the Alert, an American ship destroyed by lightning in just this area.

On 25Sep1895 the Spray is at latitude 5 degrees north and at 1130 on 30Sep1895 she crosses the line in the longitude of 29degrees 30minutes west.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Note: to view the presentation you will need to install the Google Earth plugin in your web browser; and if you enjoy the Slocum presentation, why not look at Cook’s First Voyage Round the World?

Written by netkingcol

August 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: the Canary and Cape Verde islands

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You can follow Joshua Slocum’s single-handed voyage round the world at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum/

Today I added ‘Canaries and Cape Verde Islands’ to the presentation. After avoiding pirates, Slocum settles down to a routine with which, as an experienced sailor, he is very familiar; the biggest difference from being master of a trading ship and sailing on the Spray  is that he is totally alone – “in the realization that I was on the mighty seas and in the hands of the elements.”

“Columbus, sailing these seas more than 400 years before, was not so happy as I”

Apart from reading, writing, and minimal cookery, the routine involves tending to the sails and rigging, but again Slocum finds that his little sloop follows a remarkably straight course. For instance, after 16 days of sailing from Gibraltar, he finds the island of St. Antonio, in the Cape Verde group, exactly where he expects it to be:

The landfall was wonderfully true, considering that no observation for longitude had been made.

But before reaching the Cape Verde Islands, Slocum first navigates through the channel between Fuerteventura and the African coast, after which the wind blowing off the desert during the day brings out clouds of reddish-brown dust, only for it to be blown back at night by a north-westerly wind.

“At 2 P.M., the weather becoming suddenly fine, the island (Fuerteventura) stood in view, already abeam to starboard and not more than seven miles off.”

He meets a couple of freighters carrying cattle from Argentina to Europe, and laments the loss of camaraderie and ritual formerly displayed by ships meeting on the high seas:

The time was when ships passing one another at sea backed their topsails and had a “gam” and, on parting, fired guns. But those good old days are gone. People have hardly time nowadays to speak even on the broad ocean, where news is news, and as for a salute of guns, they cannot afford the powder. There are no poetry-enshrined freighters on the sea now; it is a prosy life when we have no time to bid one another good morning.

On September 10 the Spray passed the island of St. Antonio, the northwesternmost of the Cape Verdes, close aboard.

As the Cape Verde islands fall astern, Slocum once more feels the solitude of “sailing a lonely sea”. He even dreams of being alone.

He also writes:

I seemed always to know the position of the sloop and I saw my vessel moving across the chart, which became a picture before me.

This happened to me on a cruise of the research ship R.R.S. Shackleton sailing in the Mediterranean and heading for Augusta, Sicily. I had never sailed there before, but looking out of the port-hole I saw an island abeam, and I just knew that it was Pantelleria.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Note: to view the presentation you will need to install the Google Earth plugin in your web browser

Written by netkingcol

August 29, 2012 at 11:28 am

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: chased by pirates

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Joshua Slocum sailed single-handed around the world aboard his yacht Spray between April 1895 and June 1898. He was the first to achieve such a feat.

You can follow the voyage at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum/

Today I added ‘Chased by pirates’, being the first few pages of Chapter V. Slocum leaves Gibraltar on 25Aug1895 after a 3-week visit during which time he prepares both his yacht and himself for the arduous journey ahead.

Departing Gibraltar, 25Aug1895

He is towed clear of the Rock by a tug belonging to Queen Victoria’s navy when a fresh (volant) wind carries the Spray westward towards the Atlantic. Slocum’s original plan was to have sailed the length of the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean. He wanted to sail the world ‘east-about’.

However, he is warned by those who know these waters that he will surely meet with pirates if he goes that way. Then, hardly had he reached the Atlantic with a revised plan to go westwards round Cape Horn, when a felucca comes out of the nearest port and starts to chase him.

Hardly had I reached the Atlantic…

Slocum knows that the Spray is fast but both vessels have crowded on all sail possible and the felucca gradually closes in; the pirates are preparing to strike the first blow when a great wave swamps them and they are dismasted. Shortly afterwards, the same wave hits the Spray and she is knocked down.

Three minutes later the same wave overtook the Spray and shook her in every timber.

The Spray comes out of the exchange in better shape, albeit with a broken boom; the felucca loses all her rigging and has to give up the chase.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Note: to view the presentation you will need to install the Google Earth plugin in your web browser

Written by netkingcol

August 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Joshua Slocum in Google Earth: the Azores to Gibraltar

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Joshua Slocum sailed single-handed around the world aboard his yacht Spray between April 1895 and June 1898. He was the first to achieve such a feat.

You can follow the voyage at: http://www.hazelhurst.net/Slocum/

Today I added Chapter IV of Slocum’s book to the presentation.

Between Faial and Pico

Slocum leaves Horta on 24Jul1895; at first the winds are light but only a few miles out the Spray is almost dismasted by a violent squall running down off the mountains. After emergency repairs and some help from a local ‘sailorly chap’ he is soon on his way.

Through the generosity of the Azoreans his ship is laden with fruit; Slocum partakes freely of the plums and also digs into a Pico white cheese given him by General Manning, the American Consul-General; the result: violent stomach cramps and great pain which lasts for two days.

Slocum is delirious and convinced that he is visited by the pilot of Columbus’s ship Pinta who steers his yacht through the night.

The apparition at the wheel

I am the pilot of the Pinta come to aid you. Lie quiet, senor captain, and I will guide your ship tonight. You have a calentura but you will be all right tomorrow.

Slocum realises that his boat is in fact capable of sailing steadily on a course with very little attention. His health improves and so does the weather. He catches a turtle and hauls it on board using the halyard for the mainsail wrapped around a flipper.

He awoke with my harpoon through his neck, if he awoke at all…the turtle-steak was good.

The Spray hits another gale and her jib is ripped to shreds; progress slows to 51 miles per day. On 04Aug1895 Slocum writes wryly:

Early the next morning, August 4, I discovered Spain. I saw fires on shore, and knew that the country was inhabited.

Having just finished my project of Captain Cook’s first voyage round the world, I recognise this immediately as a phrase that Cook often uses in his journal during the circumnavigation of New Zealand and when exploring the east coast of Australia.

I discovered Spain. I saw fires on shore and knew that the land was inhabited.

From Trafalgar, where he makes his landfall, it’s a short trip for Slocum and Spray to reach Gibraltar. He anchors by the old mole among the ‘native’ craft where it looks rough and uncomfortable…

At anchor by the old mole in Gibraltar

…but is soon towed by a British steam-launch into a more comfortable berth by the arsenal.

Slocum enjoys British hospitality in Gibraltar for 3 weeks; the ship is repaired; he attends a round of parties and takes a trip to the Moroccan shore on a fast torpedo-boat.

At each place, and all about, I felt the friendly grasp of a manly hand, that lent me vital strength to pass the coming long days at sea.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst, 2012

Note: to view the presentation you will need to install the Google Earth plugin in your web browser

Written by netkingcol

August 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

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