Christmas Discount and new update policy

It has been a big year for oziTarget with some fantastic results in various championship events. With many of the Worlds best pilots and champions choosing oziTarget now may be the time to make the move!

To celebrate such a great year of podium places using oziTarget we are offering a discounted rate of $140AUD per licence for the month of December.

Update policy

To keep up with all of the feature requests and future ideas I have had to make some changes to the update policy for oziTarget. In order to fund contiued development I have had to consider charging for the next Major update. Right now this is some time off and all previous versions of oziTarget will continue to be supported for life.

Exactly what form this will take and how I will manage that is yet to be resolved but the good news is that when the next major update happens, I think you are going to really like what will be on offer!

Watch this space to see how oziTarget 2.0 will take your navigation to an all new level.

Version 1.4.9.6 Stable release

First of all, a massive thank you to all the registered users of oziTarget out there. I often hear from pilots how well oziTarget is working for them and the list of ideas and help with little bugs is fantastic.

While it would not be fair or appropriate to name names, it is safe to say that lots of high profile pilots are now using oziTarget and many competitors in the upcoming World Championship in Japan will be using this tool. Good luck to everyone.

I will be at Saga working with the Australian team so please come and say hello, grab a sticker etc. Once we arrive in Japan I will not be available for technical support so please get any last minute questions in early.

Just in time for SAGA, I have made one last little fix to the last Development Version and given it the status of Stable. The last development version has been extensivly used since the Womens World Championship with no reported problems.

For anyone that is still on version 1.4.7.6 it is well worth updating with a few new features in there. If competeing in SAGA, make the change sooner rather than later so you can have it all configured and tested well in advance.

Version 1.4.7.6 is the only version that will work in Trial Mode so if you are wanting to try out oziTarget that is the version you need to use.

A final reminder for anyone on Windows 10, do some google searches to make sure you can disable Windows Update for the duration of the event as there is nothing worse than a computer sitting there applying updates when you are trying to flight plan or fly.

Version 1.4.9.5 Development release

Development Version 1.4.9.5 has now been released and fixes a crash with the held line text box and numeric key pad. If the keypad was used before clicking into the held line text box a crash could occur.

A new feature has been added, a Flight Report Logger. This new tool adds a quick access button to the main screen that will record key inforamtion such as launch time, marker drops and estimated results. Each point of interest is recorded in a table with the 8 figure Grid Ref. and other details to make filling out a flight report form much easier. Double clicking on any line entry will take you to that position on the map and a selecting a number of rows in the table will allow you to calculate the elapsed time between readings to give you total flight time for example.

I'm a bit busy at this moment in Birstonas, Lithuania but I'll get a video up soon shoing how it all works. This event is the first time we have had to fill in every little detail on the flight report forms so this will make life much easier in the future.

Note: All care but no responsibility taken if anyone changes to this version during the Women's World Championship. There is only two flights to go so probably safer to wait until after the event to give it a go.

Version 1.4.9.4 released for the 2nd Women's World Championship 2016

Development Version 1.4.9.4 has now been released and fixes a recently found bug with the Altitude alarms.

Sorry for the late changes but this has only recently been found and we needed to get it tested during the practice flights. There has also been a change to the way the magnetic variation is saved as I noticed some odd behaviour when drawing windreadings.

Remember to set and check your magnetic variation in the settings for the competition in Birstonas to 6.2 (6degs, 11 minutes east) and good luck!

Version 1.4.9.3 released for Belgian Balloon Trophy 2016

Development Version 1.4.9.3 has now been released and has a new setting for working with the 5/4 grid system in use at the Belgian Balloon Trophy.

These later development versions are very stable and the latest changes have been tested here. I would however suggest that pilots planning on using this at the event give it a really good test themselves beforehand.

To use the 5/4 grid system jump into the SETTINGS menu. In the GENERAL section change GRID NO. DISPLAY from the standard 4/4 to 5/4. There is also the option for 4/5 or even 5/5 if that ever comes up.

When selecting waypoints in the TASK RINGS the grid will now show you the 5/4 format.

Using the WPT TOOL, selecting a wayoint will give you the 5/4 format. If making a new waypoint in the WPT TOOL then you will need to enter the grid as 5/4. You will still need to click on the correct side of the map to give some location context to the 5/4 grid so it knows roughly where to put it on the map.

I hope this helps all competitors. If you have any questions or problems, please email me.

Belgian Balloon Trophy 2016

The 2016 Belgian Balloon Trophy will start in a few weeks time and it looks like a fantastic line up of pilots will be attending. The event website is http://bbt2016.balloonfederation.be/

I have converted the map to OZF format Oziexplorer / oziTarget users for a much smaller file size (31mb down from 530mb) and almost instant loading.

BelgianTrophy2016.zip - OZF4 map files

A few questions have come in becasue the competition map is split between two UTM zones (31 and 32) and the director is using a 5/4 goal format. The reason is really simple. You can see on the Eastings if you just used the normal 4/4 format for a declaration some points could be on both sides of the map. A goal declared at 0600/8800 would be an example - not a valid goal on either side of the map but you get the idea.

As such declaring the goal as 70600/8800 or 30600/8800 is the only way to tell where the goal really is on this map.

The good news is that everything will be fine with oziTarget but there are a few things to be aware of.

1) At this time oziTarget does not display or generate goals based on the 5/4 format that will be in use. I am looking at how I can adjust that but there are a few issues - particuarly that it will involve some major internal adjustments that may cause issues.

I am planning on looking at it over the next day or two and if I can do it and be confident that it is safe then you will have the option for using 4/4, 5/4, 4/5 or event 5/5 grid number formats in an update.

You can still use the waypoint tool but you need to drop the first digit in the Easting and then make sure you click on the correct side of the map when making the waypoint. If reading the information back from the waypoint tool you just need to add that first extra digit onto the Easting by noting where on the map you are. It should not be too hard once you have done a few tests.

2) If drawing lines with the Scoring Area tool along a Northing will only be correct on one side of the map. Which ever side of the map you click on will draw fine but the other side will not be correct. The work around is to add a second line at the same Northing but started on the other side of the map.

You could draw these lines manually by using the Snap to Grid function (Latest Development versions only) and making a few points along the required Northing grids. You just need to hit the grid intersections close to the UTM Zone change over.

Look out for more inforamtion as it becomes available. I'll try and get a quick video up to explain the above if needed.

Development Version 1.4.9.1

Development Version 1.4.9.1 has some more bug fixes for gridsystems other than UTM. Scoring areas will now snap to the grid properly and the Waypoint tool is also dealing with non UTM grids properly.

New features inclued an option to set Altitude alarms from the Big Numbers window. With the Big Numbers open and on Altitude, select settings to alter the warning and alarm levels as well as the alarm type.

oziTarget in the news

A little story about oziTarget and technology in ballooning has just gone live over at the tech and news site mashable.com

Head over, have a read and share it like mad.

So this is the disclosure bit: I purchased my first Surface Pro 3 back in December 2014 and love it. When Microsoft Australia found out that I was using the Surface Pro 3 for flying, had taught myself to code in Microsoft Visual Studio and realised just how cool competiton ballooning is after seeing the photos and videos from Dubai I got an invitation to have a chat and to test out a Surface Pro 4.

Now a lot of you have been asking for my advise on what tablet or the best laptop to fly with and as per the about page on this website I have been recomending the Surface Pro 3 since I got one. Not becasue I'm being paid to do so (I wish) but becasue the Pro 3 was my pick and has been everything I needed it to be.

For what it is worth a lot of Aussie pilots have bought either the Surface Pro 3 or 4 and are loving them too.

Having played with the Surface Pro 4 for some months now there is no question that it is a worthy successor to the Pro 3. At some time I will do a full write up comparing the Surface Pro 3 and 4 as a tool in the basket. Until then enjoy the promotion of our sport that this little interaction with Microsoft is bringing. There are going to be some great videos and all sorts of cool stuff coming soon to a social media channel near you.

Feel free to hit me with questons if you have any.

Development Version 1.4.9.0

Development Version 1.4.9.0 has some more bug fixes such as transit calculation on some Mapdatums and gridsystems other than UTM and the scoring Area window now stays on top again rather than being hidden after use.

New features inclued an option to set the save location for oziTarget data. This can be found in the Settings oziTarget saves can be directed to either a folder inside the oziTarget application folder or a folder in the MyDocuments folder.

When drawing the Transit line, the offset distance is now shown above the Transit set/delete buttons to give you an idea of how much harder you need to try and get to that goal.

I have also started setting up a logging system to assist with debugging. Right now it does not do much but the option to turn it on and off is in the settings.

Development Version 1.4.8.7

Another update to the development version is now available.

Version 1.4.8.7 introduces a few new features such as altitude alarms

From the settings page you can now set a warning altitude and an alarm altitude. Alarms can be set to be off (None), visual only or visual with sound.

When the warning altitude is reached the altitude will flash up on your screen in orange and flash every 6 seconds. If set to play a sound, the computer will beep on each flash.

When the alarm altitude is reached the visual warning changes to red and flashes every 2 seconds. The alarm sound will play on each flash.

The second addition is the ability to sanp to the 1km UTM grid when drawing a scoring area. This will just make it easier to mark up lines if needed for tasks like the race to an area we had in Dubai.

A quick video showing these in more detail is here:

Development Version 1.4.8.6

A small update to the development version is now available.

After the rush to make adjustemtns for the World Air Games there were a number of issues that needed to be fixed up. Some of the critical ones have been addressed in development version 1.4.8.6

There is more to be done on the new adjustments to the main form design when scaling for different resolution screens. If you are getting an odd looking display, go to HELP > ADJUST LAYOUT and select between SMALL, MEDIUM or LARGE until things look right on your screen.

Proximity Alarm in Oziexplorer causing crashes

A while back I had a warning about using the MOB button in Oziexplorer as it seemed to cause a crash when operating with oziTarget. This is because Oziexplorer automatically starts navigating back to the MOB waypoint.

Thanks to one of the French teams in the WAG, I have just found out that starting to navigate to any waypoint that is within the proximity alarm range will also trigger the same crash.

After more testing today I have worked out that the fix for this is to reduce the proximity alarm distance to something really small like 1 meter so that you never have to worry about triggering the crash. I am still workiong on exactly why this is a problem and I have had some discussions with the developer of Oziexplorer about it.

As part of those discussions we did some testing with a pre-release version of Oziexplorer which fixed it (earlier versions of Oziexplorer do not have this issue) so we know the problem is at the Oziexplorer end of things and will be fixed at some point soon. Sadly it caused other problems so he has more work to do.

To adjust this setting do the following in Oziexplorer:

  • Open configuration
  • Go to the Navigation tab
  • Change the Route WP Proximity to something small like 1 meter

If you rely on the proximity alarm then I do apologise but you will just need to remember not to start navigation to any waypoint while inside the proximity alarm range you have set.

Development Version 1.4.8.5

A small update to the development version is now available.

This update is critical for pilots using oziTarget at the World Air Games.

During practice flights some pilots were experiencing a crash to do with the flight winds recording. I believe this to be fixed now. I took some time to re-create the fault but once I could do that I could find the problem. Good luck in the morning for flight one

Development Version 1.4.8.4

A small update to the development version is now available.

This update is critical for pilots using oziTarget at the World Air Games.

Due to the use of google maps and satellite imagery at the WAG I have done some extra testing on the competition maps and removed the warning about using an untested map projection.

I would also suggest that pilots using Oziexplorer and oziTaget convert their maps to the native OZF4 format. This will give you much faster load times and pre-rendered zoom levels which will look better.

A video detailing how to do this is here:

Development Version 1.4.8.3

A small update to the development version is now available.

This update is critical as it fixes a range of small problems as well as adding new features.

New features include customising the appearance of waypoints when making them via the Waypoint tool. The incremental numbering of new waypoints has als been improved so that duplicate names are avoided.

Look out for a new Youtube video soon showing how this all works.

Development Version 1.4.8.2

A new development version is available right now with a bunch of new features and fixes behind the scenes.

New features include the "Follow" Me feature for task rings, Big Numbers for showing critical data in a huge font and semi-transparent window, Pause recording for Flight Winds so you can do a fast climb without trashing all your wind data, New main data scaling set up for high resolution displays.

Windows 10 & Bluetooth GPS

UPDATE November 2015: This seems to be fixed in later releases of Windows 10. It is working for me on a Surface Pro 3 and a Surface Pro 2

A quick heads up about a problem I have come accross with Windows 10. It seems that there is an issue with the Bluetooth SPP (Serial Port Profile) resulting in failed communication with Bluetooth GPS units.

For the moment this means that USB connection of a GPS is the only option under Windows 10.

Apparently a fix is being worked on by Microsoft. From what I have read it appears to be fixed in the latest Insider Preview Build (10532) of Windows 10 so with a bit of luck it should get rolled into an update in October.

Australian Team T-Shirts

oziTarget is proud to support the Australian team in their fundraising efforts for the 2016 Worlds. I am hosting a page here where you can buy the T-Shirts that Nicola Scaife has had designed.

Great value at only $20 (AUD) with funds going towards travel expenses. Head over and grab one now!

Australian Team T-Shirts

New Stable version 1.4.7.6

Sorry, a small bug did slip through and has been fixed in 1.4.7.6. In the task rings tool, if you were drawing your rings as an arc rather than full rings then it would ignore the units and always draw them as Km. Fixed now.

New Stable version 1.4.7.5

The latest stable version of oziTarget has been released. Version 1.4.7.5 incorporates a final few tweaks from the development version 1.4.7.3 which has been used in numerous competitions now with no issues.

The Help file has been updated but sadly is still not compleete so if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me.

Head over to the download page and give it a try.

A new development version is in the works so look out for that soon to see the latest features being developed.

Recent results and developments

2015 US Nationals

The 2015 US Nationals was held in Longview Texas. As always it was hard fought with some amazing drops. Some poor weather resulted in ony three flights and 12 tasks deciding the event.

Congratulations to John Petrehn on his win. As if winning the US Nationals is not impressive enough this is the second year in a row for Johnny!

  1. Johnny Petrehn
  2. Rhett Heartsill
  3. Chase Donner

19th Coupe d'Europe Montgolfière

Meanwhile on the other side of the pond, better weather resulted in 18 tasks at the Coupe d'Europe. Congratulations to the winners.

  1. David Bareford
  2. Philippe De Cock
  3. David Spildooren

Other notable results

I have been having a little fun spotting names and rankings in recent events to see how pilots that are using oziTarget are going. If there is one trend that is obvious it is that more and more of the top pilots are moving over to oziTarget and are getting the results they want.

At the recent Ohio Challenge in Middleton, Drew Egerton won the event against some of the same pilots who would make up the top spots in the US Nationals just last week. Drew also took out 6th place in the Nationals for the second year in a row securing him a spot on the US team for the 2016 Worlds in Saga Japan.

Another fantastic result went to Jon Wright with 5th place in the US Nationals. Jon is also now on the US team for Japan.

Congratulations guys and glad to hear you are enjoying oziTarget. For everyone else out there, if you are happy to have the world know what software you choose to run and have me single out your best results feel free to drop me an email.

Development version sneak peek

Behind the scenes development work is ongoing with oziTarget. I have just uploaded the following video to show an improvement to the Task Rings tool that is going to make working with 3D tasks that much easier.

It is not available right now, but the next development version will allow oziTarget to move the rings with your waypoint automatically so you don't need to redraw your Cake or Doughnut each time you adjust the position of it. This is a feature that we all have wanted for a while and unfortunately some of the limitations in the Oziexplorer API have made this more challenging than it should have been.

Anyhow watch the video and look out for the update over the next week.

Windows 10

I am busy testing Oziexplorer and oziTarget on my Surface Pro 3 with Windows 10. So far I have not seen any issues and first impressions are positive.

It would not be a new version of Windows without moving everything around so expect a little relearning to be needed. The week before the Europeans or Australian Nationals is not the best time to be doing it.

If any problems show up I will let you know straight away but as always, if your computer is working just fine on Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 then it could be worth holding off on the update for a month or two.

New website

Thanks to the world wide use of oziTarget, we have outgrown the original blog and have moved to a dedicated website, domain and email.

Over the coming weeks I will be updating the site with new videos and documentation as well as releasing some exciting new features in oziTarget.

The old blog is still up and running until this site is up to speed so you can visit it at the link below.

http://ozitarget.blogspot.com.au

Who is still on Windows XP?

As development continues, I need to decide when to end support for Windows XP.

One of my problems is that I only have one Windows XP machine left to test on and it's days are limited. Moving away from Windows XP support and moving oziTarget to dot.net 4.5 will give me a number of advantages from a programming perspective so I suspect there will be a split at some time soon.

Anyhow, I have put together a quick survey to help me get some direction and idea of what people are using:

http://goo.gl/forms/kEIo5W06m0

All nice and anonymous if you have a few moments to fill it out it would be very helpful.

Oziexplorer bug to watch out for

Thanks to some great feedback we think a bug has been identified in the latest version of Oziexplorer (3.95.6d) that triggers a crash in all versions of oziTarget.

Using the Man Overboard function in Oziexplorer will cause a crash in oziTarget that will require you to shut down oziTarget from the task manager. The MOB feature generates a MOB waypoint in Oziexplorer and cancels the current navigation. Navigation is then set to the MOB waypoint at which point an error is thrown in oziTarget.

I have narrowed the problem down to the request for GPS navigation via the API and the bug does not seem to be present in Oziexplorer 3.95.5m or earlier. Something has changed and I am working to try and identify what is happening and how I can deal with it within the oziTarget tool. I hope to have a fix soon.

In the meantime, be aware of the following;

  • Do not use MOB in Oziexplorer 3.95.6 with any version of oziTarget running.
  • Don't update Oziexplorer to version 3.95.6 if you can avoid it for the moment.
  • If you have updated Oziexplorer to version 3.95.6 then the development version of oziTarget currently at 1.4.7.3 seems to be working fine except for the MOB bug.
  • If you need to downgrade to an earlier version of Oziexplorer I suggest you contact info@oziexplorer.com to request a download link or email me sean@ozitarget.com and I will see what I can do to help.

A final thought - this could all be my fault and not actually a problem in Oziexplorer. As such I am approaching the fix very much from that angle. If you are talking to the Oziexplorer team, please don't blast them over this problem as it could very well have nothing to do with them.

Tip for the day:
When updating Oziexplorer try doing the following things.

  • Keep a copy of the installer and rename it with the version number so you can go back to it if you need to.
  • Rename the oziexp.exe with the version number such as "oziexp_3955s.exe" before you update. That way when you update the new version will be oziexp.exe and your old version of the main application will not get written over.
  • Make shortcuts to the various versions of Oziexplorer so you can jump back to an older version if needed.

I have been doing this for some time and not had any problems yet and found it a good safety net when updating obviously critical software.