Layers and .nob questions

I have some questions re layers, syncing and .nob files that I’ve not been able to grook -

Setup: I place .nob files (many, created over many, many years) in a Onedrive folder. This keeps the .nob file set synced between my PCs. This work flow was fine before layers were invented.

The layers panel shows both layers (RP cloud synced objects) and .nobs files.
Any .nob files used/touched (imported from or opened, or created a new voyage plan doc) get added to the list in the layers panel. I think of this list as “open” objects, of which any one at a time can be active.

The menu at the top right of the layer panel lets you open an existing .nob or create a new one. But ut does not include a way to close one…

  1. How do you close a .nob file (remove from the list in the layers panel)?
    Once a .nob file is “open” it appears in the layers panel. I have tried everything I can think of, but nothing I’ve tried makes a .nob file leave the layers panel list. Before layers, it was an obvious file/close process. There must be a way… I’d really appreciate it if someone would clue me in.

  2. New style layers seem to mostly sync between my PCs (it’s not perfect and frankly I do not like being dependent on a RP cloud server which requires a active internet connection).
    An internet connection is not an acceptable to me as a pre-requisite for operation of my nav system.

  3. Problem: The set of listed .nob files is not synced.
    I.e. the set of .nob files shown on each PC is different. I mean the list of “open” .nob files.
    (I’m not talking about the content of the .nob files, or the set of .nob files present on the PC - that is synced by Onedrive.)

What is supposed to happen? Are only layers synced? Is that intentional?
I’m thinking the set of .nob files should also be synced. I.e. if I open a .nob on one PC, should it then appear on the others as open and if I close one, it should also close on the other PCs.

  1. Not syncing .nob file list and status causes inconsistent info in the active layer.
    Consider: If I select a layer as the active object, and then turn on a .nob file (via the slider button), I see the .nob content in the active layer. That’s handy. But if the set of .nob files is not synced, what is included in the active layer (which is synced between the PCs via RP) is different on different PCs - because the set of .nob files is not synced - including the “on-ness” state of the .nob file. You can’t turn on (cause to be included in the active layer) a .nob file that is not open.

I think that when I activate layer “current” (a layer synced by RP) on any PC, I should always get the same information displayed in CE. That appears not to happen today.

Layers really should not change your OneDrive-based workflow unless you eventually decide to use the cloud-synchronized layers. Nothing about how the Voyage Plan Documents (“.nob files”) work has changed other than the new ability to have more than one visible at a time and that won’t change how they work with OneDrive.

I’m not sure why you think of the list of layers as being “open objects”… The list simply shows you the layers that Coastal Explorer “knows about” and includes Voyage Plan Documents found in your documents folder, on your desktop, or that were recently opened from other folders (as well as any cloud-synchronized layers you’ve created). A file-based layer is only “opened” when you select it as the current layer or turn on its visibility switch and it is closed when you select a different current layer and its switch is off.

The Layers list is very similar to the two lists that used to appear on the “Voyage Plan > Files” page, but that page showed one list of recent files and another list of the files found in your documents folder and desktop (and didn’t have the ability to show layers that were not the current file).

Coastal Explorer has never had the ability to close a document other than by either opening a different one or creating a new one. The big difference now is that you can essentially open more than one file/layer at a time using the switches on the list of layers. If you don’t have a need to open more than one layer at a time and never use one of those switches, then Coastal Explorer will use files exactly like it always has.

The complete list of layers is not supposed to sync between multiple PC’s; it is showing you files that are on the PC you’re using and those files might not be on your other PC’s. If all of your files are in OneDrive and your OneDrive folder is in your documents folder, then the lists should be pretty similar, but that would be because OneDrive is copying the files from one PC to the other.

In your final scenario, when you turn on the file-based layer with the switch, you are not adding the .nob file content to the active layer, you are displaying two independent layers. The whole point of layers is to let you keep things grouped in ways that make sense to you and that lets you hide and show groups of objects as needed.

One great way to use layers (files and/or cloud-sync’d) is to have a layer where you keep all your favorite routes. Maybe so many that you’d never want to have them all visible while you’re underway, but you don’t want to loose any of them. That would be a great use of a cloud-synchronized layer since it would always be available to you from any of your PC’s or even in a web browser using When you are going on a cruise, you can then create another layer (maybe file-based if you don’t want to use the cloud while underway), temporarily make your favorite route layer visible and copy the routes you will be using from your it to your cruising layer, then hide your favorite routes so they don’t clutter up your screen.

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I second the question from the OP, even if not specifically.
THe “layers” feature has good intent, but it’s not fully intuitive.
As did the OP, I did not ken that the list of layers presented was really
a file MRU list. (e.g vs a hide/show (file or object class) list) . And for those of us (possibly a bit anal) who want to have
solid backups, we need to know what is in a given .nob (or other) file.
I’m minimizing the use of layers because I don’t understand which data is incorporated by reference, or by copy at the time. It’s much easier to ask than explain, but some kind of ‘white paper’ that describes the whole idea, usage, and data storage would be helpful. A long write, I know, but else a lot of support questions and recovery help otherwise…)
E.g. those sophisticated enough to use onedrive to share .nobs among PCs need to understand what is in a nob. It used to be a collection of nav objects,
usable as their own atom. Now we don’t know what they are, apart from a greater definition of ‘object’
Steve Jobs is ascribed to have once said “your holding it wrong”. Other that that he was a genius.


…and don’t get me started on the two different “import” menus that I need to choose between because its ?a track? or a Gpx of something, or something else… It’s so unclear that I can’t even compose a proper question!

Clearly we haven’t made Layers intuitive enough for some but I’m having a really hard time understanding exactly what the problem is based on these complaints.

The Layers features are completely additive; we didn’t remove anything when they were added. While a few things moved around, Coastal Explorer can be used exactly the way it has in the past.

We added two features: Cloud-Synchronized Layers and the ability to show more than one layer on the chart at a time.

Obviously we added the concept of a “layer” too; as a way to describe what can either be a cloud-synchronized collection of navigation objects or a .nob file based collection of objects and that can be hidden and shown as a whole. That concept was simply added so that those collections of objects could listed along with the switches that control whether or not they appear on the chart.

If you don’t want our cloud-synchronized layers and only want everything to be in a .nob file, then only use .nob files and don’t create any cloud-synchronized layers. If you don’t like using the menu to get to the New Voyage Plan Document and Open Voyage Plan Document commands, then please know that the standard Windows keys Ctrl+N and Ctrl+O still invoke those commands like they always have.

A .nob file is still a collection of nav objects; they are not part of some greater definition of ‘object’ (whatever that even means). Absolutely nothing about .nob files has changed.

If you want to know what’s in a .nob file, select it and hide the other layers. What you see is what you get. This is EXACTLY the same as opening a .nob file in the past.

If you don’t like layers and want things to work the way they used to, then never use one of the toggle switches and just select the nob-file-based layer you want to use; that is exactly the same as opening a .nob file was before we added layers.

However, if you want the ability to have navigation objects automatically synchronize across all of your PC’s, iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, and any web browser, then give our cloud-synchronized layers a try. Maybe not all of your objects should be stored in them, that’s up to you; it’s easy to copy or move objects from one place to another, especially since you can look at more than one layer at a time.

I would love to hear any ideas on how we could make these features better or more intuitive!

Support invited me to write up in more detail the issues I am seeing with layers and how I would expect them to work & I intend to do so. However, I’m in the San Francisco Bay area and the Wx here has been fearsome the couple of weeks (88 MPH gusts recorded on Tues) and the next front is expected on Mon or Tues. I’m busy dealing with storm damages & power and internet outages (and I live in a suburban area) - so I ask you to be patient a bit re further input. As much as I love boating, it (and CE conversations) are not at the top of my to-do list right now.
I do look forward to continuing a dialog - it just will have to wait a while…

Well, I’m grateful the OP was brave enough to ask the question that so many of us had in mind. Personally, between last summer and preparing for this coming season I struggled to understand Layers and the Cloud-sync feature. Eventually I sorted it out. If I had Brads detailed post above it would have been quick and easy. Thinking of these two new features as “added” to what we already had makes all the difference. Knowing that the Internet is not necessary takes all the pressure off understanding Cloud-Sync.

For me, I’m on a mooring, have only one PC and once launched for the season almost never see the Internet again and therefore using Cloud-sync is not that important, but I found ways to use Layers. My one primary Layer has 215 routes, (I know that drives Brad crazy) however, I keep them all “Hidden” and “Show” only the one I’m sending to the autopilot. I like having any route ready to highlight and jump to without looking for which layer it’s in. Now that I have Layers, I made a layer out of all the objects that are not Routes like anchor spots I’ve used before. These can now be turned on or off in Layers using the switch button. This keeps the screen less cluttered. I can think of a few other subdivided Layers but all those 215 routes will stay in my primary Layer located on my computer in my Documents folder. It just makes me feel better.

Backup: I’m big on backups. Most important is to backup years of planning and refining all my routes and I do that using the “Save as” function and save all objects from my Primary Layer to a flash drive. I know this is primitive, but without cloud backup I know it’s safe especially in the case of a HD failure. I often thought that a one button “Backup” to a flash drive might be useful.