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NGS inverse program output file location

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ashton
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I put the NGS inverse program on a number of computers I own or that the Civil Air Patrol owns. It's a convenient way to get a direction and distance from a pair of latitude-longitude points without installing some complex package.

Inverse gives a prompt in the command prompt asking if the user wants to save a copy of the session in a file. But I had trouble writing a file name the program would accept, and when I finally got it to accept a file name, I couldn't figure out what directory the file ended up in. Does anyone know the nitty-gritty of how to answer this prompt?

 

By the way, I use this in search and rescue work to estimate the distance and direction a ground team will have to travel between where they are and where a distress beacon is.

 
Posted : September 17, 2022 8:25 am
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Jim Frame
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I just installed and tried it, using a fully-qualified output file name (in this case, d:\temp\inversetest.txt).  The application wrote the file as expected.

What are you inputting for a file name?

 
Posted : September 17, 2022 8:41 am
ashton
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@jim-frame I made several attempts after reading your reply. For the one that sort of worked the file name I specified was C:\Users\card9\OneDrive\documents\inverse-output.txt.

If I go into File Explorer and click the address bar to show the full file name of my personal documents folder I get

C:\Users\card9\OneDrive\DocsPersOneDr

The file where the file ended up, according to Windows Explorer, is

OneDrive - Personal with a cloud before it, so it appears to be in the cloud but not in my computer.

So damn Microsoft for having so many names for the same place.

In addition, the file name is docume which is both truncated and wrong.

So it looks like the program has no clue about how to deal with OneDrive. I wonder what other silly undocumented restrictions and quirks it has.

 
Posted : September 17, 2022 9:28 am

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Jim Frame
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I wonder what other silly undocumented restrictions and quirks it has.

This application was probably written in the days of 8.3 filename limits, so I'd be a little more forgiving in my assessment, especially for software that didn't cost me a dime.

 
Posted : September 17, 2022 10:15 am
GeeOddMike, Gary, R S Mayer and 1 people reacted
GeeOddMike
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If I used the tool infrequently and for only a point or two, I would use the web version and not the downloadable executable (PC version). 

To “solve” your problem with the PC version you could download the source code and modify it to output to a specific location (e.g. c:\temp ). See highlighted link in the image file below.

If sufficiently interested (and able) you can code your own program using the papers linked in the documentation.

FWIW, I downloaded the PC executable and ran it. The output file was stored under the name I specified in the “This PC\downloads” directory. This is the directory where the executable was downloaded.

You might want to search for the PC executable and see if your output files are there.

 

 

 
Posted : September 18, 2022 8:37 pm
ashton
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I browsed through the source code and found that Fortran 77 was used. The file name is read from the keyboard beginning at line 424. The file name (including drive and folder) may contain up to 30 characters. The file is created with a simple "open" statement. So whatever the file naming limitations are in Fortran 77, in a Windows 10 environment, with whatever compiler was used to compile it back in 2011 or so, apply. The only extra limitation added by the inverse program is the 30-character length limit.

I imagine the approach to improving it with minimal changes would be to find a modern Windows 10 Fortran compiler that is as backward-compatible as possible, and use the up-to-date file IO available in a modern compiler. Trying to reproduce a decade-old computing environment that was already outmoded in 2011 seems inadvisable.

A reason to not use the online version is the computer might be taken to an area where there is no internet service.

 
Posted : September 19, 2022 9:03 am

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GeeOddMike
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@ashton 

I mentioned in my post that I found the output file of the command-line version of inverse to be in the same directory as the executable. 

In my case, I downloaded the executable from the NGS site. On my Windoze box downloads go into my Downloads directory. 

Executing the program from the command prompt in Windows 11 puts the output file in the same directory (Downloads).

As someone whose working career encompassed the heyday of Fortran and the command line, I find the tendency of modern programs to strew files in hard-to-find locations frustrating. I also have some fondness for Fortran.

FWIW, I do not know whether the free Fortran compiler g77 is compatible with Windows 11 or versions since XP.  I had previously used g77 in the Cygwin environment in previous Windows versions.      

 
Posted : September 19, 2022 10:30 am
Dave Drahn
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Posted by: @ashton

@jim-frame I made several attempts after reading your reply. For the one that sort of worked the file name I specified was C:\Users\card9\OneDrive\documents\inverse-output.txt.

If I go into File Explorer and click the address bar to show the full file name of my personal documents folder I get

C:\Users\card9\OneDrive\DocsPersOneDr

The file where the file ended up, according to Windows Explorer, is

OneDrive - Personal with a cloud before it, so it appears to be in the cloud but not in my computer.

So damn Microsoft for having so many names for the same place.

In addition, the file name is docume which is both truncated and wrong.

So it looks like the program has no clue about how to deal with OneDrive. I wonder what other silly undocumented restrictions and quirks it has.

Jim's probably right about this.  When you designate the filename, simply keep all folder references (and filename) equal to 8 characters or less, ie C:\Inverse\output01.txt other wise windows will decide for itself how to describe it and that's rarely OK.

 
Posted : September 19, 2022 11:09 am