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Is there anything better than Canal planner?


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I know it's free so perhaps I shouldn't slag it off, but I really think canal planner ac is a waste of time.

 

I was trying to get an estimate of my journey times and I'm a lot slower than their default settings. But even using those settings as a test, if I break the journey up and get timings to/from a halfway point they don't add up to the overall journey time canal planner is suggesting. If I break the journey in two and add the times together it's several hours longer than the full journey using the same default settings.

 

If it can't even agree with itself then what's the point? You may as well just look at your Imray or Nicholson's guide and estimate journey times yourself.

Edited by blackrose
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It is possible that when you split a journey and ask it to calculate each bit separately it ends up counting locks at the beginning and end of a day twice, so this is where the extra time comes in.

I find single handing a boat that the default times match what I do pretty well for narrow canals, are a little faster than me for wide canals, but are much slower than reality for the commercial Yorkshire waterways. For a long multi day journey it is a lot easier to get an estimate than it is totting up lock miles from a paper guide book, or several paper guide books and gives a good initial indication if a proposed trip is practical in the time available. Then again, I don't plan journeys to the minutest detail.

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I've always found canal plan to be consistent, I often do a total journey time to get locks, miles and hours, then I break down by individual day journeys but as Jen said you have to be careful you aren't double counting locks. If you have changed defaults and not signed in then also make sure the settings haven't reset back to the defaults 

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1 hour ago, blackrose said:

I know it's free so perhaps I shouldn't slag it off, but I really think canal planner ac is a waste of time.

 

I was trying to get an estimate of my journey times and I'm a lot slower than their default settings. But even using those settings as a test, if I break the journey up and get timings to/from a halfway point they don't add up to the overall journey time canal planner is suggesting. If I break the journey in two and add the times together it's several hours longer than the full journey using the same default settings.

 

If it can't even agree with itself then what's the point? You may as well just look at your Imray or Nicholson's guide and estimate journey times yourself.

No is the answer 

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I find it to be an excellent program and very useful; for me.  Given the vagaries of canal journeys I think any prediction of travel times are a bit hit and miss at best. 

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I have always found canalplan to be very good.  At the end of the day all it is doing is calculating the time based on distance and your speeds, and number of locks and your times per lock.

 

Are you saying that if you plan a route from A to C via B, that you get a different time from planning A to B and the B to C and summing the two?  I just tried that on an example and got exactly the same overall time, but you can see the rounding may put it off by a bit, but you would not expect it to be a significant amount.  Do you have a specific example where it goes wrong?

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10 minutes ago, john6767 said:

>>

Are you saying that if you plan a route from A to C via B, that you get a different time from planning A to B and the B to C and summing the two?  I just tried that on an example and got exactly the same overall time, but you can see the rounding may put it off by a bit, but you would not expect it to be a significant amount.  Do you have a specific example where it goes wrong?

 

Doesn't matter. Both are subject to the unknown and the unpredictable, whether it's a boat stuck across the cut, a jammed paddle, or some sort of domestic crisis (whether spouse or dog related).

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22 minutes ago, john6767 said:

 

Blackrose has to open and shut both gates every time on wide locks, I'm not sure CanalplanAC takes this into account without him changing the lock defaults to suit his locking method.

I find it fairly accurate for wide canals on default, I am generally quicker on narrow.

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If you are getting A to B plus B to C not equalling A to C, then you may have found a bug in the software. In the past I have reported a couple of minor bugs and Nick or Steve have responded promptly and resolved the issue.

Why not post here examples of the errors you have found?

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2 hours ago, matty40s said:

Blackrose has to open and shut both gates every time on wide locks, I'm not sure CanalplanAC takes this into account without him changing the lock defaults to suit his locking method.

I find it fairly accurate for wide canals on default, I am generally quicker on narrow.

Blackrose is currently on the Nene - so only one bottom gate.  But, it is fair to say, that the Nene guillotine locks take longer to operate (but less effort now they are electrocuted)  than the more conventional mitre-gates-and-paddle type, and I doubt the standard canalplan settings take account.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Machpoint005 said:

 

Doesn't matter. Both are subject to the unknown and the unpredictable, whether it's a boat stuck across the cut, a jammed paddle, or some sort of domestic crisis (whether spouse or dog related).

Sorry I don’t get what you are saying, what does not matter?

2 hours ago, matty40s said:

Blackrose has to open and shut both gates every time on wide locks, I'm not sure CanalplanAC takes this into account without him changing the lock defaults to suit his locking method.

I find it fairly accurate for wide canals on default, I am generally quicker on narrow.

As long as you set your lock times appropriately, it is as good as it can be.  If you are using the defaults then single handed I am sure it will be way off.

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I find it much more useful as a "how far, what to expect, any interesting navigation notes or suggestions on moorings" than for timings. Sometimes a flight of locks is in your favour and sometimes it isn't and there are other boats holding you up. Some locks take longer to fill and are more of a pain with gate than others. Sometimes there's a long line of moored boats, fragile banks or a lot of bends and sometimes you can hit the speed limit quite happily. I've beaten it handsomely and I've taken almost double the default times before, 

 

IIRC the Environment Agency's suggested times from place to place on the Nene were around 50% more than Canalplans on default settings, and I think I was usually somewhere in between those

 

 

 

Edited by enigmatic
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8 minutes ago, john6767 said:

Sorry I don’t get what you are saying, what does not matter? <<

 

The "inaccuracy" of CanalPlan doesn't matter, because the margin of uncertainty is wider than the amount by which the calculation is wrong.

 

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8 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

 

The "inaccuracy" of CanalPlan doesn't matter, because the margin of uncertainty is wider than the amount by which the calculation is wrong.

 

Agreed!

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CanalPlan is excellent. I was worried for a short time that the upgrades were removing some of the functionality that I liked but now it’s complete all is good again.

 

As for timings I find it works well for single handing and is conversative for crews but it does of course depend on knowing the specifics of the waterway and the boat and that’s where the ability to set your own parameters comes in useful.

 

I took timings during my mostly single-handed trip last week with the idea I might post them on a ‘Man vs CanalPlan’ type thread but in truth I was too knackered to bother. They were as follows:

 

Day 1 - Netherwich Basin (Droitwich) to Scarfield Wharf (Alvechurch). CanalPlan 12h 10m; actual - 11h 30m. This was done non-stop single handed with volockies operating the three Hanbury locks and assisting with 5 locks at Stoke. Tardebigge was single-handed in 5 hours which was exactly the CanalPlan timings.

 

Day 2 - Scarfield Wharf to Lapworth Link Junction. CanalPlan 10h 46m; actual 10h 8m. This included a couple of short stops for water and lunch and had volunteer assistance from lock 12-19 on the Lapworth flight. I also managed to follow a hire boat through Shirley drawbridge and a boat coming the opposite way let me through the draw bridge above Lapworth locks. I had to work myself through the drawbridge at Hockley Heath.

 

Day 3 - Lapworth to Stratford. CanalPlan 10h 47m; actual 11h 36m. My wife and daughter were on board on this day but we incurred delays between Yarningale and Preston Bagot due to number of boats and a low pound. No volockie assistance. Had a stop of 15 minutes at Bishopton to discharge crew then single handed the last locks into Stratford.


Day 4 - Stratford to Lapworth. CanalPlan 10h 47m; actual 12h 56m. Delayed by two hours due to no water in pounds between locks at Stratford. Was even aground in Bancroft Basin when setting off. Had volockie help up 8 locks at Wilmcote.

 

Day 5 - Lapworth to Old Turn Jn (via Camp Hill). CanalPlan 10h 10m; actual 11h 58m. Had about an hours stop combined at Knowle top and Camp Hill for services and lunch. Volockies worked Knowle (starting at 0830). Could not keep to 3.25mph default speed for wide canals once above Knowle. Water levels were well down and the section between Catherine-de-Barnes and Olton is very shallow and dirty on account of the tree lined cuttings. Really hard going and was down to 2mph average on that section but it is being prepared for dredging.

 

Day 6 - Old Turn Jn to Stourbridge Basin. Canal Plan 11h 37m; actual 12h 59m. Would have been very close to the predicted timings but had a short stop at Windmill End and nearly an hour at Merry Hill. Delph locks nearly did for me. Very hard to single hand downhill. No volockie assistance. Only two boats passed during the entire day. Very shallow between (former) Blackbrook Jn and Blowers Green but good depth Delph to Leys Jn which CanalPlan thinks is over 3 miles but in reality is only 2 miles so I ‘gained’ 40 minutes there.

 

Day 7 - Stourbridge to Stourport Town Moorings. Canal Plan 8h 49m; actual 9h 10m. Delayed setting off due to getting weed around prop winding at Stourbridge and had a short lunch stop at Kinver.

 

Day 8 - Stourbridge to Netherwich Basin. Canal Plan 6h 48m; actual 8h 35m. Not really comparable because I stopped in Stourport Basin to load my parents for a day out. We also had over an hours stop for lunch at The Wharf Inn, Holt Fleet.

 

Overall I think the net timings are pretty comparable.

 

Edited by Captain Pegg
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28 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Not really fair to include periods stopped in your timings. I suspect that if you deduct these you will end up pretty close. 


Hence the last sentence. I’m not sure fairness comes into it. It wasn’t an actual competition. In reality boating involves little stops for PNBs, water, rubbish, Elsan, grabbing an ice cream from a lock side shop, making a brew and the like. I don’t think I properly moored up other than for overnight stops until Day 6.

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For a rough guide we use this: Other Lockmaster maps | The Canal Shop

 

Lockmaster Holiday Planner.

 

Lockmaster Holiday Planner (not folded)

 

 CONTENT - Map showing the principal Inland Waterways of England & Wales. Narrow & wide canals, tidal & non tidal rivers plus restoration projects are indicated. Distance, number of locks and time to cruise between specific marked points.

 

DETAILS - Size 16" x 19".

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11 hours ago, blackrose said:

I know it's free so perhaps I shouldn't slag it off, but I really think canal planner ac is a waste of time.

 

I was trying to get an estimate of my journey times and I'm a lot slower than their default settings. But even using those settings as a test, if I break the journey up and get timings to/from a halfway point they don't add up to the overall journey time canal planner is suggesting. If I break the journey in two and add the times together it's several hours longer than the full journey using the same default settings.

 

If it can't even agree with itself then what's the point? You may as well just look at your Imray or Nicholson's guide and estimate journey times yourself.

Are you going to tell us what the places you put in were so we can all look and see what's happening. I use it a lot. Where it falls down in real timing is rows of moored boats and all the locks in your favour.

 

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3 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

Are you going to tell us what the places you put in were so we can all look and see what's happening. I use it a lot. Where it falls down in real timing is rows of moored boats and all the locks in your favour.

 

 

It was way out on timings for Skipton pound last week.  I was sharing the swing bridges with two other boats so only had to do five and could just cruise through the others.

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15 hours ago, blackrose said:

I know it's free so perhaps I shouldn't slag it off, but I really think canal planner ac is a waste of time.

 

I was trying to get an estimate of my journey times and I'm a lot slower than their default settings. But even using those settings as a test, if I break the journey up and get timings to/from a halfway point they don't add up to the overall journey time canal planner is suggesting. If I break the journey in two and add the times together it's several hours longer than the full journey using the same default settings.

 

If it can't even agree with itself then what's the point? You may as well just look at your Imray or Nicholson's guide and estimate journey times yourself.

@StephenA

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Just put in Ringstead Railway bridge to Salters lode lock, the time is the same  with or without a via   Stangrond lock.

 

Just done Ringstead to Stanground and Stanground to Salters as two trips the difference between that and Ringstead to Salters is about the time it takes to do one lock ;)

 

Edited by Loddon
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On 11/06/2021 at 06:06, blackrose said:

I know it's free so perhaps I shouldn't slag it off, but I really think canal planner ac is a waste of time.

 

I was trying to get an estimate of my journey times and I'm a lot slower than their default settings. But even using those settings as a test, if I break the journey up and get timings to/from a halfway point they don't add up to the overall journey time canal planner is suggesting. If I break the journey in two and add the times together it's several hours longer than the full journey using the same default settings.

 

If it can't even agree with itself then what's the point? You may as well just look at your Imray or Nicholson's guide and estimate journey times yourself.

 

Can't find it online but an ex used to use, and probably still does, a map of the system with two hour cruising distances marked on it. I poo-pooed it the first time I saw it but eventually  found it to be remarkably accurate!

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12 minutes ago, Tim Lewis said:

 

Can't find it online but an ex used to use, and probably still does, a map of the system with two hour cruising distances marked on it. I poo-pooed it the first time I saw it but eventually  found it to be remarkably accurate!

Chris Clegg's map used to be available from ACS, don't know where my laminated one is, lost in the moves I suspect?

Edited by Loddon
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6 minutes ago, Loddon said:

Chris Cleg's map used to be available from ACS, don't know where my laminated one is, lost in the moves I suspect?

 

The IWA have Chris's two hour map for sale:

 

Canal Time Map by Chris Clegg | Inland Waterways

 

Have found my copy, the reverse side has maps with 6, 8 and 10 hour distances.

 

An extract:

 

 

 

 

cc.jpg

Edited by Tim Lewis
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